Rusted Steel & Curb Appeal

In last week’s deck and garden update, I shared a few pictures with peeks at the CorTen steel siding that has now started to rust.


For those not familiar, CorTen is a steel alloy that develops an outer layer of rust patina, protecting from further corrosion. When purchased, the steel is gray with a slight sheen but as it is exposed to weather, it rusts, but only as a surface layer.


Snow, rain, and two rounds of spraying with a water/vinegar mixture has warmed it up, though the process isn’t perfectly even.  See how much darker the rust looks closer to the house roof?  Vinegar quickly starts the rusting process, and helps even out the color.


Right after install and before rusting, the front looked very monotone and boring.  We wanted a maintenance free material to contrast against the traditional painted lap siding and break up the long, simple rectangle.  When freshly installed, the steel looked like a shiny version of the gray painted lap siding.


The addition of plants, the start of our bedroom balcony, and weather, the front looks very different.  When fully rusted, it actually looks like stained wood board and batten from short distances.  Once up close, the mottled look is noticeable and proves it’s actually rusted steel.  Again, you can see where moisture naturally hits the siding versus the eaves and protected areas.  Another round of spraying is on my to do list soon.


Notice how similarly toned the stained beams and bench are to the rust?  After finishing the railing install and staining, our balcony will fit right in.



When sprayed, gravity comes into play and darkens the bottoms more.  I’m going to experiment with a rag to see if rubbing vinegar will even out the top sections-at least on the easy to reach parts.


The most evenly and thoroughly rusted side is the garage end.


A lack of overhang leaves the entire section open to water.  Note: even after fiddling with settings, some of the colors are a little off; the photo above is the most accurate color representation of the paint and steel.


The local supplier/manufacturer created custom edge trim to go over the painted frames to help prevent the steel from dripping on the white.


One area got a little more water and it has streaked the white on one side, but that’s nothing a quick coat of paint can’t fix.


So far, we’re 100% thrilled with the results and ease of care, and our neighbors seem pretty happy as well.  On several occasions, people have stopped to compliment the new look, which is nice to hear considering our house is part of their view.  Heck, they probably look at the exterior more often than we do!

16 thoughts on “Rusted Steel & Curb Appeal

    1. Hi Kristy!

      We definitely got a lot of questions before, but stuck with it and are really excited. Once it gets to the fully rusted stage, we think it’ll look even better.


  1. I’m not a fan. Cool concept but I see it turning off a ton buyers. I like the rest of the exterior though!

    1. Hey Kat!

      We know it’s more of a taste specific choice, but we don’t have plans to sell this house anytime soon so we’re making choices we want. Glad to hear you like the other stuff though. 🙂


  2. Wow! I have to say, I was not a fan of the concept originally, but wow! It looks way better than I expected it too! Good call Amanda! Thanks for sharing the progress 🙂

    1. Hello Esther!

      Ha, I know. Some people seemed really worried when we told them our plan. Luckily, we’re happy with the way it’s looking and it seems a larger portion of people fall on the like side than dislike. Thanks for asking for an update. Maybe it’ll rust even more in the nezt six months and I can give another update.


  3. hey Amanda,
    I’ve always loved these colors together, slate blue and rust orange (That’s what I’m going to call them anyway). It looks great.

    1. Hi Monica!

      I know my white balance is a little off due to the overcast day, but the painted siding is actually a dark gray with just a touch of blue undertone. At any rate, glad you like the combo-we do too. 🙂


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