Will Light Colored Paint Keep My Home Cooler?


It’s full-on summer here in Illinois, and that can mean hazy, hot and humid. Your home is in need of a fresh coat of paint, and now you’re wondering: Can lighter-colored paint keep my home cooler? It’s mostly a matter of reflection.

If you spin your color wheel from light to dark, you’ll see that darker colors absorb light, while lighter colors tend to reflect light. It’s why a white shirt can feel cooler than a black one, and also why you need to be mindful of walking your black-coated dog on a really hot day. Dark colors absorb heat and feel warmer.

Dark Paint is Hot!

Of course you can choose darker colors. Dark, rich browns, blues, and grays are beautiful. Paired with white trim, the effect can be stunning. But lean against a dark wall on a hot afternoon, and you’ll feel for yourself how much heat the dark colors retain.

Your dark exterior can absorb 70-90% of the sun’s radiant energy striking your home. Simple conduction transfers some of that heat into your home, making it warmer, and resulting in a greater reliance on mechanical cooling. Want to learn more? Check out the Department of Energy’s Guide, Cooling Your Home Naturally.

Light Colored Paint Bounces Back

At the opposite end of the spectrum, light paint colors reflect both light and heat outward. Less absorption means less heat conducted into your house. The result? A naturally cooler home, thanks to more reflection and less heat retention, and as a bonus, you’re likely to enjoy lower climate-control costs.

Don’t Like White Houses? No Problem.

Like everything else in life, you need to choose the color that you like, keeping in mind that you don’t need to go to the extreme either way. Talk color with a paint professional to come up with the best plan of action for your home. Light doesn’t necessarily mean white, and there exists an entire rainbow of colors. You can go lighter, and accent with darker shades. Other factors to consider include sun exposure. Does your house have full southern exposure? Is it shaded by trees or other structures? Bringing a professional on board will give you the opportunity to ask questions, and hear suggestions you may not have considered.

The choice is yours, but a little help can brighten anyone’s day!



Categories: Color Tips, Exterior House Painting, Uncategorized