In the selection of colors, one must not only consult personal taste, but, if living in a city houses a single discordant note somewhere in the middle of the block that jars on one's nerves because the color is glaringly out of key. In such a case one almost longs for the French rule or town, one must regard the surrounding houses. How many times we see in a row of city which requires every property owner to submit all proposed changes in color or form of his house to the proper official, who passes upon them from an artistic standpoint and refuses to permit anything which he deems would tend to introduce a discord into the general effect of the street. Unfortunately, we carry our personal liberty a little too far when we plan the outside of our house, both as to form and color, entirely without any consideration of the effect it may have upon the neighborhood as a whole.
The present taste in house painting runs toward simplicity rather than toward elaborate color combinations. The entire body of the house is painted in one color, including all gables, projections, and the like; and the trimmings are in either a contrasting or a harmonious color, the sash being the same as the trimming color or else in black or some dark color. Where white trim mings are used, the sash are frequently white, with the putty cut in in black; and outside blinds are either the same as the body of the house or some darker color, particularly a shade of dark green or olive.
As a rule, light colors are preferred for ex teriors, but this is a matter of choice and there is no regular standard of colors. In houses of the more picturesque types, such as the stone and shingle houses, the trimmings are generally painted white or some light color, and the shin gles are stained either in a soft brown or dull red, a moss green, or a silver gray. From the artistic standpoint, shingles should be stained in preference to being painted; and for practical reasons this process is more satisfactory, because paint is apt to form little dams between the shin gles, and hold the rain back in such a manner that it rots the wood.
Where the mouldings are delicate in their de tail, as in the Colonial and similar styles of Clas sic derivation, the trimming color should be light in order to bring out the beauty of the architec tural detail.
Materials for Outside Painting. The man who does not understand the mixing of colors will naturally employ mixed paints on account of the saving in labor which they afford to him. Now, there are many really satisfactory mixed paints on the market, but, on the other hand, as already explained, there is much stuff sold as paint which is not worthy of the name and which is composed of a large percentage of practically worthless pigment, a small quantity of zinc white, and coloring matter of an inferior grade, mixed with a poor quality of linseed oil or rosin oil and benzine or even water. A good mixed
paint should be composed, in the main, of white lead, zinc white, and the necessary coloring mat ter, thinned with pure raw linseed oil of good quality, with the addition of such pure turpen tine and dryers as may be necessary. The best quality mixed paints always bear the name of some reputable paint manufacturer. The best thing to do, in selecting a mixed paint, is to look carefully at houses that have been painted with it for several years, and note whether the paint is scaling off in blotches or is cracking and peeling badly. If a paint has been found to give good service, it is then safe to use it.
Some mixed paint manufacturers make spe cial paint for priming. This is often an inferior grade of ocher, which is objectionable because it has a tendency to throw off the subsequent coats of paint. While the regular mixed paints may be used for a priming coat on new wood by adding from one-half to an equal volume of pure raw linseed oil, as a rule it would be very much better to prime with pure white lead and linseed oil, using the mixed paint on the second and third coats. If the mixed paint is found to be too thick, pure raw linseed oil should be used for priming. Boiled oil should not be used.
Pure white lead can be readily used for the priming coat, as it needs no special knowledge of color mixing to prepare it. For 100 pounds of white lead in oil, it would be necessary to use four gallons of raw linseed oil, half a gallon of pure turpentine, and one pint best liquid dryers to thin it. A 25-pound keg would require one fourth of these quantities, and would make about two and one-half gallons of paint. In breaking up and thinning down the lead, it should first be put into a keg or tub large enough to contain the lead and all the thinners. The dryers should be mixed in with the oil, and the oil added grad ually to the lead paste, stirring and working it up thoroughly by means of a wooden paddle. After the lead and oil have been thoroughly in corporated, the turpentine should be added. The addition of a very little lampblack in oil, say not over a half to one pound to 100 pounds of white lead, will tint the priming a light lead color and aid in covering up any discolorations in the wood due to sap or weather stains. After the lead and oil have been mixed as above directed, the paint should be strained through a fine wire sieve to remove any skins or lumps. The paint should be mixed the day before using, if pos sible; and should the house be a large one, re quiring a good deal of paint, it is well to mix only half the quantity required. This will avoid any loss from the paint skinning over if bad weather comes up to delay the work when it is partly completed.