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How to Keep a Concrete House Cool (4 Effective Tips)

Concrete is one of the most popular building foundations for houses. However, despite being one of the most durable and sound-proof types of buildings, concrete is also an effective thermal buffer, which means concrete homes tend to get quite cold in the winter and can be very hot in the summer. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep a concrete house cool, even on the hottest of days.

So, how do you keep a concrete house cool? Because concrete readily absorbs heat from the sun, you need to limit your roof’s exposure to sunlight as much as possible. Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Construct a pergola that covers your roof.
  • Place plants on your roof (only for flat roofs).
  • Construct a trellis that covers your roof.
  • Add insulation to your roof to prevent heat absorption. 

In addition to the above methods, adding air conditioning and properly ventilating your house will also help to cool it down.

The rest of this article will explore these methods of keeping your concrete home cool. To learn how to turn down the temperature in your concrete house, read on. 

Pro-tip: Portable air conditioners are often the easiest way to keep a concrete house cool. To keep your concrete home as cool as possible, check out the best portable air conditioners on now

How to minimize a concrete house’s heat absorption.

Concrete as a building material is incredibly dense, which means when it gets heated, it will stay that way for an extended period of time. 

Concrete is used for certain buildings by architects because the material acts like a rechargeable battery, absorbing heat during the day and letting it off throughout the night. 

This feature is useful when it comes to office buildings since it eradicates the need for man-made temperature control. However, it can be a bit much for the home when it is consistently hot outside, as you need to sleep in your home – and excess heat while you’re trying to sleep can be quite uncomfortable.

The goal is to limit this heat absorption during the day so that the concrete doesn’t let off the heat later.

How to Keep a Concrete House Cool

There are two ways we can do this:

  • Shade the roof so the sun’s rays cannot warm it
  • Insulate the roof so that the heat does not get through to inside the home

While there are other methods to cool your home, such as ventilation and air conditioning, the best way to fight the heat is by keeping it from getting hot in the first place. And the best way to prevent heat from building up in the walls of your concrete home is to prevent the sun’s rays from hitting it. 

Shading Your Roof From The Sun

To reduce your home’s sun exposure, what you need to do is protect your house’s roof at all costs. 

On the surface, this sounds counter-intuitive; isn’t that what roofs are for? 

Roofs are indeed meant to protect the top of a building, but when it comes to houses made from heat-absorbing concrete, it is sometimes necessary to make a conscious effort to cover your roof from UV rays.

So, how do we do this?

There are a few types of structures that can be implemented to protect the roof of your concrete house from the sun.


Pergolas are structures (usually wooden) that provide shade. They are built to block out the sun or other weather in places that need to be protected, which is why they are usually enacted over decks or gardens.

If your concrete home is fully exposed to the sun, building a large pergola to protect the roof works wonders to cover the surface from the sunlight. 

How to Keep a Concrete House Cool

However, while a pergola will completely block out the sun and prevent the heat from getting trapped in the concrete, constructing a pergola can be time-consuming and might require some basic woodworking skills. 

If you’re really committed to the pergola idea but lack the skills (or the time) to build one yourself, you could hire a contractor to do the work for you. However, this can get pretty expensive, so you might want to go with one of the next few methods if the cost is a concern. 


A lesser-known yet highly effective way to cover your roof is through the use of foliage. Plants naturally absorb both heat and light, making them one of the best protectors of your roof. They also look terrific, making this the most aesthetically pleasing way to keep your concrete home cool. 

All you need to do is acquire a bunch of potted plants and cover your roof with them.

While this is not doable for some people – for example, you might have a slanted roof – it is a fantastic and relatively cost-effective way of combating your houses’ heat absorption.


Trellises, when constructed around the perimeter of your roof, can be a great barrier between the roof and the sun. 

A trellis, if you are not familiar with the word, is a type of structure similar to a pergola, except they have vertical walls. The designs that weave throughout these frameworks will act as a barricade between the sun and your roof.

Although this method is incredibly effective, it can be time-consuming and expensive to install.

Insulating your roof.

Protecting your roof from solar rays works wonders when it comes to preventing your concrete houses heat absorption, but you can also use insulation to achieve the same effect.

The two types of insulation you can use on your roof are:

  • Gravel, laid out all over the roof’s surface
  • Bituminous sheets, which are glued to the surface


If you have a flat roof, you can put gravel on it to protect it from the heat. When your roof is completely covered with this material, it will prevent almost all heat from reaching your roof, so there will be no heat transfer being let off in your home overnight.

Gravel will not only protect your house from UV rays and the heat but also from other damaging weather, such as hail or rain. 

How to Keep a Concrete House Cool

While this seems like a relatively easy fix, there are two primary downsides to using gravel to block the sun’s rays: gravel is relatively expensive, and it can only be used on flat surfaces. 

If you do not have a level roof surface, then bituminous sheets are likely your best bet. 

Bituminous Sheets

Adding bituminous sheets, or bitumen roofing, is a great way to insulate your house’s roof to prohibit the absorption of heat.

Bitumen roofing is a durable material that limits heat flow throughout, essentially the opposite of concrete properties, and will protect your roof from UV rays and the sun’s heat. 

Another benefit of bitumen sheets is that they can be used on slanted roofs, which is something that gravel cannot be used on.

As you might expect, installation and material costs for this type of material can be pricey. Still, once you feel the cooling power of this insulation, you will probably consider the cost and effort worthwhile.

Final Thoughts

Concrete is the perfect material for building long-lasting houses, but it can also mean that summers in your home tend to be quite hot.

If you need to cool your concrete home, you can do so by either blocking your roof from the sunlight or insulating your roof directly.

To block your roof from the sun, you can use one of the following methods:

  • Build a pergola
  • Cover the surface with plants
  • Enact trellises around the perimeter

If you want to prevent heat transfer by insulating your roof, the best materials are either gravel or bituminous Sheets.

It’s up to you to decide which of these methods are the most convenient and cost-effective for you and your concrete home. Good luck!


  • Steve Rajeckas

    Steve Rajeckas is an HVAC hobbyist with an avid interest in learning innovative ways to keep rooms, buildings, and everything else at the optimal temperature. When he's not working on new posts for Temperature Master, he can be found reading books or exploring the outdoors.

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