Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

September, 2006

Color of Light Poles

Q: I have been seeing this reddish brown color appear all over the country, most notably on large utility poles. Is this most likely a brown from the Federal Standards 595b color deck? How can I find an exact match?

A:  In all probability you are referring to red oxide pigment which is used on exterior surfaces because it is inexpensive and because of its excellent resistance to sunlight.  Unfortunately, there is no single source of red oxide pigments, and therefore their color will change depending on the pigment supplier. To complicate matters paints are usually formulated with a combination of other colored pigments.  In other words, no two red oxide paints are identical in color.  Here are two suggestions; find a color that you like, speak to your paint vendor and determine if he can make that color. The second suggestion is that since red oxide is an inexpensive pigment, you might want to ask your paint vendor to select a color from the Fed Std 595b series that he can make, and that uses a high concentration of this pigment.

Best wishes,

Ron Joseph

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