Statement-Making & Problem-Solving Home Exterior Solutions

By mixing and matching James Hardie’s Textured Panels with other products, home plans that are more traditional can move to a more contemporary look and on the other end of the spectrum, the Hardie Textured Panels can be used to incorporate some more transitional styling into modern architectural styles.

Architects and designers are not only looking for advanced building solutions, but also stylish products that will make a statement.  The building community and their clients also demand products that are responsibly manufactured and sustainable, resistant to rot and insects, and those demonstrating superior strength and dimensional stability for strong wind load performance and superior impact and thermal resistance as well as Class A Fire Rating.

Brick still leads the pack for home exterior preference in Texas for a number of reasons.  Brick siding will not rot, burn, or fade even in extreme weather, maintenance is minimal, and it provides natural insulation.  However, stucco and stone are often used to define popular modern styles, sometimes in combination with brick.  Wood and metal are increasingly being used on home exteriors to add extra interest and layers to flat facades or monochromatic designs.  Modern product development opens the door to use just about any desired building material outdoors–or at least one that replicates the look you’re after.

The Style You Want–No Longer Limited to a Particular Climate Area

The research and development teams at work in the labs of major brand name building product manufacturers are hard at work to assess traditional methods of construction and devise ways to improve upon them, engineering products that are specially treated as well as those that use proprietary formulations to replicate the desired look with the feel of natural products.

Leading the home exterior design trend are wood accents, but there are only a handful of woods that weather well outdoors.  Engineered wood is one solution.  LP’s pre-primed SmartSide Smooth Panel boards are made from engineered wood strand board treated with LP’s SmartGuard process. A water-resistant wax coats each fiber of the board while zinc borate resists damage from termites and fungal decay. Binders add more strength to the panels and makes it resistant to damage as golf balls, baseballs, and sticks. The resin-saturated overlay adds the final layer of protection and resists moisture intrusion, along with providing a durable base.

Founded in 1989 and headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, Smith & Fong Co. was the first U.S.-based company to manufacture and import laminated bamboo products, under the Plyboo brand. Entering the market with the Durapalm brand in 2000, it recently introduced PalmShell™ solid palmwood cladding for commercial and custom residential buildings.  The new cladding is derived from Indian black palm, similar in density and hardness to Ipe, and milled in 96” lengths with a 3 ¼” width and ¾” thickness. A groove/lap system simplifies installation for rainscreen or exterior cladding applications. Given its inherent weather-resistant quality, PalmShell can be installed and finished using standard exterior grade clear finishes or natural products such as linseed oil for a raw natural look.

PalmShell™ solid palmwood cladding is derived from Indian black palm.

Artisan Custom Doorworks’ TimberLife garage doors are made from specially processed Accoya wood

Manufactured using a proprietary patented acetylation process in its plant in the Netherlands Artisan’s TimberLife doors are made from Accoya wood,  a highly stable wood for exterior applications — one that has zero toxicity, provides dimensional stability, and delivers durability that exceeds even the best tropical hardwoods.

Boral Roofing’s choices include
concrete and clay tiles, stone coated
steel roof panels, and slate or shake
composite shingles.

Much of James Hardie’s focus in recent years has been on its Hardie® siding products made using 90 percent sand and cement to mimic wood lap boards, cedar shingles, and wood shake siding.  However, Hardie’s latest offering is a substitute for stucco.  Hardie Textured Panels offer a contemporary edge in the form of clean lines and textures.  Panel products come in a 0.312-inch thickness and the choice of 120, 144, or 96-inch lengths and can be installed horizontally or vertically.  Use the shiplap joints on Knockdown or Smooth Sand panels to create V-grooved lines or implement a customized design utilizing Multi-Groove panels with milled grooves every 16 inches.

Stone veneer looks almost identical to natural stone and has comparable durability.  Light colored stone accents used to balance out trending darker exterior colors can lend a sleek and modern touch.


Evolve Stone is the only mortarless, color-throughout manufactured stone veneer that installs with a standard finish nailer and delivers 10X faster installation and half the weight of its competitors.  Watch our video interview from IBS with the BEST IN SHOW winner and also category winner for MOST INNOVATIVE BUILDING MATERIAL.

While metal has long been a popular roofing choice, Bridger Steel’s 24 gauge siding steel opens the door for metal to become more viable siding choice for residential siding as well.  Bridger’s product has a dark, natural-looking finish created by coating the metal panels with a phosphate mixture. Builders can choose custom finishes as well such as rustic copper.  Batten siding panels are designed to mimic the traditional look of board and batten systems, while wide flat panels with bold ribs are popular with modern and contemporary designs.

Bridger Steel’s 24 gauge siding steel has a dark, natural-looking finish created by coating the metal panels with a phosphate mixture.

Who says your choices have to be limited to “traditional” exterior cladding choices for the residential sector at all?  Porcelanosa offers porcelain panel rainscreen wall systems.  One of the largest brickmakers in North America, Glen-Gery, offers a prefinished and colorfast ceramic ventilated façade cladding system called Terraçade.

A Superior Roof is Stronger Than the Sum of its Parts.

A quality roofing system involves the water proofing underlayments, shingles, accessory products, and ventilation all working together.  Boral Roofing’s lineup includes Concrete Roofing Products known for superior strength, Class A fire rating and long-lasting beauty; Stone Coated Steel Roofing, the ultra-lightweight roofing system which benefits from the structural strength of steel; US Tile, a legacy line of premium clay tile solutions; composite slate and shake roof products by DaVinci Roofscapes; and Boral’s full line of integrated roof components designed to deliver a higher standard of roof installation and performance.

CertainTeed’s growing list of technologies to improve the strength, longevity, and energy efficiency of asphalt shingles include StreakFighter® – a copper-infused granule blend that prevents algae formation on shingles; and Solaris® – embedded cool roof technology that enables even the darkest-colored shingles to reflect solar energy and radiant heat far better than any standard asphalt shingle, dramatically lowering rooftop temperatures and related air conditioning costs.  CertainTeed’s NailTrak® feature provides a nailing area three-times wider than standard laminate shingles and clear nailing lines that are highly visible even in low-light conditions, allowing faster and more accurate installations. Quadra-Bond™ is a specially formulated adhesive that adheres shingle layers at four points providing superior bond strength and protection against shingle delamination over the life of the shingle.

Solutions That Enhance Productivity

Everybody in our industry knows that labor is short, thus the focus on many of the latest home exterior products is on not only products with superior performance, but those that cut down on labor and installation time needed.  The new James Hardie panels previously mentioned, for example, are designed to cut down on installation time by 40 to 50 percent when compared to traditional stucco processes, which require time for application, curing, and painting.

With a tall 7” exposure and the deeply grained look of real wood, the design of Alside® ASCEND® Composite Cladding System planks enables quicker and easier installation than fiber cement, engineered wood and other composite panels as it’s installed in fewer steps, doesn’t require specialized equipment and can be installed with less laborers–no sealing, touch-up paint, joint flashing or caulking required.  Patented (GP)2 Technology—glass-reinforced polymer and graphite-infused polystyrene—adds superior strength and stability. Westlake Royal™ Roofing Components’ SwiftGuard™ underlayment includes patented nail gasketing technology and has superior deck grip and walkability, designed to make installation swift and easy.

The Bottom Line: 

Whether you are designing a new home or updating an existing one, whether your preference is for classic or modern architecture, keep in mind that most buyers love and accept what they recognize, understand and what makes them feel comfortable.  Consider symmetry and feng shui in the positioning and orientation of the home on its lot.  Take ques from classic architecture while putting your own subtle twist on the home exterior by carefully choosing the defining material combinations, windows, doors, paint color, trim, paving, landscaping and lighting.  Look for and promote your use of stronger, safer and more resilient building products that are responsibly sourced and manufactured.

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