How dramatic color changes may effect your next painting project

Today two trends are dominating the painting landscape. For exteriors, the most popular colors of late have been navy blue and medium-light grays to darker grays with white trim. On the interior, there is a split with bolder colors competing with whites for wall space. There is also the increasing use of accent walls for dramatic effect.

Interior painting has shifted away from beige and light natural tones along with a trend to move away from natural wood finish cabinets. The “too brown” movement is in full swing with kitchen cabinet refinishing going hand in hand with bolder kitchen wall color choices.

What do these trends have in common? Darker colors.

For most homeowners, it’s easy to see why, tastes change with the times, and while having an off-white house with black shutters may seem timeless it’s also a bit boring. Because of this many people are opting for “statement” colors to make their homes stand out.

Today, if you ask a real estate professional what color to paint the exterior of your house to speed up a sale the first choice is a medium gray.

In almost all cases these exterior colors go on with ease because the paint they are covering is generally lighter, color “bleed-through” is not as big an issue.  The same is true with interior painting. When you decide to paint one wall in your dining room a deep red it requires very little to accomplish, it’s just an accent wall’s worth of effort and a single coat will nearly always get it done – almost.

So what’s the problem? The life expectancy of your paint is the problem. When you decide to go all-in on painting your exterior black with gray trim it may look amazing on day one but the way paint looks changes over time.

As paint begins to age it loses its pigmentation and luster due to UV rays and environmental exposure. All exterior paint is subject to becoming faded, duller and chalky. If your exterior is a pale shade of yellow to begin with then it’s not all that noticeable over time. It just looks like it’s getting a bit lighter, you may only notice it on the side of the house that gets the strongest amount of sunlight.

For a black, navy blue, or dark gray house it’s a different story. The chalkiness may not be completely uniform, it may be obviously looking aged and its dullness more pronounced. Once you have committed to these colors though reversing course may get expensive. It may also impact your air conditioning costs as darker houses will absorb more heat during the day.

Painting a house that was white a nice shade of navy blue is easy. It’s easy to see where you have painted and where you need to, the contrast is maximized and there may be no bleed through at all but unless you are planning to stick with navy blue forever and never sell the house you might want to imagine what will be involved if you decide to switch to something like a light tan in the future.

The repainting from dark to light is where it gets difficult. A light tan over navy blue or gray is only going to work if you have covered the darker color in a strong coat of white primer. This is true for interiors as well. You may end up paying to have your house painted in three coats. One for the primer and then two coats for the new color to guarantee the results match the paint sample.

Going in the reverse, especially in the interior may also require a primer layer. If you paint a white wall red your dried results might end up as a dark shade of pink. Dramatic shifts from light to dark can require a layer of gray primer.

It’s this simple – the more dramatic the swing the more likely you will get dark or light bleed through and the more likely you will need to use a white or gray primer to minimize the effect. Minimizing the effect is adding to the cost. You might even consider adding a bit of the final color to the primer to make the bridging even more effective.

What if you aren’t willing to go that far? Well, you can always trade light for light or dark for dark. Going from gray to navy blue wouldn’t be that tough and going from white to beige or “greige” is easy. If you are completely stumped and need a third option here are two to consider (and you probably won’t like them), for interiors wallpaper is making a comeback and for exteriors, you can consider a complete vinyl siding job. In both cases the costs are substantial. If you have to have some dark color on your exterior you can always recruit the front door and shutters to do the work!

For real expert advice, your best bet is to start with a free color consultation from an expert in residential painting. At CertaPro Painters® of North Miami, we provide free color consultations and free painting estimates. If you’re in the Miami Florida area and thinking about a radical change in color from light to dark or dark to light why not talk to a professional and get a free estimate for your project today!