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How to paint anything the color of the Golden Gate Bridge

Want to paint your home the same color as the Golden Gate Bridge?


I did, so I made a few calls, including one to the purchasing manager of the Golden Gate Bridge itself. Here's what I learned:


The official paint is called "Golden Gate Bridge International Orange" (of course), and it's manufactured by Sherwin Williams. Who knew? But there's a catch. It's a custom mix, and only sold in very large (ie: commercial) quantities. Need 500 gallons? You're in luck. Want less? Don't panic.


After visiting a Sherwin-Williams dealer in San Francisco, I was told that the consumer color called "Fireweed" (color code SW 6328) is a color equivalent to the paint used on the bridge.


I was skeptical. Fireweed looked waaaay too dark when I saw it on a paint sample, so I drove out to the bridge to see for myself. Turns out, it's true: If you allow for a little natural fading on the bridge railing shown here, Fireweed (the bottom sample shown above) is indeed the same color as the bridge.


I love the way it works in my house. Just like the bridge itself, it adapts well to changing light, and it harmonizes nicely with the green of the back yard that's visible through our kitchen windows. (Alternate view here.) So don't let the shade of the little paint chip scare you off; in the real world, spread across a real surface, the color of the Golden Gate Bridge also looks great elsewhere.

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Taken on December 28, 2004