Owners of historical homes know that choosing exterior house paint colors is a big, big deal if they want their homes to remain historically correct. Since the 19th century, paint as we know it has been available – meaning paint that is already mixed, rather than having to prepare it ourselves. But that hasn’t made the decision any easier. Once we’ve painted a two story, four bedroom house ‘Butter Sunshine Yellow’, it may not look anything like we imagined it would from that tiny little paint chip in the store.
Here are nine ideas for choosing exterior house paint colors that might help you avert a disaster!
1. Be certain you take care of any mildew problems before you begin painting. If not, you might get a nasty surprise when it bleeds through your beautiful new paint job. You can test any suspicious areas with chlorine bleach and if the paint or stain that already exists alters its appearance, then you have mildew. Bleach will remove all of it.
2. When choosing your exterior paint in the store, check to see if the manufacturer offers paint ‘families’. Some colors and hues go well together and the paint company may have figured this out in advance.
If not, you might have the ghastly experience of realizing after-the-fact that your trim doesn’t match the main exterior color.
3. Eliminate any and all excess moisture before the job begins. Any kind of moisture will cause paint to not adhere properly, and therefore it won’t hold to your walls. Painting the exterior of a house is expensive. You don’t want to have to re-paint prematurely.
4. If you paint your downspouts and gutters the same color as the house, they will be less noticeable. If you want them to show up, paint an alternate color.
5. The sunlight in your region has a power effect on how colors appear to the human eye. In warmer climates, the sunlight is brighter and harsher because it is nearer the equator so colors will be appear paler. In cooler areas of the globe, light is more diffused and bold colors stand out in our human notice.
6. Darker colors cause a house to appear smaller and further away. If you want your home to be hidden in the trees, this is your best choice. Lighter colors are more noticeable so use them if your want your home to seem closer to the street, as well as larger. Smaller homes might consider this because we want our houses to appear spacious.
7. Stain is a practical alternative to paint. For one thing, it is cheaper than paint, Stain actually sinks into the wood, rather than coating it, so it will neither crack nor peel. Most stain will weather better than paint, too, often assuming a silvery or faded hue, without looking shabby. The biggest problem with stain is that it doesn’t cover imperfections – the knots and strange grains still show. Some homeowners like, this, though, so for them this isn’t a problem.
8. Homeowners today can choose computer software that allows them to scan in a picture of their house. Then they can choose their exterior house paint colors with the click of a mouse and see how it will look in advance. This is extremely powerful and saves many mistakes.
9. Last, but certainly not least, you can always hire a ‘historical paint’ expert for advice. Yes, there really are such people and they do research to figure out the colors existing when your home was built – or the colors available when the models of your home existed. If authenticity is quite important, they can help.
Historically accurate houses, whether authentic or reproductions, depend on a wise choice of exterior house paint colors. Take the time to do your ‘homework’ before putting a brush to a wall.