Use of shade net over the roofs could be one of the economic ways to reduce heat gained by the buildings in arid regions. Model rooms with reinforced cement concrete (RCC) and galvanized iron (GI) sheet roofs were set up in the open field. 50% shading nets were tried over the roofs of the model rooms at a height of 125 mm from the roof top surface. From the experiments, it is concluded that using shade net over GI sheet roof can be as good as a RCC roof without shade net. These shade nets are found to cause negligible adverse effects on the night time cooling. Around 8 and 16 °C reduction in peak temperatures of roof surfaces due to shade net were observed in RCC and GI sheet roof cases, respectively. In turn, 1 and 2 °C reduction in average inside air temperatures has been observed in the respective cases. © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.