Updated: Jul 18
The family and I have always loved the modern rustic style and we are getting ready to make the move to a more rural area. While exploring home design options I keep seeing black exterior houses popping up. This seems like a bold move so we had to do a bit of research first before we made a big decision like this.
So, what are the pros and cons of a modern black house? In general, the pros are a trendy yet classic look, a modern rustic style, and it highlights its surroundings. The cons of a modern black house are basically the heat and your region, the upkeep, and the longevity.
There are really plusses and minuses to each of these main issues so I will take you deeper through the pros and cons as well as try to answer many of the questions that I know we had going into it.
The Pros of a Modern Black House:
· A Trendy Yet Classy Look
Plain and simple, black is really a clean and beautiful color. It is traditionally not a choice of color for a house, at least in North America, so by default it has a contemporary and fresh feeling about it.
black exterior – sho sugi ban
In Japan, where my wife is from, traditional farmhouses and other buildings used a burnt cedar siding, called shou sugi ban, because traditionally this prevented rot and fires. So they have both a traditional image and many contemporary examples of black houses and buildings. Which is another reason we are intrigued buy things that are different to us and we start feel they are contemporary when we start to see that style here too because it is new to us.
We were worried that black was too bold of a color for a house, but in reality it is still a solid color that is actually pretty neutral. Think of clothes, black goes with just about everything. Now take a hot pink, which is a house color that would really make a statement. A solid black, whether matte black or a glossier look, is going to compliment other colors surrounding it or work nicely with a different color trim.
· Black Houses Highlight Their Surroundings
After looking through so many photos of black houses around the world we came to the realization that a black house looks best with the right surrounding scenery. If you have some land and you nestle the house in the woods this can highlight all of the different green colors of the forest. If you happen to have a house with a view or on top of a mountain or hillside this can stand out but still fit the landscape beautifully in an artistic way.
yakisugi black siding
It could be difficult to pull this style off on an average North American suburban street, where often one architect and builder have developed the whole street similarly with roughly the same color patterns. However, it may not be an issue if there were trees around to break up the monotony of a street like that.
In the city or suburban area though, you may want to have a brighter accent color to try to steer clear of creating a spooky image. You may also have part of your house a brick or natural wood that the black could highlight as well. Mixing different textures and materials together is great with a solid black color because it can compliment many different styles even though it may seem contradictory.
The Cons of a Modern Black House:
· Do Black Houses Get Hotter?
The heat can be considered a con in many modern black house situations. The color black absorbs more heat than a white house would, just like how solar panels are usually a black or charcoal color. A lighter color house will reflect the sun’s rays and keep the overall temperature inside a bit cooler.
One thing to take into consideration is if this is going to be a con in your particular situation. Does your house have any natural trees breaking up the sun on the house? If you have a partially shaded home, especially something that shades from that midday sun, this may not really affect the temperature. And modern paints are better made and can withstand the heat better than paint in the past.
· The Longevity
Which leads us to the next negative aspect of a black exterior, you probably will not get the same longevity out of the color as compared to a lighter color. Again this depends on how much direct sun the home is getting and for how long. Your region will also play a role in longevity as well. A home in Arizona that can get sun all year round beating down on it will hold up very differently than a house in the northeast or a snowy Nordic area.
Does Black Exterior Paint Fade?
The sun can not only fade a color but can also cause blistering and chipping more easily, which will look very noticeable if not taken care of quickly. Because the color black absorbs the heat and then cools down, it is expanding and contracting more than a lighter color house, which can cause blistering.
· The Upkeep
There may be more upkeep with a solid color black because every small blemish actually sticks out more. So if paint chips or repairs are needed it is more noticeable. So after weighing the positives and negatives of making the decision to go with a modern black house exterior we decided to take the leap and go with a solid matte black finish. One of the main reasons for us was that our new house is set in the woods and we have large cedars nearby that provide enough shade all year round.
Another reason is that the garden in front can be simple and the house provides a beautiful backdrop to highlight trees like a Japanese maple. So nature has really become an essential part of the house. That blending of contemporary and natural is the modern rustic look we were going for.
yakisugi black siding
Related Questions We Had: What are the Exterior Siding Options for a Black House?
The easiest thing to do is paint your existing house a black color. We’ve discussed some of the pros and cons with painting a house, such as a fading color or blistering. If you decide to paint, make sure that the area is completely dry. If there is any water on the surface this will cause blistering and flaking later. You can also use a traditional Japanese method of burning cedar, or any variety of wood really, which will give you varying degrees of blackness. This will prevent erosion and somewhat fireproof the wood. Check out the Complete Guide to Yaki-Sugi here.
Metal siding is also an option. Metal roofing and siding has become more popular lately and you get them in various shades of black. Depending on the look you are going for, you can get a cool matte black finish or something glossy that adds some shine to it. Metal siding may cost a little bit more up front, but is extremely durable and will last a lifetime.
You can also look into a black vinyl siding for a cheaper option. Vinyl is going to be the most inexpensive but I am not sure how it will last overtime. That being said, vinyl siding technology has come a long way even looking at a vertical style of siding may also give you more of a modern look to it.
Is Painting Brick a Good Idea?
Painting brick can be a good idea under the right circumstances. Ideally, the brick should not be molding or deteriorating in any way. This type of aged brick will not hold the paint very long at all. It is a good idea if you have a solid brick wall that you want give a fresh new look too. I have had great success with painting the exterior of a 30-year-old brick building a sleek solid black. I would advise using a good quality paint and primer though.
Is Painted Brick Hard To Maintain?
Painted brick is not hard to maintain if it was applied correctly in the first place. Some people have said that you will need to repaint ever 3-5 years, but in our case we are going on 7 years without having to repaint at all. I did patch a few small areas that had chipped off but they are not noticeable now.
If you would like to hear more about our experiences and what we’ve learned about developing a modern rustic lifestyle please visit us at ShizenStyle.