Low-maintenance living starts with the right exterior colour and material

The Team at Palliside 06 February 2018

Exterior Cladding


If it’s time to choose your cladding or paint the outside of your house, there are a few considerations to make first. The exterior style and house colour you choose can not only impact the overall look of your home, but its maintenance costs and overall longevity too.

Dark colours are hot—literally

Dark coloured exteriors are popular in New Zealand. However, they do attract and retain more heat than lighter shades and the excess heat they create can cause a number of issues that homeowners need to be aware of.

Heat transfer

During the day, your home will absorb heat from the sun. A number of factors determine how much heat is absorbed: the design of the home, materials used, orientation to the sun, and paint colour. When your home exterior heats up, heat is absorbed through the external envelope and is transferred inside. Apart from a very hot house, there’s also the effect of UV exposure on your cladding to think about too.

In extreme situations, thermal expansion—the expansion and contraction of materials in the heat—can have a serious impact on some types of material, such as timber weatherboards. In the worst cases it can lead to warping, cracking and premature failure, which impacts the durability of the cladding.

Peeling and flaking  

In the case of painted weatherboards, the paint may also peel and flake as the timber expands and contracts in the heat. Again, the darker the paint, the more the timber will expand, which increases the chance of this occurring—along with the likelihood of having to undertake maintenance to repair it.

UV damage

Most weatherboards will suffer from colour fade after lengthy UV exposure, particularly darker colours. The coating system needs to be regularly maintained to ensure the integrity of the substrate. 

For a complete review of the different weatherboard materials—and to discover which is best suited to your situation—refer to our free weatherboard cladding performance matrix.

Tip: Want weatherboard without maintenance?

Non-timber alternatives, such as Palliside uPVC weatherboard, can provide the popular, traditional weatherboard look without the risks associated with timber. Palliside is UV resistant and never needs painting or staining. What’s more, it is virtually maintenance free.


Related reading: Different weatherboard cladding materials compared


Don’t rule out dark exteriors just yet

While dark exteriors can cause problems, the good news is that there are a few ways to mitigate the risk.


If you’re set on a home with a Dark Side, new CoolColour technology from Resene improves the solar reflectance of dark paint to reduce the amount of heat it absorbs. However, at the end of the day, it is still a paint and eventually the exterior will need to be repainted about every ten years to keep your home in good condition.

Fight the fade: According to Resene, shades based on iron oxides, also known as earth colours, are more colourfast than their brighter yellow, orange and red counterparts.

Mixed materials

Still want to use dark colours? A second alternative that will help avoid heat stress on your exterior substrate is to mix light and dark shades through a combination of different cladding materials. Your choices are almost limitless too, from weatherboard and stone and weatherboard and honed block to various combinations of brick, glass and steel.

Moreover, mixed-material cladding lends itself particularly well to contemporary home designs and is favoured by some architects as a means to breaking up large walls and creating interest in their designs.

Tip: Palliside pairs well with other cladding materials

Palliside, uPVC weatherboard is not only resistant to UV, it never needs painting and comes in a range of contemporary light colours that complement darker cladding materials, which may require a lot more maintenance. This juxtaposition of materials has enhanced the design of homes and gives homeowners the option of using contrasting light and dark shades to create a unique exterior aesthetic.


The home above was designed by Peter Wynyard of Archimetrix. It combines Colorsteel roofing with Palliside uPVC weatherboards to give the home a strong architectural presence, made all the more dramatic by the contrasting shades of charcoal and white.


The growing preference for mixed cladding

Mixed-material cladding is popular in New Zealand, and is widely favoured in new and developing suburbs. In large residential development projects where whole suburbs of homes are being built en-masse—Hobsonville Point, Long Bay and Newlands for example—mixed-material cladding is encouraged as a means to generate a diverse, yet modern suburb full of contrast and texture.

Some design guidelines, such as Long Bay’s, actually discourage homeowners from cladding their home entirely in one material to avoid creating monotone houses that detract from the overall aesthetics and charm of the suburb.

Cladding manufacturers have embraced mixed cladding too. With weatherboard being New Zealand’s perennial favourite cladding, the manufacturer of Palliside uPVC weatherboard, have designed their products to make them easy to incorporate into mixed material designs.

Family thrilled with their mixed cladding choice

With feature sections of schist stone on their chimney and garage, Auckland couple Paul and Anita, opted for Palliside’s traditional weatherboard profile in a slate colour. Incorporating Palliside into a mixed-material palette was a simple process.

“The house looks good and it [Palliside] is designed so that it’s easy to use with other claddings,” says Paul.


In summary, having a mix of dark and light shades on your home’s exterior not only helps minimise your home’s overall heat absorption, but it’s also become quite a popular trend that many building designers are onboard with. All that’s left is to pick the materials that fit your budget and the overall look you want to achieve.

For more low-maintenance living tips and advice, download our free guide: Maintain your lifestyle, not your house. 


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