Exterior Surface Material

A home's exterior design is virtually endless due to myriad of exterior surface material choices that are available. When you figure the material's type, texture, shape, and color all into one equation, your choices could seem endless and confusing.

Therefore, it is "WISE" to study this topic intensely if you want your home to look as you have imagined. But, first of all there are two very import issues to consider when comparing the different types of surface materials to use:

    Short-term Cost-the initial cost of having the wall surface material applied to your exterior wall.

    Long-term Cost-the sum of the initial cost plus maintenance and repair costs over a specific period of time.

The cost of maintenance and repairs can eat you up later in just a few years if you don't "PlanWISELY". You may just find yourself left with an ugly eyesore that is far too expensive to repair. Stay out of the hole and get prepared to stay on top of the situation!

You don't have to have the most expensive materials on your home, but you do need to make sure that what ever materials you do use, that they will be applied properly, plus proper preventive maintenance is done to help it last as long as possible.

      Aluminum-Believe it or not, some manufacturers are still making aluminum siding.

      In my research I have seen articles that say this type of siding no longer exists, but it does. If the region in which you live is prone to hail, this may not be the siding for you as aluminum can dent if struck.


      Brick-Beautiful, strong, and long lasting, this type of exterior can be well worth the investment. Brick is virtually maintenance free which, is a blessing to any home-owner.

      There are all different designs, colors, and textures to choose from. But, never should a brick wall be built without a brick ledge that has been properly constructed within the foundation. In addition, proper wall anchoring and moisture control methods will determine the durability of your brick wall. http://www.brickinfo.org/

      Cast Stone-An imitation natural stone product made of Portland cement, crushed aggregate materials, and coloring agents that are mixed together, then cast-poured into forms and allowed to cure.

      There are several different types of building products made using this method. Cast stone can be made to look just like the real stone used to build walls, walks, etc..., or it can be made into beautiful architectural products such as: arches, balustrades, mantels, and the list goes on. http://www.caststone.org/

      Galvalume-A superior product to standard galvanized steel, this material is to used as exterior siding as well as roofing materials in contemporary applications.

      This material is rust resistant and never needs painting. Therefore, it is maintenance free.

      If you tend to favor the new-age style, this is a product you may want to consider. This type of siding also teams well with steel wall construction.

      Wood Siding-There are several options available for this type of siding. It comes in either lap-siding or in sheet panels with a choice between cedar, redwood, or other quality solid woods.

      As you guessed it, the price is somewhat higher than hardboard, vinyl, or aluminum.

      If you choose to go with real wood, you may also find yourself painting, or staining more frequently because it does require more maintenance. However, the beauty may be worth the extra work.


      Fiber-Cement Siding-A New product that looks like wood clap-board siding. This product was designed to out-perform wood and other "clap-board" type siding materials-manufacturers claim that it doesn't require the expense and hassle of re-painting it near as often. However, as in any product, do your research to find out if it is right for you and your home.



      Hardboard Siding-There are several different textures available for this type of siding and comes in either 4x8 panels, or 4"-12" wide x 16' long strips to install like "clap-boards".

      The initial expense of hardboard siding may be small in comparison to other types of siding. However, in the long run, you may not get by so cheaply due to its history of high maintenance, repairs, and, in extreme cases, total replacement in just a few short years.

      Some manufacturers have discontinued making this type of product due to its problems and class-action suits won by unsatisfied home-owners. Keep your eyes out for new and improved products.


      Shake Siding-Most popular on Cape Cod style homes, this type of siding can add beauty and texture to any home.

      It can either be stained and sealed with a waterproofing agent, or primed and painted.


      Stone Walls-Just a few decades ago, many exterior walls were built of authentic solid stone. Today, the cost to build a stone home has climbed to the elite luxury status.

      Rarely, if ever, is a home's exterior wall built of solid stone. Generally, a stone face is applied over a "stick" framed wall.

      If you like the Tuscan look, and your budget affords you to "go all the way", then solid stone walls is what you may be looking for.


      Stucco-Historically seen more often on Spanish influenced homes, this type of surface has become more and more popular on many other home styles as well.

      There are also several different types of "Stucco" products used by professionals. Therefore, it is "WISE" to do your research to find the best product suited for your home and climate.

      It is also imperative that-if any stucco product will be applied over a wood structure there be a moisture barrier installed, and then a good wire lathe material before the stucco is applied.

      Proper installation will ensure long lasting beauty for both your stucco and the structure behind it. Consider this article:


      Vinyl-This material is very popular for those who want a virtually maintenance free exterior without the expense of brick, stucco, or stone.

      There are several choices in manufacturers, styles, and colors to choose from.

      Vinyl siding is easily installed and if you are a do-it-yourselfer, this is a fairly simple project-just make sure that you learn how to do it properly to prevent moisture problems.

Exterior Surface Material...BuildWisely's Home Planning Guide Helps with All Your Planning
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Go on to Step 7: Insulation


1 Foundation

a) Types of Basement Foundations

b) Foundation Materials

c) Foundation Drainage

d) Basement Waterproofing

e) Natural Disasters

2 Floor Systems

3 Wall Systems

4 Windows and Doors

5 Moisture Proof Barriers

6 Exterior Surface Material

7 Insulation

8 Interior Wall Materials

a) Interior Wall Finish

9 Roof Systems

a) Structural Frame

b) Radiant Barrier

c) Roof Decking

d) Flashing and Bituminus Roofing Membranes

e) Roofing Felt

f) Surface Roofing Material

g) Attic Insulation

10 Ventilation

11 Plumbing & Fixtures

a) Water Distribution System

b) Drain Lines

c) Hot Water Heaters

d) Appliance Hookups

e) Water Softener Filtration System

f) Plumbing Fixtures

12 Electricity and Wiring

a) Electricity Sources

13 Climate Control

14 Your Home's Decor

a) How to be Organized in Planning Your Home's Decor

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