Why Black is the Worst Colour to Paint?

January 16, 2023 at 10:28 PM

When choosing a colour to paint the exterior of your house or commercial building, there is no bolder choice than the colour black. It evokes modernity, sophistication, and a willingness to stand out against the drab conformity of your neighbours. You can make quite the statement from applying the first few paint strokes, and the result will give your property and surrounding landscape that irresistible pop.

So why is choosing black not the best decision for painting your exterior?

For starters, black and other dark colours tend to absorb light, whereas white and lighter colours tend to reflect light. When sunlight hits the black exterior, ultraviolet (UV) rays and radiation will get absorbed, and continued exposure will cause the paint to peel and fade over time. Lighter colours may experience the same effects, but at a slower rate. Touch-ups and repainting may be required more frequently to maintain the look.

If you are looking to paint the exterior concrete surfaces of your building with a black, or a dark grey colour then take into consideration the following point. Black will highlight the white chalky calcium deposits that efflorescence may deposit on the coated concrete surfaces. This is a natural occurrence in concrete. Lighter colours will not highlight efflorescence deposits to the same extent as black or very dark colours and will therefore provide longer time periods between coats. See the two photos of the same building below which demonstrate this point.

Faded black coating on concrete with efflorescence.

Faded black coating on concrete with efflorescence.

Same building, coated white with the same efflorescence as the black coating but far less visible and unsightly.

Same building, coated white with the same efflorescence as the black coating but far less visible and unsightly.

Going beyond the visual, another major characteristic of black exterior paint to consider is its ability to retain heat. which can be a benefit during the cold winter months, but come summer, that energy bill may increase with the amount of cooling. Consider cities like Vancouver, Burnaby, and others within the Lower Mainland. This region where Inspec Consulting Services operates has one of the most moderate climates in all of Canada, let alone British Columbia. It mostly avoids the severe cold that regions to the east and to the north receive. Aesthetics would be the main motivating factor for choosing black paint, even if it can result in more maintenance and costs.

It's always a challenge to balance style and practicality when choosing the most appropriate paint colour. If you own or manage a stratified residential property or commercial property and are thinking about how your choice of paint colour can affect your long-term investment or your tenants’ experience, hiring a paint and coatings expert to provide professional advice and to manage your paint project may just be the right thing to do.

About Inspec Consulting Inc.

Inspec Consulting Services Inc. is a recognized leader in the paint and coating industry. We specialize in third-party quality assurance inspections and consultations within the commercial and stratified residential space. Our MPI-certified Coatings Specialists have over 50 years of combined experience in providing quality inspections and reporting that strictly adhere to NACE and MPI Industry Standards. We provide services for strata councils, property management firms, and architectural and engineering professionals in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

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