Blanco County News
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Local Historic Paint Colors for Buildings & Homes
Wednesday, December 29, 2010 • Posted December 28, 2010

The secret of successful painting and choosing the right colors is preparation, preparation, and preparation — the three P’s. Coordinating the exteriors colors can be confusing to many.

If you’re planning to paint an historic home you should consider historically accurate color scheme. You can hire a pro-painter to analyze old paint chips and recreate the original color. It would be best to select shades that might have been used at the time your home was built.

Many of today’s suppliers and manufacturers of historic paint colors have created accurate colors, based on samples from various eras.

Most historic homes will use a palette with at least two-three colors; one for the siding, trim, and the accents. But, with many historic commercial buildings it may just one palette and a few accents colors.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation (tinyurl.com/yj2u34l) worked extensively with Valspar® paints to develop a palette of 250 colors found on historic buildings in the USA. The National Trust for Historic Preservation colors can be purchased at many home improvement stores. You can view paint color charts online using this link: tinyurl.com/yj2u34l to The National Trust for Historic Preservation page.

Did you know that your home or property does not have to be listed on any local, State or National Register of Historic Places? It must only be 50 years old or older to be an historic home.

Have you ever noticed Lyndon Johnson’s boyhood home in Johnson City that the ceiling’s porch is a sky blue color? The local staff at the National Park Service will tell you that it’s common in the south and that it helps keep bugs away. This Folk Victorian house has only two exterior colors plus the ceiling color.

Here’s a little history on this “gem.” According to www.nps.gov it was built in 1901 by W.C. Russell, sheriff of Blanco County. In 1913, Sam Ealy Johnson, Jr. paid $2,925 for the house and the surrounding 1.75 acres.

During the presidential years, the home was used as a community center and public tours were offered. In December of 1969, Congress designated this home as part of Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Site. The National Park Service has restored the home to its appearance during the mid-1920s, the teenage years of Lyndon B. Johnson.

Here in Blanco the base colors of historic buildings district have been soft muted shades, of greens, blues, whites (Blanco), and tans. Paint colors should be compatible with the surrounding in character with the district.

As the local preservation ordinance becomes a part of the design guidelines the base colors such as vibrant or “hot” shades, dark deep shades, and black shades will not acceptable. If one wishes to use these colors, a certificate of appropriateness must be granted in advance of paint application.

The painting of existing historic buildings composed of materials such as unpainted stone or unpainted masonry will be prohibited.

Are you ready to paint your home? First, did you know that back on April 22nd EPA mandates the new lead dust paint law that affects home repairs, known as RRP for ‘renovation, repair and painting. All contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.

Though the homeowner can handle minor lead abatement and encapsulation procedures with safety, there is a time for professional help.

If you have a significant lead problem in your home or are planning a major renovation project, you should not attempt to do the work yourself. Look for a contractor that has employees and/or staff that are trained and certified. Plus, the firm also must be a ‘lead-safe certified firm’ by EPA. For more information log onto: www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm.

If you keep these things in mind, then hopefully you will be completely satisfied with the final result.

Like any major decision, the choice to hire a certified pro and choosing the correct colors involves many variables, and homeowners need to do their homework and weigh the options.

Whatever your decision, it’s important to use a certified contractor that’s right for you. We hope that this information has been educational and will help you in your investment. None of this is intended to be legal advice nor do we recommend any neither product nor service.

Rudy Nino is a member of the Blanco’s Historical Preservation Commission and an EPA certified contractor.

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