​8 materials perfect for exterior façades

Villa unifamiliare a Bastia Umbra (PG), Fabricamus - Architettura e Ingegneria Fabricamus - Architettura e Ingegneria Modern houses
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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 the exterior decoration; 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- and exterior wall materials crafted by some of the finest Architects

1. Metal coatings I

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 (one of the most popular options in terms of modern building materials) 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 wall-building 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 option when it comes to cladding materials for buildings. 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, especially when used for exterior decoration. 

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.  

Exterior wall materials and colour

Keep three factors in mind when choosing the colour(s) of your exterior wall materials: 

1. How easy are those colours to manage (keep clean)?

2. Do they tie in with the rest of the house’s design?

3. Do they contribute to an interesting and visually pleasing look? 

Some of the more popular options with houses’ exterior decoration and colour is to use varying shades of one colour to craft a layered look, or to contrast dark and light colours and textures. 

Exterior wall materials and lighting/landscaping

But why stop at colours and wall-building materials? Complete your house’s kerb appeal with some soft exterior lighting. Keep in mind how shadows are influenced/created by your choice in exterior wall materials. And don’t overlook some stylish pots and lush/colourful plants in your garden to really complete the look. 

Have you ever asked yourself “How can we improve our ex-council house”? Find out! 

Which materials do you prefer for your home’s façade?

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