Monday, June 5, 2017

Camouflage or Feature? Strategies for Exterior Painting

No matter what you're doing, how you treat the details really matters and getting them wrong will trip you up every time. When you're painting the exterior of your house, you need to anaylze seemingly unimportant or small things and have a plan for how you'll deal with them. If you don't, they'll become distractions at best or eyesores at worst, and ruin the overall look. 

Since exterior painting is an investment, it makes sense to not lose these no-cost opportunities to enhance the best features of your house and camouflage the ones that are functional or unattractive.

Exterior Details to Hide, When Possible

To camouflage something, paint it the color of the surface it's on, usually the wall. In the case of downspouts, sometimes they cross the roof or fascia as in this picture, and in that case, the part along the fascia should be painted that color. Note the cabinet where the meters live has been painted the wall color. 

Here are some more candidates for the camouflage treatment:
  • Most construction banding boards (They're usually there as joinery, not as decoration!).
  • Garage doors, if they can be painted. Read your door warranty first as painting some doors could void the warranty.
  • Utility boxes, wires and pipes.
  • Air conditioning unit surround.
  • Gutter exteriors, if they can be painted, and especially when the colors don't work with the roof or the paint colors.
  • Deck undercarriages and support posts, in some situations.
  • Lattice under a porch or deck. 
  • Roof jacks and vents.
  • Foundation.
  • Small vents in gables.
  • Small scale trim pieces used to create outlines.
  • Miscellanous doors and windows in awkward locations. 
  • Unpaintable items like white vinyl windows and doors. They can ruin the look of your house if
    Coordinated vinyl and window trim colors.
    there is high contrast between the trim and wall colors and the windows. Camouflage them by painting the trim the same color so that the windows look like a single unit as you can see in this picture, and by choosing a low contrast color for the walls. 

Before you start your painting project, take the time to study your house and make a plan.

Exterior Details to Feature

  • The front door. Paint it a special color coordinated with the wall and trim colors, and with the flowering plants in your landscape. Don't use that color anywhere else.
  • Decorative details.
As you see, this list of things to showcase is much shorter than the list of things to hide. That's because simplicity is usually best because it supports the architectural integrity of your house.

When it's time to paint your house again, pay attention to these details. You'll be amazed at what a difference it will make to have a smart strategy for them.

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