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Painting Exterior Doors

Lakefront Help's picture
Lakefront Help

I would appreciate any ideas on what color to paint our exterior doors. The house is a light grey/green color. We are also looking for ideas to spruce up the front as it looks rather plain. We are purchasing new window trim as the existing trim is made from wood. I'm thinking a nice wide time would look best but open to suggestions.


November 2008 189.jpg49.83 KB

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Lakefront Help's picture
Lakefront Help

Hello Tendulkar,
Are you familiar with this house or can you tell by looking at the picutres? I'm wondering why this would be done as the house is only 6 years old.


Tendulkar's picture

The original owner replaced the front exterior door with a new fiberglass door.
The paint has peeled away from the outside door edge that meets the door jam

Jennabutala's picture

You can try, grass green, dark blue, coffee shade or brown color, they all will provide a good look to your home

Lakefront Help's picture
Lakefront Help

I think that the House is very bland looking. I agree that the balcony sticks out like a sore thumb. I think painting the balcony white would blend much better. We don't have room for shutters on either side of the deck, so we will have to use a wide trim. I'm thinking a white trim, but open to ideas. I also think that widening the trim on the corners of the house would help as well.

Lakefront Help's picture
Lakefront Help

I've attached a pic of Vinyl Shake Siding. I think this might look really neat on the front of the home. I don't think I will be able to match the color of the rest of the house exactly so I'm looking for ideas on what color would work. I'm thinking a tan color? Is it possible to find a tan or light brown in a cool tone? I don't think Green or Blue would blend well with the rest of the siding.


Lakefront Help's picture
Lakefront Help

Hi there,
I just wanted to thank everyone for their input so far. I just wanted to clarify that we have vinyl siding. We want to replace the trim only. I have thought about replacing the siding on the front only but I'm not so sure that would work?? There is some nice vinyl cedar shake siding that you can get, but it would be in a tan color.
I like the idea of painting the deck white.

Thanks again :)

Nestor_Kelebay's picture


Check this out:

Go to [url][/url]

Click on the red "for the Seller and Specifier" link in the top right corner

Click on the red "PQI Architect Modules" link from the list on the left, and

Find the module entitled "How colour is affected by the ingredients in Paint" and click on the "Download now!" link.

On the bottom of Page 2 and top of Page 3 of that PDF file you'll find charts that compare the hiding strength and light fastness of organic and inorganic pigments used in house paints. You'll see that both natural and synthetic iron oxides typically score "excellent" when it comes to lightfastness (cuz rocks don't fade) and "Very Good" in terms of hiding strength compared to "Good to Very Good" for organic pigments. Inorganic pigments have excellent hide and very good resistance to fading, but their low colour intensity requires that a lot of pigment needs to be used to tint the paint to the desired colour.

I just thought I'd show you this comparison so that you'd know that there are important differences between the various pigments used to colour piants.

And, I should reiterate that I don't consider paint colour to be unimportant. I just think that if a person is going to be repainting a whole house, that's a lot of work and the practical considerations of the pigments in the paint should play a more important role in the decision making process than colour alone. Everyone wants an attractive colour scheme, but hide and resistance to fade are of elevated importance when going through all the work of repainting a house.

Nestor_Kelebay's picture

When it comes to deciding what colour to paint a house, I think it's FAR more important to choose the right KIND of pigment than it is to focus on what hue of pigment you want. That is, the kind of pigment in your paint is more important than the colour of your paint.

Paints get their colours from tiny solid coloured particles in the paint called "pigments". Either these pigments are added at the factory (so the paint comes "pre-tinted") or at the point of sale when it's tinted in a paint tinting machine.

Paint pigments fall into two catagories; organic and inorganic.

ORGANIC pigments are the colourwheel colours, like red, yellow and blue, and all the colours you can make from them, like orange, green, purple, magenta, cyan, etc. These pigments are made from chemicals in a lab, and vary widely in their properties. In general, though, none of them hide as well or are as resistant to fading when exposed to light from the Sun as inorganic pigments.

INORGANIC pigments are best thought of as coloured rocks pulverized into a fine powder. Really, they are the synthetic equivalent of the pulverized dust from coloured rocks that artists have been using for millenia to paint with. For example, the inorganic pigment "Sienna" is named after the Italian town of Sienna where the soil and rocks have a mustard yellow colour.

Almost certainly, the oldest things in your yard are the rocks in your yard or garden. (That's not counting any diamonds in your jewellry that are probably in the order of 3 to 4 Billion (with a "B") years old.) In order for something to be 300 million years old, it HAS TO BE extremely chemically stable or it would have decomposed by now. That extremely high chemical stability manifests itself as a very high resistance to fading due to exposure to UV light from the Sun. In fact, you can take ANY stone or rock you find on a beach or river bank, and after cleaning and drying, you'll find that both top and bottom of that rock are exactly the same colour. That rock could have been lying in the Sun for thousands of years, and yet won't have faded on top even in the slightest. If you were to pulverized that rock into a fine powder, and use that powder as a pigment in paint to give it colour, then the paint won't fade in Sunlight either. That's because paint get's it's colour from the pigments in it, and if the pigments don't fade, neither will the paint.

Also, every kid who's ever played Hide and Seek will tell you that big rocks provide a good hiding place. That's because they're opaque. In fact, it's so common for rocks to be opaque, that the transparent ones are rare enough that they are generally considered gems. If you pulverize a coloured rock into a fine powder, then that powder will have the same opacity as the rock. If you use that powder to colour a paint, then that paint will have good hide because the pigments in it have high opacity.

Thus, if you pick a paint colour that calls mostly or entirely for inorganic pigments in it's tint formula, the paint you get will derive it's colour from the modern day equivalent of the pulverized coloured rocks (that artists have used for millenia) and it will have better hide and fade less than any other paint.

Which pigments are those?
Well, just go to your paint store and ask someone to show you the different colourants in their paint tinting machine. The inorganic pigments will be the "Earth Tone" colours, or any colour you can imagine rocks being:

A.) Raw Sienna or "Yellow Oxide" will be a mustard yellow colour. It's an iron oxide with specific impurities that give it it's particular colour.
B.) Red Oxide is the most common colour of iron oxide, or "rust". It's a reddish brown colour.
C.) Brown Oxide is yet another iron oxide, and it's chocolate brown in colour.
D.) Raw Umber is another iron oxide that's such a dark brown that it can be mistaken for black. It shows hues of yellow and green when spread thin on a piece of white paper.
E.) Black is the most colourfast and smallest pigment used to colour paints. It's actually "soot". It's made by burning high purity methane in special furnaces with insufficient oxygen to produce copious amounts of soot. It's this soot that's used as the pigment in black paint tinting colourants.
F.) White is made from tiny particles of Titanium Dioxide. There are two different kinds of Titanium Dioxide; Anatase and Rutile. Only the rutile form of TiO2 is used as a pigment in colouring house paints. Titanium dioxide replaced lead carbonate as the white pigment in paints in the mid-1970's.

Strictly speaking, the term "organic" means that it contains carbon atoms, but the black pigment is still considered an inorganic pigment despite it's being composed of nothing but carbon atoms.

So, if you can find a paint colour that calls exclusively for these colourants in it's tint formula, you'll get a paint that hides better and fades less than any other paint. These are important considerations because you don't want to be applying 6 coats (like you might have to when using a yellow paint to hide another colour) nor do you want the paint to fade so that you can repaint areas without having them stand out because the surrounding paint has faded.

And, keep in mind:

1. Pigments tend to "floculate" or "clump together" in latex paints, and that decreases the hide of the paint. If possible, try to get a factory tinted oil based paint in an inorganic colour. That's because floculation isn't as much of a problem in oil based paints, so that the factory can put more pigment into an oil based tint base without having floculation become a problem, so pretinted oil based paints should have better hide than pre-tinted or tinted latex paints.

2. Eventually, you'll have to repaint your house. In order to get good adhesion to the existing paint, I think it's a good idea to paint with a FLAT oil based paint now. The reason why is that in future, to get the new paint to adhere will to the old paint, you might have to sand down the old paint. On something the size of a house, that's a lot of work. However, if you paint with a flat paint, then you already have a rough surface on your paint that any paint will stick well to. That will save a lot of work down the road when it comes time to repaint. At that time, all you'll have to do is scrape any loose paint off, sand the edges of the paint to "feather edge" them so they don't show through the new paint, and paint right over the old flat paint.

That is, you won't need to sand flat paint to get good adhesion of any new paint to it.

PS: WHITE paint can be problematic in southern latitudes because titanium dioxide tends to act like a catalyst in the process by which UV light from the Sun causes paint to "chaulk". So, a white paint would be expected to chaulk more than any other colour because TiO2 acts like a catalyst in that regard. However, in Canada we're far enough North that we don't get the intensity of sunlight that they do in the southern states, and paint chaulking isn't really a problem for us.

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