8 tips to selecting colors for your home's exterior

NEWSUSA -- You've no doubt driven down a street, seen a house, and thought, "Yikes! What were they thinking?"

Colors can evoke a visceral response, especially on home exteriors. At once both personal and public, colors make a first impression, can accentuate attributes and soften flaws and offer a glimpse into your personality.

"Homeowners can be influenced by many sources -- friends and neighbors, magazines, TV shows or the guy at the hardware store -- so you'll need to be careful you're not just chasing the latest trend; otherwise, your house might be the one that people end up rolling their eyes at," says PBS home improvement expert Vicki Payne.

Payne says you'll be happy for years to come by following eight tips on selecting colors for your home's exterior:

1. Deciding between bright and cheerful colors or deep, rich earth tones will influence all other decisions.

2. Pick colors that will blend in with your surroundings.

3. Make sure your choices in siding and trim don't clash with materials you are not going to replace, such as roof shingles, brick, stone and tile.

4. The size and lot location of your house matter. Light colors can make a house look bigger, and dark colors can make it look smaller.

5. Landscaping will continue to grow and change colors as the seasons change, so trees, shrubs and flowering gardens need to be considered.

6. Use neutral colors to de-emphasize things such as an air conditioning unit or gutters and downspouts, and use contrasting or accent colors to highlight things such as architectural detailing, porch railings, windows and front doors.

7. Computer visualizers can give a general idea of what colors will look like, but large swatches (about 2 by 3 feet) give a truer look at what colors might actually look like on your home. (Take a look at the swatches at different times of day. The colors will look different as the intensity of the sunlight changes.)

8. Make it last. Who wants to invest thousands of dollars every few years to re-paint? An alternative is pre-painted planks, but their finishes degrade just like paint. Better are cladding products that are certified and warranted to retain their color over their lifespan. Vinyl and other polymeric siding manufactures incorporate color at the front end of production -- actually blending the pigment into the formulation. The color can't chip, pit or peel, giving homeowners peace of mind that they won't have to paint or repair the finish. And just like the leading paint manufactures, vinyl siding, soffit, trim and accessories come in an enormous number of colors -- from classic lighter colors to deep barn reds, hunter and sage greens, deep blues and more.

"Keeping your home's exterior looking fresh and timely doesn't have to be challenging," Payne says.


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