Pole Buildings: Colorize it!

If we are going out for an evening on the town, my wife won’t let me pick the clothes I am going to wear.  While I am sure it has something to do with my inability to match colors, even I sometimes wonder about colors people choose for their pole buildings.

Several years ago we had a customer pick their pole building colors and to our absolute horror, they chose Evergreen walls, Brick Red roof and White trim! Everyone in the office who looked at this questioned the sanity of their choice. The consensus was…it would look great at Christmas, but what about the other 11 months of the year?

Turns out – everyone was wrong – except the customer.  The building looked great!  It looked clean and sharp with all the contrasts, and surprisingly, no one started singing “Jingle Bells” when they saw it. Obviously the customer knew far better than we did.

Color choices can be a difficult decision.  Do you try to match or complement colors of other buildings?  If this is your first building on the building site, do you pick out bright colors so the building makes a statement, or soft “blending in” colors so whatever else you choose, it won’t look like you plucked these randomly from a color chart?

Even though I don’t claim to be an expert, and would never, ever help you choose your colors, there are a few things I’ve learned over the years.

Trying to “match” pole building colors against another existing structure is nearly impossible. By the way, I’m talking about colors for all types of siding and roofing materials.  Since color pigment bases fade at different rates, what starts off as a close “match” may not end up close in a few years.  When I added on a dormer type closet to our house with steel siding and roofing a few years ago, my wife asked me why I chose a “totally different shade of blue” for the roofing.  She gave me one of those wifely “uh huh!” looks when I calmly told her I bought the “exact same” color we always had, but it was 15 years after the original steel roof had been installed.

We live by the lake, and the sun/winds and water effect are harsh on our roofing and siding.  The blue still looks great…just not the same exact “shade” as was originally put on the house.  You would never notice it had faded, unless you put on a few sheets of all new roofing – in supposedly the “same” color.  It was just this past summer (and 5 years of fading) I smugly pointed out to my bride how “see, honey how the roofing all matches now.”  I think she mumbled something about “lucky for you”!

Speaking of sun/water effects – keep this in mind in picking out the darker colors.  If you don’t mind a little fading, this is not a problem.  But darker colors also love the sun, so will make it warmer inside your building.  My wife insisted on a black roof for our huge accessory building, which I have to admit looks awesome against the white walls with black trims to set off windows and doors. I offset the sun-loving color of black with super-duper insulation and good venting/cooling.  It all worked out just fine.  And the extra insulation actually cut down on our heating costs in the winter.

So back to trying to “match” colors – you have two solutions.

The first is to do a “switch”.  Use a color close to the existing buildings trim color for the body of the new building and the existing “body” color for the trim.  This takes away from noticing a few differences in color shade.  We get a lot of folks who do this switch and it seems to tie all the buildings together. We had a customer who had painted lap siding on their house, but “switched” placement for steel roofing & siding colors which were “close” on their garage.  We had to look hard to tell they are not an almost perfect match.

The second choice is to just not try to match at all.  Choose colors which “complement” – (i.e. -look good together), and you end up looking like a professional design and color artist!

Check out the Paint a Building feature on our website to play around with color combinations.   You can click on the paint can on our website homepage, or click here to play with colors:


Have fun picking colors and if you call to ask my advice on pole building colors, I’ll gladly hand the phone to my wife!

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