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  • Writer's pictureCameron Maltby

What to Consider When Choosing Exterior House Paint?

Updated: Jan 6, 2023

Believe it or not, a home's exterior paint does make a huge difference. From choosing what color and the shade it is, painting is downright stressful.

Why Exterior Painting is Important?

Exterior paint shields your home from harsh weather, animals, and other elements that can infiltrate the architecture and penetrate the walls. Exterior paint can also protect your home's siding from the elements, extending the life of your exterior walls. A fresh coat of paint on your walls can help seal out moisture, reducing the added weight that can stress the structural integrity of your home. Furthermore, quality paint can help repel dirt, dust, and allergens, making it easier to keep your home clean.

Steps to Consider in Choosing Exterior Paint

Exterior paint colors can be used to draw attention to architectural details, complement nature, or make a statement in the neighborhood. If you plan to paint your home shortly, some simple tips can help homeowners narrow down their paint color options and ultimately choose the best color combinations for the exterior of their home.

Observe Your Surroundings

Want to impress potential home buyers and your neighbors? Consider colors that will complement the overall curb appeal of the neighborhood. Before making a final decision on color, you should consult with your local community board. Consider using colors that distinguish your home while not clashing or competing with neighboring homes. Choose colors that complement the homes of your neighbors to maintain neighborhood appeal. Similar colors are acceptable, but choosing identical colors can detract from the uniqueness of your home.

Examine Different Lighting

The color of your exterior paint can be heavily influenced by sunlight. If it looks great in one condition but not in another, you might want to consider some other color options that appear more consistent under different conditions. You should also think about which way the front of your house faces. If your house faces north, it will receive less direct light throughout the day, making the color appear cooler. If your home faces south, your colors will appear warmer, making them feel less intense and more muted.

If your home gets a lot of direct sunlight during the day, choose a color that is a shade or two darker than your original choice. The best way to see how a color will look on the outside of your house is to buy a small test size of the paint colors you are considering and paint it out to test.

Use Actual Paint Samples

Printed paint samples are useful for getting a general idea of how the paint color will look once it has dried. However, appearances can be deceiving. Especially when viewing printed paint swatches indoors under artificial lighting. When selecting exterior paint colors, real paint samples should be used rather than a printed version. Furthermore, you never know how a specific paint will look over different base materials.

Remember the Trim

Every exterior painting project should include painting the trim around your home. Painting the trim and accent not only protects the wood fascia around your home from weather and potential rot but also adds much-needed color contrast to the exterior of your home.

If you want to create a more subtle contrast, choose an exterior trim color that is a few shades lighter or darker than the exterior color. Choosing a trim color in the same color family as your main color helps to highlight your home without creating stark color contrast. If you want to make a more dramatic statement with your trim, choose a color that contrasts with the main exterior color. In any case, don't overlook the importance of choosing a good trim color to complement the rest of your new house's appearance.

Ask Guidance from Your Home

The exterior color scheme can incorporate existing fixed colors inside or outside of a home. This includes the foundation, window trim, and roof material. These factors can have a significant impact on the selection of paint colors for the home. Don't choose a trendy color that clashes with what's already there. Consider the existing color schemes inside the home and select exterior paint colors that complement them. The color of a home's furnishings can help in the selection of exterior paint colors as well.

Put Paint to Test

Once you've narrowed down your possible exterior home colors to a few options, obtain color samples and paint large swaths of them. View them at different times of day, in the sun and the shade. If you still can't decide, hire a trusted designer or have a friend look at your home with you.

Exterior Painting FAQs:

How do I choose exterior paint?

An exterior color scheme should ideally consist of three major components: a dominant field color, an accent color that brings shutters, doors, and other smaller parts to life, and trim color. Make an eye-catching accent color stand out once you've chosen an appealing combination of field and trim.

What is the best type of paint to use on the exterior of a house?

The best paint to use is oil-based paints that shrink less than latex and acrylic paints, withstand high traffic, and apply smoothly. Oil-based paint dries to a smooth, hard surface and is ideal for porch floors, doors, trim, and small details.

What color should I paint the exterior of my house?

Bright, neutral colors such as whites and pale colors will help a house appear larger. Bright, light colors, such as whites, light grays, and even pale yellows, will reflect light and help to make your property appear larger, just as they do when used for interiors.

What exterior paint color fades the least?

Whites and lighter neutrals will produce the most fade-resistant results and fade the least.

What is the longest-lasting exterior paint?

Acrylic paint is the most long-lasting. It is durable, flexible, and resistant to fading from the sun as well as damage from rain and other elements.

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