Builders and remodelers that view siding color as a critical design tool are ahead of the curve in creating appealing, one-of-a-kind households. After all, exterior color is a far more permanent investment than wall paint or interior décor and can help a homeowner increase the value of their home.
“To select the right colors for your home, view siding colors as an exterior project tool that both turns a home into a showpiece and increases its value,” says Leslie Harrington, executive director of The Color Association of the United States.
Color and architecture trends vary across the United States; therefore, homebuilders must take into consideration local geography and design trends. For instance, when developing a color palate for the Twin Cities, deeper, bolder hues and stylish warm and cool gray tones better reflect the unique tastes and styles of Midwest homeowners.
Along with a home’s natural surroundings, builders can also use exterior color to highlight a project’s architectural features. Horizontal or vertical banding can be shown off with a different color than window trim; the same goes for highlighting gables or dentil molding.
For the rest of the decade, color experts predict two distinct trends to emerge in the exterior color market. One is the return of solid white homes, Harrington predicts. Homes with white siding and trim evoke emotional nostalgia for classic American neighborhoods. New homeowners are flocking to this trend because it reminds them of the past – perhaps a parent, grandparent or family member’s home. Look for these homes to include other “classic” features such as a white picket fence.
While one trend is devoid of color, the other embraces it. As the options for environmentally friendly exterior colors expand, homeowners can be creative and express personal style. A lighter, cooler siding shade chosen for energy-efficient reasons can be well accented by a bold or deeper trim color. This one-of-a-kind statement creates a standout look that will contrast with other homes in the neighborhood.
Specializing in green construction is a great way for homebuilders to differentiate their business from the competition, but often, projects that involve only sustainable materials can limit design choices. With the demand for green building increasing, modern homebuilders are looking for ways to create unique aesthetics while keeping the environment in mind.
According to a study by McGraw-Hill Construction, green building made up 17 percent of residential construction in 2011, totaling $17 billion in economic activity. That figure is expected to greatly increase by 2016, the study says, accounting for 38 percent of the market and up to $114 billion in residential spending.
Green building improves air and water quality, conserves natural resources and enhances the comfort and health of homeowners, according to the EPA. For builders, the cost of switching from traditional building supplies to environmentally friendly ones is often offset by using fewer materials and generating less waste. Incorporating green building as the standard can fast-track the permit process and come with reduced fees and access to projects builders might not have acquired otherwise. On the jobsite, using non-hazardous materials benefits the health and wellness of employees.
Unfortunately, many paints and primers contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) –materials that can be toxic to humans, animals and the environment, according to the EPA.
Exterior color is a challenge to green homebuilders if they are using siding that requires painting on the job-site. Acrylic latex paint is one of the most common exterior color options for vinyl siding and typically contains VOCs.
Homebuilders can avoid the release of toxic VOCs into the air by choosing siding products that are prefinished. James Hardie fiber cement siding, for example, is available pre-finished with ColorPlus Technology. This means all siding and trim collections come with a multi-coat, baked-on pigment that’s specially formulated to bond with James Hardie siding products. This durable, lower maintenance finish lasts up to two times longer and has better fade-resistance than field paints on other products and vinyl siding. Pre-finished solutions like ColorPlus Technology also eliminate VOCs on the job site.
With the growing sustainable construction market, homebuilders must consider exterior color that’s both environmentally friendly and stylish.
John Dybsky is the senior marketing manager at James Hardie Building Products, where he currently oversees the development and implementation of new marketing strategy. John’s expertise includes building materials, product development and marketing. For more information, visit www.jameshardie.com.