How to Choose the Best Exterior Materials for Your Home

How to Choose the Best Exterior Materials for Your Home
by  Olivia Elsher - November 20, 2022

If you’re a DIY fan, you might be ready to tackle more than installing a mailbox or coating your driveway. Is it time for a whole house facelift? If so, you might want to cut your teeth at installing siding or building an outdoor living space.

Whichever project you choose, you need the right materials. Costs have recently inflated by 20%, requiring you to spend your money wisely. What are your best options for getting the job done right?

Much of your decision-making rests upon the project you tackle. However, some rules apply across the board. Here’s how to choose the best exterior materials for your home.

1. For Handling the Trim

Little details can make a big difference in the resale value of your property. For example, did you know that replacing your home’s garage door results in a return on investment above 90% — the second-highest ROI of any home improvement project? Best of all, you can usually complete such DIY tasks in a single day or weekend, minimizing dust and other construction debris headaches like keeping snails away from bare toddler feet.

You can significantly improve your home’s facade by replacing worn trim. Wood isn’t ideal for covering large areas — it requires frequent coating to protect it from the elements and is prone to rot and insect infestation. However, it’s the perfect material for trim work, as you can’t beat its natural beauty. A thin coat of stain is all you need for beautification, although you can unite your exterior theme with a vivid hue.

For the doors themselves, you’re better off selecting another material — more on that momentarily. However, you can’t do better than natural wood for exposed trim. It’s easy to remove and replace when the time comes for your next upgrade.

2. For Raising the Roof

Your roof has a vital job, keeping you and your family dry. It also protects your belongings from the elements, including the walls of your home. Overhead leaks can let moisture accumulate inside walls, where it can spur mold growth or even spark electrical fires.

You need your roofing materials to stand up against life’s storms when winter drops a few feet of snow or hurricane-force winds blow. Here are some options to consider for replacement:

Clay tiles: You’ll see these all over the desert southwest. One big benefit is that they are non-combustible, making them a safer choice if you live in an area plagued by wildfires.

Steel: This material is expensive but lasts longer than wood or asphalt.

Slate and rubber slate: Slate can last a lifetime but is pricey. Rubber slate is a less expensive option that lasts 50 or more years but can absorb moisture.

Asphalt shingles: Although these are the traditional roofing choice, they’re less durable and require more frequent replacement, thanks to hail damage.

3. For Managing Ingress and Egress

Your front door serves an important purpose as a barrier against the outside world. You don’t want to attract thieves.

Steel is energy-efficient and inexpensive. Although it’s not the most attractive choice, you can paint it like wood, blending it with the rest of your facade. Why not match it to your trim?

Wood doors require regular maintenance and can scare some folks with visions of Jack Nicholson bursting through with an ax and crying, “Here’s Johnny.” However, newer composites are closer to steel in strength and offer superior beauty — although they may crack in extreme weather.

Please don’t neglect your windows. If you catch a draft sitting by your bay model on a sunny winter day, you’re throwing your heating and air conditioning money down the drain. Although single-pane models come with a cheaper upfront price, dual-pane versions offer superior energy efficiency, often paying for themselves in saved utility bills over time. Such designs also reduce exterior noise, which is useful if you live near a highway or airport.

4. For Your Principal Facade

Replacing your roof may be the most dangerous DIY project because of the risk of falling from heights. However, replacing your facade is likewise not for the faint of heart, as it entails ladders — and considerable time. If you are brave to do this chore, what materials should you use? Here are some of your choices:

Bricks: While a brick facade may take considerable time to apply, it features minimal upkeep, reducing future headaches.

Aluminum siding: Aluminum offers superior durability to wood and is resistant to rot and insect pests. You can paint it when it’s time to upgrade, and a good pressure wash revives it.

Precast concrete: This facade offers superior durability but can be tricky to install and pricey. You may need heavy equipment.

5. For Porches and Outbuildings

Outdoor living spaces were always popular among homebuyers. Still, they came into the limelight during the recent pandemic when gathering in the fresh air was safer than sharing space with strangers indoors. Adding a deck or patio can substantially increase your home’s value.

If you’re adding a patio, you’ll probably opt for concrete or stone — both highly durable materials. They’re easy to clean, although they can get quite toasty in the sun. Adding a protective coating to the surface can cool the burn somewhat.

If you’re building a deck, your least-expensive route is pressure-treated lumber. Redwood and cedar are more enduring choices with natural tannins that protect against rot, although they cost quite a bit more. Your best lazy option may be a composite because they’re essentially maintenance-free. Other choices on this list require an annual pressure washing and sometimes a coating against the elements.

How to Choose the Best Exterior Materials for Your Home

Are you ready to test your DIY skills? If you’re ready to move beyond the birdhouse-building stage, you need the right materials for the job.

Follow this guide to choose the best exterior materials for your home. You’ll create a beautiful facade that lasts.

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