Here at Archadeck of Central SC, we are asked about this porch finish feature quite a bit. Believe it or not, the tradition behind the blue porch ceiling is more than just a pretty face. The practice of painting the ceiling of a porch blue is steeped in history, folklore and function.
Referred to as “Haint Blue,” blue porch ceilings began in the American south. They were first seen on porches during the early 19th century. The origins of blue ceilings stemmed from the folklore of the Gullah people (a.k.a. Geechee). The Gullah culture believed that ghosts – known as “haints” (pronounced “haunts” in the Gullah dialect) – could not cross water. The blue was used to ward off evil spirits because the hue closely resembles that of water. Not only were the ceilings painted blue, the doors, window frames and shutters were often painted in the same haint blue shade as well.
Blue porch ceilings also appeared in the American northwest, in particular, where the Aurora Colony, a Christian commune, was founded in 1856. They were also prevalent on east coast colonial and Victorian homes from Philadelphia all the way to Boston. This trend, which began in superstition, caught on and is now used all over the country.
Along with superstitious influences, the functionality factor of the blue porch ceiling is based on enjoying a bug-free outdoor environment. Historically, some believed that painting the ceiling of your porch blue thwarted birds and bees from building their nests near the ceiling. It was believed the color tricked the intruding insects or birds into thinking they had actually reached the sky. According to an article from paint giant Sherwin Williams, most credible sources discredit this belief. However, it could be seated in historical truth.
When the use of blue paints began on porch ceilings, they were usually milk paints. Milk paints often had lye mixed into the composition. Lye is a known insect repellent, so this would explain why insects and avians would avoid nesting on the ledge of a painted porch ceiling. As milk paint has a tendency to fade over time, the painted areas would need to be repainted every year or two. This would entail an application with a new coat of paint and fresh lye … thus refreshing the insect-repelling barrier the paint provided.
Along with ensuring your porch doesn’t end up as a haven for bugs and birds, blue is a tranquil color. This peaceful hue is said to reduce stress and create a sense of calm and order. These attributes make it the perfect color for living the porch lifestyle.
Many Columbia, SC, homeowners choose to paint their porch ceilings blue simply because of the way it makes a space look and feel. We even see the trend carrying over to ceilings of screened porches and 3-season rooms. It just makes sense to paint an area intended for relaxation blue, wouldn’t you agree?
As your trusted local porch builder, Archadeck offers a wide menu of porch interior and exterior finish options. Whether you are considering a new front porch, back porch, screened porch or porch update, we can help you choose the best materials and color scheme for your needs and tastes.