Exterior Home Designs, Exterior Wall Types, and their Strengths and Weaknesses
Exterior home designs can be found in a wide variety of materials, appearances, and types, and each exterior wall type features certain advantages,
but may also have drawbacks as well. Your home exterior is what the outside world sees, and most homeowners take pride in the appearance and beauty
of their home.
Understanding the different exterior wall types, and the strengths and weaknesses of each type, can help you determine which exterior walls will work
best for your preferences, region, and climate. Some wall materials work better in climates which are warm and dry, while others may be best for
colder regions where snow and ice and common, and still other types of exterior walls will work well in almost any location.
Exterior house design has an impact on much more than just how your home looks. The exterior walls keep heat or cool air in the home, making it
more comfortable in all weather, and prevents any moisture, drafts, or insects and animals from entering the home as well.
It is essential that the exterior walls of your home protect you from the elements, keep your energy costs as low as possible, and protect all of
the other materials and elements used in the home construction. Some types of exterior walls may require periodic treatments to keep them in
excellent condition and ideal appearance, while others are very easy to maintain and may only need to be scrubbed or power washed every year or two
to remove any dirt and accumulated build up.
Wall Types Available with Exterior Home Designs
The choice of exterior home designs available is extensive, and it may be difficult to choose because there are so many. Brick veneer and stone
veneer offer a natural appearance, and this is true with wood siding and clapboard as well. Stucco offers exceptional energy efficiency and can help
keep your home cool and comfortable in even the hottest climate.
Aluminum and vinyl siding can be very easy to care for, and offer excellent protection for your home. Panels are easier to install, and may offer
superior moisture protection and energy efficiency because of this fact for some homes. Composite shingles and those made from materials other than
wood can offer incredible beauty in appearance, while also being more cost efficient.
No matter what type of exterior house design you prefer, there are some considerations that should be evaluated. Cost is one factor, because some
exterior types and materials can be much more expensive to buy, and more labor intensive to install. This will increase the material and labor costs
both, and can add up quickly. If your budget is limited then evaluating the costs of each type may be important.
The surrounding setting of your property may also help determine which type of exterior is used for your home. A rural home surrounded by scenic
woods may not look best with aluminum siding, while wood shingles or clapboard siding may give your home exterior a natural appearance that blends
seamlessly with the surrounding beauty.
Brick Veneer for Exterior Home Designs
Using brick veneer for exterior house designs can offer numerous benefits. Brick veneer has an authentic look and feel, because a single layer of
bricks is used to create the exterior veneer. The veneer is attached only using a layer of mortar in older homes, but homes built recently with this
type of exterior wall use anchors and ties to attach the veneer directly to the framing materials.
Brick veneers in modern homes have a space behind them, and this can be filled with foam or another type of insulation to make your home more energy
efficient. Brick veneer can be very attractive, but there are some common problems with this exterior if it is not installed correctly.
Brick veneer exterior house design can require some maintenance. If the installation was not done correctly then bricks could become recessed or
pop out or protrude from the wall. Maintaining a brick veneer wall that was properly installed is very easy and low cost, because a power scrub or
simple washing can help keep the exterior beautiful and clean.
This exterior can be found in every region of the USA, and is popular in the northern region and the south as well. This exterior type is not as
popular along the east coast and west coast regions, but can still be found with some effort. Most architectural styles can work well with this type
of exterior wall.
Exterior Home Designs and Stone Veneer
Stone is a desirable material, and offers gorgeous exterior house designs and appearances that last for a very long time. Stone has been used since
the early days of man, and many structures were constructed centuries ago and still stand today as a testament to the durability of this material.
There are many varieties of stone used for construction, and some of these can be prohibitively expensive for most.
Stone veneers offer a solution, because they provide the exquisite look of natural stone, but with a much lower cost and significantly easier
installation. It is possible to get a stone veneer that is not discernibly different from an exterior created using individual stones, so you get an
authentic look for a greatly reduced price.
Stone veneers are very popular for exterior house design, especially in certain regions of the country. This type of exterior is very durable and
will last many years before needing repairs or replacement, and these veneers are very water and weather resistant. They are made from natural
materials, and offer energy efficient and insulating benefits because of the space available for additional insulation behind the veneer.
Stone veneers more commonly found on the east coast and northern regions of the United States, because of the colder climate and inclement weather.
Stone veneers can protect against snow and ice, as well as brutal and bone chilling winter winds, making them ideal for colder areas. Many historic
homes along the East Coast offer this type of exterior, but if you look hard enough stone veneers work well with any home style and can be found
almost anywhere in the USA.
Stucco Exterior Home Designs
One type of exterior home designs which is extremely popular in the southwest region of the USA, and also to a smaller degree along the West Coast,
is stucco exterior walls. Stucco is a special mixture of cement, and this type of exterior wall offers many benefits in regions where extreme high
temperatures and a dry climate can make staying cool a big challenge.
Stucco offers exceptional insulation and energy efficiency features, and will keep the heat out in even the most desert like climate. Adobe and
mission style homes and structures in the southwest region feature stucco exteriors, and some of these date back for centuries.
Stucco will stand up well to moisture, because the walls absorb the moisture and then release it back into the environment instead of allowing it to
enter the home. This is another reason why this exterior house design is popular in the dry heat of the southwest region, because dry climates
usually receive large amounts of rain periodically.
There are synthetic stucco panels or veneers that can be purchased, but these do not offer the same benefits. The heaviness and density of authentic
stucco will help keep your home cool and comfortable no matter what the temperature is outside.
Aluminum or Vinyl Siding with Exterior Home Designs
Exterior home designs include the option of aluminum or vinyl siding, and both of these materials have pros and cons. Aluminum siding can become
dented or damaged, and may corrode when used in close proximity to saltwater. On the other hand this siding offers excellent protection, is very
durable, costs less than many other options to purchase and install, many colors and textures are available, and the finished home appearance is
Aluminum siding can be used near saltwater if it is coated with a vinyl or plastic coating, but the cost for this type of siding can be quite high,
so this option is not used as often. Aluminum siding will work well with almost any home style, and is found most often in the northern and southern
regions of the USA.
Vinyl siding is another option for exterior house design. Vinyl siding can crack, split, or become damages in other ways, so it is not as durable as
aluminum siding, but it does offer benefits as well. Vinyl siding is beautiful, can be found in many textures and colors, weighs less than metal
siding, will not corrode when exposed to salt, is less expensive, and is just as easy to install.
This type of exterior can be found on almost every home style, and is one of the most popular choices in every region of the United States.
Exterior Home Designs and Wood Shingles
One of the most beautiful, but also one of the most expensive, types of exterior house designs involves the use of wood shingles. Traditionally made
from cedar, these shingles may also be called shakes, and they offer an elegance and depth to your home that is astounding.
Wood shingles today may be found in varieties other than cedar, but usually only woods that offer natural insect repellent are used. Homes with wood
shingles blend in very well with natural or wooded surroundings, but the materials and labor costs can be very high with this type of exterior.
Wood shingles are normally stained rather than painted, and if used in areas exposed to salt these shingles may require special treatments to
prevent any damage or drying out. It is possible to find homes in any region with this type of exterior house design, but homes along the northern
West Coast offers the highest number of homes with this feature.
The wooded settings make wood shingles a perfect choice in this area, as well as others. This exterior type does require some effort and expense to
maintain the beauty and protection they offer though, and in high wind areas this may not be the best choice due to the possibility of shingle
damage or removal.
Panels for Exterior Home Designs
Panels made from veneered plywood, fiberboard, hardboard, oriented strand board or OSB, and other types of composite or engineered wood panels are a
popular choice for exterior home designs all across the country. These exterior panels offer a great look at a very affordable price, with little or
no maintenance and upkeep costs or efforts required.
This type of exterior wall arrives in panels, which can be quickly and easily installed. This keeps the labor costs down, as well as the cost of the
materials, without sacrificing and appeal. Some of these products may be designed to look identical to authentic clapboard siding, and these walls
can offer great protection from the elements and any insects.
One of the few drawbacks with panel exterior home designs is that this material is not as durable as solid wood or some other exterior types.
Severe weather may cause damage to these materials, and result in higher repair costs. The edges of the panels are created so that they slip
together easily, making them a snap to install in very little time.
The low cost and the attractiveness of this exterior type are just a few of the reasons why it is so popular, and why it can be found in large
percentages in every region of the country. Panel exteriors will work well with any home style or type, making it very versatile.
Exterior Home Designs and the Use Of Shingles
When it comes to exterior house design the shingles you use are another factor to consider. Two of the most popular shingle types to choose for your
roof are composite shingles and metal shingles. Both of these types offer advantages, but they can also disadvantages as well. Composite shingles
are features on many homes and different homes styles in every region, from the north to the south and along both coasts.
These shingles can be found in a variety of appearances, and they offer superior durability and protection. Composite shingles will not dent, and do
not need to be periodically treated. Darker colored shingles may increase the heat buildup in the home though.
Metal shingles are also a popular choice for exterior house designs, but this choice may be more expensive if the market price for metal is up. Metal
shingles may corrode if exposed to salt, so this type may not work well along the East Coast or West Coast, but the material does reflect sunlight
and heat instead of absorbing it the way that composite shingles do.
In some cases metal shingles may need to be treated for better durability and a longer life. Metal shingles are most common in the south, because
they work well with the climate in this region. Many elegant or highly decorative home styles may feature metal shingles of various colors.
Positive Cost Features of Exterior Home Designs
- A wide range of exterior materials, looks, and options mean a great appearance regardless of budget size
- Vinyl siding is very inexpensive to buy and install, and offers many colors to choose from
- Brick or stone veneers can help improve the energy efficiency of your home by allowing extra insulation
- Stucco offers exceptional insulating and thermal properties, to keep your utility costs as low as possible
- Exterior choices are available that do not require a lot of maintenance or expense, making them a great choice for busy homeowners
- Panel exteriors are very inexpensive and can be installed very fast
- Wood shingles offer a unique appearance that blends well with natural settings, and this option is very durable
Negative Cost Features of Exterior Home Designs
- Wood shingles may need to be treated with chemical protection and moisturizers to prevent any cracking or drying
- Metal shingles and siding may corrode if exposed to salt, and may become dented or damaged
- Plastic or vinyl coatings for metal materials can be expensive and time consuming, and must be reapplied periodically
- Vinyl siding can crack, warp, or fade over time
- Panel exteriors may not be as durable as many other exterior types