Siding Post 5: Painting has started but I still haven’t picked out all the colors

Well first of all, some good news: my roofer came and finished my fascia! Yay! And now some bad news: I’m unimpressed with how it looks.


You see, the caulk on the siding is getting painted over, but what’s on the fasica is I think supposed to keep looking like that. Big improvement over what it was, but I think I have to work up the energy to complain.


And don’t forget the before:

photo 6

So while I figure out what I’m doing about this, at least it waterproofs the top end of my siding. I can deal with it slowly.

Moving on… I’ve said before that I love old imperfect windows. The tilt in feature might have changed my mind.


Remember, the extra prettiness of wood is kind of wasted on the back of my house, but these windows were from Craigslist and they were cheap. And one of them looks pretty good now, even though I missed a few spots. And I think my amateurish painting helped soften the too-perfect thing that brand new windows have going for them anyway.


So back to obsessing over paint colors. For JoI’m going to try to give a more complete view of the back of my house. The bulk of the house is stucco, and then I have that projecting bay that is now sided. Most of the stucco faces a useless space that I’ve heard called an alley and a piano key. Although it’s true that my house is shaped like a piano key, I think it’s more useful to call this space a light well or an air shaft.


It’s because of this space that I said I want my stucco light. After all, I have 3 precious windows overlooking it. Fixing the stucco is not in the cards for this year, and the house next door to me (with the brown window trim) is on the market. I’m hoping that if I ask nicely, I can get whoever buys it to spruce up their stucco at the same time that I do mine so we can have a nice view. But it mustn’t be McMansion stucco. I could see myself waking up in cold sweats over the thought of that. Except that I sleep soundly. All this is for another year, but we’ll consider what color the stucco should be now.

Then there’s the stucco wall under the bay. This is my space that kinda looks like a porch. The only breeze I get back here is the exhaust from my neighbor’s air conditioner, so there will be a ceiling fan when I’m done. That’s non-negotiable. Unfortunately, the ceiling fan I already have is indoor only. But I don’t like it enough to really want it indoors. I’m gonna give you another crude rendering of my soon to be patio door on this wall.


Crude but it gets my point across, right?

So here’s what I’m thinking. At the beginning I thought the back of my house was small, closed in, and ugly, and I may as well paint it something crazy to make it look more pleasant. Recladding the bay changed things a bit. Now it is small, closed in, and pretty. But a year and a half ago it was definitely ugly.

Back 3

Back 3

If the stucco and siding are not the same color, it makes the most architectural sense to me to paint the siding white like the trim and make the stucco to be something else. But I put a lot of effort (and money) into giving the bay a little bit of architectural value, and the walls facing the air shaft have none. So I’ve ruled that out. Now, I can paint the stucco and siding both a contrasting color, which must be light, or I can paint the stucco white and be free to do whatever I want with the siding. Like Amy suggests, I could paint it navy.


But like I said, if I do this, the siding will be navy and the stucco will be white. Also, I hope my stucco looks old. And I still want my beadboard light blue. I was going to wait on this, but I kind of long for something to look finished, so I’m going forward with it. Also, cutting in paint around window glass is awful, so I pulled roofing nails out of my beadboard instead to start to prep it for paint. Color wise, I have a suburban neighbor who has a great light blue-green color on her porch ceiling:


And now my mom is converted to the idea. For her porch. You’ve seen it before in its winter configuration as a wood shed. Here it is now, ready for its stucco ceiling to get a color. And since she’s choosing it, I’m spared the agony of this one.


Funny, in the photo it already looks blue. Or green. Or something like that. But it’s white, and doing both at once will save paint.

So everyone, here’s your second chance to help me agonize. Should I go with something safe, like a taupe or grey, or should I let loose? One caviat is, I’m not doing the stucco yet, but if I make the stucco white, I think I’ll get the patio door clad (unchangeably) in a dark color on the outside for contrast. And to hide smudges. But the vinyl and aluminum cladding are forever. I think I’m too young for this kind of commitment!


11 thoughts on “Siding Post 5: Painting has started but I still haven’t picked out all the colors

  1. infinitequery

    Chad the house looks great, you have gone from a Zombie house to be able to yell “its alive-its alive. Don’t yell that out a window………they might come and take you away! But I would grab that contractor and demand/suggest that he make that caulk look neater! a lot neater.. ask him how he would like that on his house? And I am sure you are aware that lumpy obvious caulk still looks lumpy and obvious under a coat of paint -caulk should be smoothed to surface level while it is still moist. I’m sure you knew that-so excuse the input. Gosh you are making terrific progress-what will you do with yourself when its all finished and gorgeous? Nap maybe!


  2. Jennifer Vanderbeek (@scrapsoflife)

    I wasn’t too crazy about some of our contractor’s flashing/fascia work either but I’m just so ready to be done with them that I’ll live with it. Isn’t that sad?! I think they do that on purpose, though, be it taking so long or being so tiresome that we just want them gone!


  3. Meg

    That awful caulk would drive me nuts after all the work you’ve put into getting the bay perfect. As for the fan, I doubt much moisture could get to the motor, so use the indoor fan, but buy the exterior fan blades (have you seen what the particle board indoor blades do when outside lol???).


    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      That’s a good idea! 25 bucks! I’ll also need a globe. The ceiling fan was in the room with the low ceiling so they just took the globe off and used it with a bare bulb. Fail. But that was like the least obnoxious of all their fails.


  4. Jo

    That caulking looks like something I would have done (NOT GOOD) which is why I don’t caulk. Complain, get some money back, hire a really neat caulker. I’m thinking if this guy could caulk neatly he would have done so in the first place.
    Now to the colors. Go crazy. Since, as you say, the light will reflect into the house from the stucco be sure it’s a cheery color you can live with, probably something light and warm but not white which, I think, would look dingy before too long. Paint the clapboard in a medium tone of some color that goes with the stucco and aqua porch ceiling. Get thee to a paint store where they have color schemes worked out and find one you like then stay in that range. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music


    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      Yeah I’m thinking I can treat the siding as an “accent” color like what would go on shutters of a more typical house. And for the fascia, I’ve gotta talk it over with my dad and neighbor, but I have an idea. If it’s any good I’ll write about it next week.


  5. Alex Dent

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think that aluminum clad fascia should have any caulking. From my point-of-view, way over here, he’s covering up poor workmanship with all that messy caulking. As far as the color for the house, I think I’d do both stucco and clapboards in the same color, but you’re the best judge of what color would be best for you. I will suggest that a natural color, like earthtones, browns, grays or greens should work well, even in light colors, just don’t go too pastel, get something that is tempered with gray, like a grayish tan or a grayish green or even… a gray. I will also tell you my secret for painting windows around glass, get yourself a flat artist’s brush about 1/2″ wide and put some paint into a small container like a yogurt cup or a small margarine tub and then just take your time, but you’ll be amazed at how much faster it goes and how much easier it is to control where the paint goes.



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