by Bevin Theodore
When you’re swiping through beautiful houses online, it won’t be long before you come across a house with siding that’s dark, or even black.
This exterior style has been on the rise for several years, thanks to early adopters who tried it out and posted their photos to social media. Now it’s attracting lots of attention.
To be clear, white and lighter exteriors are still the preferred choice for most homeowners. However, some are using the bolder exterior option to differentiate classic residential architecture styles – a fact that was called out in the 2021 design forecast.
“People are doing it all the time now. But very few would step outside of the lighter color palettes until they saw dark siding on an actual house,” said Dave Depencier, owner of a custom design/build firm in Dresden, Ontario.
Dark Siding Inches Mainstream
In March 2017, Depencier had the vision to use dark, prefinished James Hardie® siding on a large, custom build. At the time, he was planning the design and wanted an elegant color scheme to set the house apart from others.
Working closely with his James Hardie representative, they pitched the idea of a dark, high-contrast exterior color scheme to his client. The key to the project was piecing the idea together in a way that didn’t feel intimidating to the homeowner.
“We laid it out on the table and said this is what we think is going to steal the show for this house,” he said. “They were a little scared at first, but by the time the meeting was done, they said, ‘let’s do it!’ Now that it’s finished, it obviously speaks for itself.”
Selling the concept of dark siding is easier now that he has a beautiful, real-life example to showcase.
“People don’t consider it as a possibility and I don’t even think it’s on their radar, until they physically see it. Once they do many people say, ‘Wow, that’s what I want,’” Depencier said. “And that’s how the trend builds.”
Deliberate Use of a High-Contrast Exterior
For the exterior, Depencier used HardiePlank® lap siding in Black Water, a Dream Collection™ productthat’s a deep charcoal color. He accented the gables and dormers with straight-edge HardieShingle® siding, and HardieTrim® boards for corners and windows, all in Arctic White.
The contrasting accents helped to break up the large fields of a single color, which worked well for this particular project because of its size. Depencier said he’s not afraid to use all dark siding on a project and not every home needs two-tone contrast. Sometimes combining dark siding and trim can create a monochromatic look that is visually appealing. And other times, dark siding can be a surprising accent on what would be an otherwise all-white home.
“Each house is totally different,” Depencier said. “Had it been more cottage roofs, I would have gone all in with the dark black everywhere. But it’s just project specific.”
Standout Style That’s Low Maintenance
From the beginning of the project, Depencier said his clients knew they wanted James Hardie siding. He said it’s a smart choice for home exteriors because of its design possibilities and long-term performance.
“I’m a big believer in Hardie,” Depencier said. “The product has so much versatility and there’s just no comparison.”
A common question about dark siding is around fading, which may be due to historical performance of other exterior materials with colors like these.
“I personally haven’t seen drastic fading from James Hardie products,” Depencier said. “I’ve seen a lot of wood products that mimic Hardie that really fade quickly, and peel. One of my favorite things about Hardie is that it’s very durable.”
It’s this ideal combination of design and performance that’s appealing to homeowners and building professionals. Discover the endless possibilities of James Hardie products by exploring our range of fiber cement home exterior solutions, our complete prefinished color lineup, and how our siding stands up to time and weather.