This Is Why You Should Never Choose Dark Exterior Paint Colors

Something as simple as the wrong color choice for the outside of your house could lead to major repairs.

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So you've found your dream home, but that dingy white paint job on the exterior leaves something to be desired, to say the least. To many people, the solution seems simple: Paint over it with a darker, more forgiving color and call it a day. The only problem? Doing so might just cause you even more trouble down the line. When it comes to exterior house colors, darker is never the answer, says Jeff Neal, a project estimator with painting contractor Capital Coating.

While a fresh coat of smoky gray, navy blue, or black paint on your home's exterior may look good for a while, it's probably not long for this world. According to Neal, dark paint will eventually "chalk and discolor due to the ultraviolet rays from the sun."

Neal says that while acrylic and latex paints will hold up significantly longer than alkyd ones, the chalking and discoloration are inevitable no matter the formulation. And the darker the color you use, "the chalking, fading, and discoloring will be much more noticeable than with a white paint or a light gray," he explains.

However, that's not the only reason you're better off sticking to lighter exterior house colors. Neal notes that dark shades also absorb more heat, which means that your home will get hotter than it would if it were painted a lighter color. "This can lead to higher utility bills," he explains. So, just how much of a difference will that dark color really make? Well, dark-colored home exteriors typically absorb between 70 and 90 percent of the sun's radiant energy while lighter paint colors are most effective at reflecting that heat, according to a 1994 report from the United States Department of Energy.

In addition to making your home warmer and causing your utility bills to spike, this increase in temperature can make vinyl siding more prone to warping, rendering it less effective against the elements and potentially subjecting the wood or framing underneath to water damage (although using newer, vinyl-safe paint can help mitigate this issue).

However, if you simply love the look of a bold exterior paint color, there's one place in particular that adding a darker hue might actually do you some good: your front door. According to a 2018 report from Zillow, homes with black or dark gray front doors sold for an average of $6,271 more than expected, so don't be afraid to tap into your dark side—in moderation!

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