The decision for what kind of exterior material to use on your home is not something to be taken lightly.
Down here at the beach, our exterior weather conditions are tough and so exterior products that might work great in other parts of America are not going to work so well with salt air, 140 mph winds in a hurricane, and/or winter to summer temperature swings that can range from freezing to 110 degrees!
Plus, we want it to look good and hold up for the long term with as little maintenance as possible.
So when it comes time to selecting exterior finishes for homes, you can see why only certain materials make the grade.
Our top choice (and coincidentally the material we just put on our own office addition) is Hardiboard. http://www.jameshardie.com/
James Hardi Building Products has an entire line up of Fiber-cement exterior finishes that are designed to resemble wood planking, cedar shingles, or board and batten. One tip – we like to order the kind that have a primer but not the finished exterior paint already on it when it arrives from the factory. The main reason being that exterior products tend to get beaten up a bit in the installation process and you may not be able to hide those marks with touch ups on site if the product had a finished paint coat already on it. It’s far better to paint it on site after it’s all in place to get the best polished look.
Another top exterior material down here – real Cedar Shakes, hard woods such as Mahogany and Spanish Cedar wood, and rock or brick. As you can see in the picture below, Cedar shakes that are fully dyed and dried on site have proven to be exceptionally strong in our harsh climate. The trick is making sure they are sealed and stained on all sides (not just the front that you see). It can be more expensive, but produces a wonderful look.
And nothing says “come on in” like a pair of oil rubbed Mahogany or Spanish Cedar front doors. Love them.
Last but not least, my husband’s favorite exterior material, Old World European Stucco over a solid masonry wall. This is not to be confused with stucco over wood – which can cause all kinds of problems down the road. But when applied directly on a solid masonry wall with the proper technique, this look is fabulous. Whether you are going for a modern or historic home, stucco is probably the most versatile, longest lasting product out there, plus it will give you the least maintenance worries. The negative, it tends to be the most expensive up front.
Enjoy the pictures!