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.
I wrote this article in April 2020 and it is all still relevant today. However, Colorbond has announced in late August 2022 that they have a new white – Dover White. This is a lovely crisp white which I would now often recommend for fascias and downpipes.
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. (NOTE – AS OF AUGUST 2022 YOU NOW HAVE THE OPTION TO USE DOVER WHITE FROM COLORBOND WHICH IS A CRISP WHITE)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.