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​8 materials perfect for exterior façades

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Modern houses by Fabricamus - Architettura e Ingegneria Modern
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It’s true that most of us deem the interior beauty of a house more important. But there is one exception in the form of your external façade which is conceived as the shell of a building.  These façades are supposed to be a presentation canvas, where different artistic and architectural styles can be displayed. But they also give your visitors clues about the interior, style, and architecture of your house. 

Traditionally, façades constituted the main structure of the building which is why there were limited openings. Since its evolution, a bigger surface or opening can be obtained so that the house is illuminated properly. With the introduction of steel and reinforced concrete in the construction line, the façades were freed of their supporting function, and are now used as a non-load bearing structure.

One could make endless designs of façades, based on its composition, style, decoration, and even colour. But today we wish to examine various options in terms of façade materials.

1. Metal coatings I

House in L'Ametlla del Vallès Mediterranean style houses by MIRAG Arquitectura i Gestió Mediterranean
MIRAG Arquitectura i Gestió

House in L'Ametlla del Vallès

MIRAG Arquitectura i Gestió

If the façade of a building determines the way in which it communicates with its surroundings, then the material is the language through which this process takes place. Although metal façades were previously associated with industrial or prefabricated buildings, they have become increasingly common in residential spaces as well. Such materials for house façades are also easy and fast to install. In addition, they are fully efficient and functional. Smooth, wavy, greased, pre-laced or galvanized veneers are the different types of coatings which can be combined with materials like wood, concrete, plaster or stone. In this image, the large glass openings within white walls make the interior brighter, whereas its upper part protects the structure, like an inverted base made of corrugated sheets.

2. Metal coatings II

Corten steel is one of the materials for modern façades or used in contemporary architecture. In spite of its oxidized colour, this material offers enormous resistance to the corrosion effect – and it is all because of the protective layer of oxide formed by the amalgamation of chromium and copper.

3. Natural stone cladding

Exterior façade cladding made with stones has been used throughout history. These coatings offer different colours and textures which adds an elegant and distinctive touch to the walls. In addition, stone also provides excellent thermal insulation and protection against humidity. The material is known for its high-quality hardness and resistance, depending on the type chosen. The finishes of stones are also very diverse. In this house, the architect covered the top floor of the building by isolating it with slate. If there is something that characterizes this natural stone, it is the dark colour and resistance. The possibilities offered by this material make it an excellent choice for both indoors and outdoors.

4. Wooden coating

We all know the beauty and quality of wood, as it is an extremely warm and welcoming material. However, this type of coating has other characteristics too, which requires you to choose carefully. Susceptibility to moisture, solar radiation and changes in temperature are just a few examples. Although wood has been used since ancient times in the construction of shelters, we still have to make sure that it is treated correctly against elements such as fire, humidity, and insects.

5. Masonry walls

Masonry is a traditional wall construction system which uses different materials like bricks, tiles, or stones. Usually, these walls are structural and can be created with various techniques. These can include using mortar or replacing the clay, as an element of adhesion between the walls. Building dry walls is, of course, another option. They provide a rural and rustic look to a house. Today, it’s not hard to discover houses whose walls are covered in similar-looking materials to flaunt a most traditional-looking façade.

6. Mortar plaster

Plasters were traditionally used in construction and can also pose as a decorative front for your house. Its low cost, various colours, and multiple finishes make it a perfect solution for homes built with brick walls. In this house, green and white stripes of different widths create a different rhythm. They also hide the cracks that usually appear in this type of coatings over time.

7. Concrete

These days, concrete façades are conquering the buildings of contemporary architecture. Made with different textures and shades of grey or white, this material does not need serious maintenance as it is very durable. In this image, we can see the concrete wall or façade where the horizontal framework of wood becomes most prominent.

8. Glass enclosures

Glass is also a popular material when it comes to designing façades. Instead of creating multiple openings, these façades allow enough light into the building. Only the frames and partitions create enclosures in the structure.  Sun protection and maintenance are two critical factors for glass façades. In this example we can see an extended roof forming a type of awning, creating shadows in the process and protecting the glass-coated walls/windows.  

Let’s take a quick look at the Evolution of country houses.

Which materials do you prefer for your home’s façade?
Whitton Drive by GK Architects Ltd Modern

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