Exterior Paint Schemes For Historical Houses

Take your Time and Do your Homework when Selecting a Paint Scheme for Your Historical Home

By Mark J. Donovan

Choosing the right paint colors for an historical house can be a real challenge. Not only do you want to get it right, but often the town or local historical society requires it to. This can often mean selecting a few paint color schemes and then having to present them to a historical group to get approval to paint your home. Often historical houses used very similar paint colors and paint schemes. For example, in New Hampshire many old homes and buildings were painted white with either green or black shutters and trim work.

If a paint scheme of white and black/green sounds a little boring fear not there are other alternative paint schemes that you can consider.

When developing a paint scheme for historical houses it’s important to remember a few key things about paints. Summarized below are some tips on selecting paint schemes for historical houses.

First, light paint colors make a home look larger than it is and dark colors make a home feel smaller. By using light paint colors you can also make a home feel closer to a road than conversely using a dark color.

Second, temperature can also affect how colors are observed by the human eye. Light paint colors in cooler climates can feel bolder, where in warmer climates the same colors will appear faded or washed out.

Third, if you want external mechanical features of the home to appear invisible to the home then paint them the same color as the home. This is often desired for paint schemes for historical houses. For example paint gutters and downspouts the same color as the home siding.

Fourth, with any house painting project it is important that all moisture and mildew problems are first addressed prior to painting. Also, make sure to repair any damaged house siding and trim work prior to painting.

Fifth, talk to people. Paint stores have made it much easier to figure out the right paint schemes for a home. Talk with them about your historical home and what colors might work best. Also the local historical society can help. They are more than willing to provide information on what the typical color schemes were on old homes.

As a matter of fact, and as I’ve already mentioned, they often will have a say in approving your historical home’s color scheme. So it’s wise to visit them regardless if you need any help or not in picking out your preferred color scheme for your historical home. There are also historical home paint consultants that you can also pursue who can give you advice on not only color schemes but types of paint.

Sixth, use technology. A lot of paint companies have sophisticated software programs that you can download off the internet to evaluate color schemes for your particular historical home style. These types of programs allow you to quickly test out different color schemes.

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Seventh, as an alternative to painting your historical home you can stain it. The advantage of staining a historical home is that it penetrates into the wood and you don’t have to worry about peeling and cracking. The disadvantages of using stain, however, are that it will fade over time and it does not hide blemishes very well.

Finally, take your time. Owning an historical home is like owning a national treasure, so spend the extra time finding out what color schemes are best for your home to preserve and protect its heritage.

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