Using Surfmist as a Trim Colour

Selecting colours for an exterior scheme can be tricky, mainly due to people not getting the tone quite right.   Colours perform so differently outside to inside and we often don't take into account quite how much impact the sun has on an exterior colour palette.  Colorbond Surfmist sometimes gets a bad rap however, let me show you why using Surfmist as a trim colour can be a good idea.

How Surfmist fits into the Colorbond range

Surfmist is in the high reflective range of the Colorbond colours.  You certainly wouldn't want to go lighter than this for a roof.  In fact many local councils won't even allow Surfmist as they say it produces too much reflective glare for neighboring properties.

I do understand though when people want to use Colorbond for their gutters and facias but also want a very crisp white trim.  I would never recommend having gutters any lighter than Surfmist as they simply become too grubby too quickly.  However, if you do want a crisper white for the facia, you can consider using powdercoated metal or a classic timber board that can be painted.

Before going to these lengths though, I think that you should look at the main colour of your house to see whether Surfmist suits as a trim colour for your home.

Using Colorbond Surfmist as a white trim

The house above has Colorbond Surfmist facia, posts, windows and balustrades.

Which colours to use Surfmist with

A current trend, particularly for coastal homes, is to use a white on the weatherboards.  I always recommend using a white that has some depth so that the house doesn't look too dirty too soon.  I prefer a less reflective white for weatherboards and render too.

This means that if you want some contrast for your trim that you need to use a crisp white.  I've written a lot about this in Why I like a crisp white trim.

However, if you are using a darker colour on your house – not a pale grey or white – then it makes sense to consider using Surfmist for all the trim.  You often only see the underlying colour in a white or grey when you place it next to another white or grey.  Therefore if you have a lighter tone and you want to highlight the contrast you would have to use a crisp white trim.  But if you have a darker tone, you can get away with using Surfmist as the contrast is such that it will end up looking white.

Using Surfmist as a white trim

The above house has Surfmist facias, posts, windows and balustrades with a slightly darker garage door in Colorbond Windspray.

The benefits to using Surfmist as a trim colour

If you do have a light wall with a crisp white trim you should consider using a lighter white garage door which some manufacturers will make for you.  This is in response to the trend for lighter exteriors.  Generally though, I prefer either a little contrast with the garage or a Surfmist door because again this is a large expanse of metal which is very reflective and difficult to keep looking good.

The thing is though if you have a Surfmist garage door, this can be at odds with other white trim.  Therefore if you use Surfmist for all of your trim – balustrades, posts, facia etc. then the garage door will simply look white.

The same principles apply with whites indoors.  It is not until you introduce two whites into a room that you can see the underlying colour and amount of grey in each one of them.

I believe that using Surfmist can be a huge benefit as you have what looks to be a nice fresh white trim and garage but without the glare factor and the maintenance of crisp whites.

Using Surfmist as a trim colour

The house above has a Colorbond Surfmist roof, gutter and facia, windows, garage door and the posts and rafters painted to match.  To all intents and purposes, this looks like a fresh white because there isn't another white introduced into the scheme.

The house below has a Shale Grey roof and gutter with Surfmist facia, posts and balustrades.

Using Surfmist as a trim colour

Don't forget to consider the Colorbond finish

Colorbond Steel has now introduced a matt finish in some of their most popular colours, including Surfmist.  I am a fan of matt finishes and this would therefore be my choice.  I like the less reflective look, particularly for garage doors.  Matt finishes absorb more light and are therefore slightly darker than a satin or gloss finish which you need to bear in mind when you are specifying Colorbond on your house.  Always compare the two finishes to decide which look is right for you.

Surfmist windows

I just wanted to say one thing about powdercoated Surfmist coloured windows and doors.  I really like this colour from the outside and as explained above I think that the trim colours work well when they are all the same white.  Having said that, the windows and doors may be one area where you would want to use a fresher white.  Clearly, the powdercoated colour that you see outside is what you will have inside.  (Unless you pay a huge premium for a style of window that can have different colours).

Therefore before making any final decisions you must consider whether you like this colour for your interior decorating.  Outside, Surfmist looks just white.  However inside you can see the underlying grey.  I don't think this is a big issue but if you want a very white interior this may not suit your style.

Clearly if you are installing timber windows they can be painted different whites outside and inside.

Using Surfmist as a Trim Colour

I have lots more advice in my FREE Resource Library, including a comprehensive Exteriors checklist for you to use when planning your new home or renovation.  You can download it free here.

I also have an online colour consultation service.  With a range of packages to help you with your important colour decisions.  More information is here.

You may also be interested in my post on How to select roofs, gutters & facias and My guide to painting eaves

10 thoughts on “Using Surfmist as a Trim Colour

  1. Avatar
    Jan Jenkins-Smith says:

    Thank you so much for this post. We are building a farmhouse with a high pitched Basalt colorbond roof with 3 dormers in the front and 2 at the back. The house cladding will be himalayan teak sandstone (with a wide covered veranda all around the house). I’m struggling with the dormer colours. The windows and bi folding doors are all aluminium which looks like a jarrah coloured timber. These will be on the front of the dormers and I’m thinking Surfmist on the rest of the dormers, which is why I was so delighted to see your article just now. However I’m worried at having the gables and rest of dormers the same Surfmist colour as gables are usually a different colour to the rest of the dormer. So I’m thinking either Surfmist Gables and eaves with Shale Grey around the window and sides of dormer OR Surfmist Gables and eaves with Dune around the window and sides of dormer. Roof on top of dormers being Basalt. I would absolutely love to get your thoughts on this… should I do the two colours or just keep it all Surfmist…. ? Thanks so much, Jan

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Jan I had to read through your note a couple of times to try to visualise the house. My feeling is to just have Surfmist – I wouldn’t introduce Dune or Shale Grey as I don’t think this will work with the Basalt/Surfmist. It’s difficult to say without seeing the house – it sounds gorgeous. Samantha

  2. Avatar
    Monique says:

    Hi Samantha, love your blog! This article has been super useful. We have a ‘classic’ 70’s house with 2 brick colours of brown and orange. We’ve recently replaced the gutters and fascia and chose Woodland grey. We also have a new Surfmist balustrade. We’ll replace the windows with Surfmist as well. What we can’t decide on is a light to mid-tone grey or greige that will work with these colours – do you know the colour that has been used in the second photo – the one with the Windspray garage. Do you think that would work? Any other suggestions would be most appreciated…Thanks so much!

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Monique glad you are enjoying the blog! This house is painted in Dulux Maraetai Quarter on the render and Dulux Platinum Class for the weatherboards. The house is shaded in the image so will look much lighter in sunlight. The greys have a slight blue undertone but will work with Surfmist and Woodland Grey – Woodland Grey is one of those colours that everything seems to work with! Do try out large samples first though because all houses/aspect are different and what works on one doesn’t always translate. Good luck Samantha

  3. Avatar
    Angela Procter says:

    Hello Samantha

    We are really stuck on our house- we have just painted our front Wallaby. We have a black roof, gutters and fascia. The gables are a red ‘wood look’ and so is our roller door. We are considering Surfmist for the gables, gutters and fascia but are unsure if it will be to much as the Wallaby is quite dark. Any help would be great! Thanks so much

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Angela The Surfmist will provide a strong contrast but will also give the house a nice fresh lift. Perhaps if you are concerned it will be too much, you could keep the gutters in black to match the roof and then just have the facia and gables in Surfmist. Don’t forget to consider the windows and doors too as this may make a difference too. Hope this helps Samantha

  4. Avatar
    Kristie Whitehead says:

    Hi Samantha
    I am about to repaint a beach house cladding. We have to work with a colorbond windspray garage surround and fascia, then surfmist roof, gutters, garage door and downpipes.
    The current colour of the cladding is a mustard yellow!!
    I am thinking of a colour in-between the windspray and surfmist, maybe shale grey?? do you have any other suggestions? the house gets a lot of morning sun! I think the existing windows are just aluminium white frames.
    Thanks for any kind of help!!

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Kristie Shale Grey would certainly work with this colour scheme – it’s a classic coastal look. Good luck Samantha

  5. Avatar
    Giulia Pinto says:

    Hi Samantha,
    I love the colour scheme of the house in this page with the surfmist garage. I’d love to know the colour used to paint the weatherboard as it will suit my house project. Thank you very much!

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Giulia This colour is no longer available but you will get a similar effect with Dulux Beige Filter. Try a sample pot first though to check that you like the effect as it will look different in other locations. Good luck Samantha

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