Residential Selling: Consider Color, Contractors!

Mina Starsiak (left) and Karen E. Laine started their own company, Two Chicks and a Hammer, to tackle home restoration projects. The duo currently stars in the HGTV series “Good Bones.” Photo: Two Chicks and a Hammer.

Mina Starsiak (left) and Karen E. Laine started their own company, Two Chicks and a Hammer, to tackle home restoration projects. The duo currently stars in the HGTV series “Good Bones.” Photo: Two Chicks and a Hammer.

“You can be a more profitable, more well-liked contractor if you talk to your clients about color.”

Those are the words of Karen E. Laine, the mother half of the mother-daughter team who started second careers rehabbing houses in their neighborhood near downtown Indianapolis. Laine and her daughter, Mina Starsiak, discovered they had a passion for home restoration and started their own company named Two Chicks and a Hammer. Laine and Starsiak also currently star in the HGTV series “Good Bones,” which chronicles their projects repairing and rehabbing houses. They shared their insights on exterior design and the importance of roof color with Roofing.

Laine and Starsiak note that people have strong emotional connections to color. They often use color to express their personality in both the interior and the exterior of the house. Since the roof is such a prominent exterior component, figuring out how it plays into the home’s color palette is crucial.

Residential roofing contractors can set themselves apart from the competition if they can help homeowners find the right color combination for their home, notes Laine. “If a contactor can say, ‘I see you have a yellow house and a bright red door. I have some roof choices that will go well with that, and allow you to make changes over time,’ your clients are going to think you are a genius.”

Karen E. Laine and Mina Starsiak believe since the roof is such a prominent exterior component, figuring out how it plays into the home’s color palette is crucial. Their home in the Indianapolis area is shown here. Photo: Owens Corning.

Karen E. Laine and Mina Starsiak believe figuring out how the roof plays into the home’s color palette is crucial. Their home in the Indianapolis area is shown here. Photo: Owens Corning.

Laine urges contractors to make the most of expanded color choices in shingles available today. “If you are contractor, carry samples with you, walk outside the house and show them how the shingle is going to enhance the exterior appearance and the color of the house,” she says. “Because it’s not just one-dimensional color; shingles are multi-dimensional. Some of them have red, and brown, and yellow. Some have blue and brown and yellow. Looked at from a distance, you might not see those distinct colors, but they inform the color spectrum of the roof and how it looks with the house.”

She also recommends using a paint fan to help determine colors for other elements of the home. “There are usually six colors on each blade of a paint fan,” says Laine. “The top one is the lightest and the bottom one is the darkest. If you’re not secure in your color choices, you can just pick the medium color in the paint fan for your siding, the darkest color in the paint fan for your door, and the lightest color for your trim. Then you are guaranteed that they are all going to coordinate, and you’re not going to have something in the end that clashes.”

Others might want to consider contrasting colors. “If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, then pick out a different color for the door,” says Laine. “For each homeowner, it’s a very individual opportunity to be creative and see how color feels to you. And the great thing about the colored roofs out there is because of the way they are made, they complement a wide variety of color combinations on a house.”

Taking the time to explore different roof colors gives the contractor the opportunity to connect with the customer and build trust. Starsiak recommends that contractors take advantage of online tools that can be customized to demonstrate the ways different colored shingles will look on the house. “You can scan in a picture of your house and see how different paint colors and roof colors would look in just a few minutes,” Starsiak says. “If you were thinking of painting your house a different color, you can see which roof would go with it. There are online tools for everything now.”

The right color combination can also make a home easier to sell when the time comes. “From a real estate perspective, there are a lot of things that go into the first impression of the outside of the house, including the siding and the landscaping or lack thereof,” notes Starsiak. “A huge part of that initial impression is the roof, so you don’t want to miss that opportunity.”

Laine agrees. “A prettier house is going to be easier to sell, and the dimension that a colored roof adds to a house makes it prettier,” Laine says. “Aesthetics are important. You have to consider color, all you contractors out there. Look at all that alliteration—consider color, contractors! That’s your title, right there. I’ll give you that for free—it’s not trademarked.”

Karen E. Laine (left) and Mina Starsiak were on hand at the 2017 International Roofing Expo to offer design advice to show attendees. Photo: Chris King.

Karen E. Laine (left) and Mina Starsiak were on hand at the Owens Corning booth during the 2017 International Roofing Expo to offer design advice to show attendees. Photo: Chris King.

About Chris King

Chris King is the editor in chief of Roofing magazine. He has covered the construction industry for 18 years, previously serving as editor of Roofing Contractor, managing editor of the Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News, and associate editor of Plumbing & Mechanical. He can be reached by email at chris@roofingmagazine.com.

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