Author Topic: Paint the side of my house a dark color?  (Read 2338 times)

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Paint the side of my house a dark color?
« on: October 27, 2015, 10:36:08 AM »
We tried gardening this summer and it went great. I was worried that my garden, along the side of my house, wouldn't get enough sun. But it produced earlier than everybody else's garden around, and I ate 20 cherry tomatoes from it yesterday, after two hard freezes. It's up against a brick wall of my house, so it stands to reason that the thermal mass of the brick is keeping the plants warm at night, helping them produce more, earlier, and stay alive later. This has made me think about ways I can use this sun situation to my potential advantage during the winter.

My house has a weird shape. It is about 15 feet wide and 50 feet long. The long wall is 30 degrees off from being straight east-west, so you could say it faces south-southeast. The exterior veneer isn't precisely brick, but a common thing around here called Brickote. It seems to basically be stucco. Here's a Street View image from my town, showing a major eyesore that has the same Brickote veneer that my house has. You can see it's a pale yellow or beige and is generally dingy.

Somebody recently bought the building in the Street View and is fixing it up, keeping all the original wood details. I hope they make a big pile of money. One of the things they did is paint that veneer a dark gray. It looks awesome. My wife wanted to do it simply because it looks good, but picking tomatoes yesterday got me wondering if the wall being dark would be worth doing for heating benefits alone. In the summer we keep our windows open nearly constantly, so having an extra-hot wall won't really matter because the house has enough windows that we get excellent air flow.

Concerns:
1. Would it affect the brick structural wall behind the Brickote to make it even more out of sync with its environment?
2. Would I be adding a maintenance item by forcing myself to repaint every 20 years?
3. Sun angle is obviously pretty low in Pennsylvania in winter. There's a two-story house 25 feet away parallel with most of this wall. But it doesn't block much sun this time of year, and we have the heat on.

Has anybody done something similar?

Jack

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Re: Paint the side of my house a dark color?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2015, 02:58:34 PM »
1. Would it affect the brick structural wall behind the Brickote to make it even more out of sync with its environment?

Probably not enough to matter (assuming regular paint -- see below).

2. Would I be adding a maintenance item by forcing myself to repaint every 20 years?

Yes. In fact, you're probably forcing yourself to repaint a lot more frequently then that (unless you go with a fancy ceramic coating or something... but since those are supposed to have insulating properties I have no idea if they'd have the desired affect on your microclimate).

paddedhat

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Re: Paint the side of my house a dark color?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2015, 02:41:51 PM »
Hey Shoulder, I know what you are dealing with. I actually went to school (Saucon Valley) with the family that invented Brickote. As you know, there is a metric shit ton of the stuff in the Valley.  For those that are curious, it is a complicated stucco process with the final step being the use of specialty tools to gouge out a fake mortar groove in the surface, to create the look of a brick wall. The ascetics range from not so good, (particularly if it's an old, or monotone job) to spot on, as in you really have to look hard to see that it's not a real brick wall.

In your case, I wouldn't hesitate to paint it. I would drop by a Sherwin-Williams or other pro. paint supplier for advice and materials. With quality prep. and paint, it should last a long time, and look a lot better.

dess1313

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Re: Paint the side of my house a dark color?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2015, 08:43:02 PM »
dark heavy colors would only concern me if you get a lot of heat/hot sun in the summer time.  you'll find that a south wall like that could make the house a lot hotter.  or not depending on how well that brick stuff absorbs heat or doesn't absorb heat.  If it doesn't get very warm there temperature wise, or for only short periods, then it wouldn't matter as much.  I know my condo which doesn't have a south wall is very easy to cool, as where the condo on the end of my row with the south wall takes more to cool it in the summer time

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Paint the side of my house a dark color?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2015, 09:38:11 AM »
Hey Shoulder, I know what you are dealing with. I actually went to school (Saucon Valley) with the family that invented Brickote. As you know, there is a metric shit ton of the stuff in the Valley.  For those that are curious, it is a complicated stucco process with the final step being the use of specialty tools to gouge out a fake mortar groove in the surface, to create the look of a brick wall. The ascetics range from not so good, (particularly if it's an old, or monotone job) to spot on, as in you really have to look hard to see that it's not a real brick wall.

In your case, I wouldn't hesitate to paint it. I would drop by a Sherwin-Williams or other pro. paint supplier for advice and materials. With quality prep. and paint, it should last a long time, and look a lot better.

Awesome, I was hoping you'd reply because I figured you'd dealt with it. Not doing it this fall so I have time to do research. Do you think I could DIY (this is a 2.5-story wall) or would I be better off hiring somebody?

paddedhat

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Re: Paint the side of my house a dark color?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2015, 09:52:35 AM »
Shoulder, I would do a bit of both. Have a pro pressure wash the wall, then paint it. Pressure washing at heights can get a bit squirrelly, but painting it should be an easy task.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Paint the side of my house a dark color?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2015, 10:16:16 AM »
Thanks. Amazing the knowledge and helpfulness that's on this forum.