In a society that is becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, one of the best ways that homeowners can do their part is by choosing durable materials in the construction process. These types of materials not only reduce day-to-day consumption required for upkeep, but they also make large scale renovations and replacements highly unlikely. From moisture resistant exterior wall insulation to fiber cement cladding, keep reading for 6 top sustainable and durable materials for home construction!
1. Exterior Wall Insulation
Quality exterior wall insulation is one of the most important components of guaranteeing a continuous insulation system for your home. It will provide a primary layer of defense against air and moisture transfer that will keep your framing in top condition for years to come. This will also make the interior less susceptible to extreme temperature shifts, helping reduce heating and cooling costs. Polyiso insulation board is the best type of exterior wall insulation thanks to its rigid fabrication and seamless installation that helps eliminate thermal breaks.
2. Water Resistant Membranes
In wetter regions of the country, it can be worthwhile to further fortify the exterior insulation through the application of a damp-proof membrane. Damp proofing typically involves rolling or spraying a water resistant coating to the exterior of foundation walls and framing. In areas where the soil has high levels of hydrostatic pressure, damp proofing can prevent groundwater from seeping into these structural elements of the home and preventing the associated water damage.
3. Composite Roofing Tiles
Like siding materials, some of the most common roofing options are not necessarily elite in terms of durability. For example, asphalt shingles are known to break down in the face of UV exposure and heavy impact, while wood shakes will crack if not regularly treated. In addition, wood roofing is among the lowest rated in terms of fire resistance.
As a result, composite shingles are gaining favor in homes looking for sustainable roofing options. Fabricated from a combination of asphalt, fiberglass, and recycled paper polymers, composite shingles come with the highest fire, impact, and moisture ratings on the market. While they will cost more upfront than a standard asphalt shingle, the long-lasting durability makes the lifetime cost of ownership extremely competitive.
4. Fiber Cement Siding
Although exterior cladding options such as brick and wood planks are popular for their rustic appeal, they are not good choices for durable home construction. Both products must be regularly sealed and treated to guarantee their insulating and moisture resistant properties, with failure to do so creating significant issues for the home’s building envelope.
As a result, vinyl has emerged as a low-cost siding option that is much easier to work with and maintain than these classic products. While vinyl is water resistant, it has its own issues in terms of durability. It can become brittle and crack during times of extreme temperature, and it will fade when confronted with extended UV exposure. Since painting vinyl is not an option, those homeowners who choose vinyl cladding often end up needing a replacement in as little as 10 to 15 years.
To help alleviate these concerns, fiber cement is an increasingly popular alternative to vinyl siding. It has all of the same low maintenance properties of vinyl with none of the durability concerns. The best fiber cement products are rated to last 50 years, but they will very likely outlast the life of the house itself. As an added bonus, fiber cement siding comes in many wood-look finishes that are nearly indistinguishable from natural wood, making it a great choice for homeowners who want the rustic curb appeal with none of the maintenance requirements.
5. Hurricane Grade Windows
The windows are one of the first areas of the home to give way during times of extreme weather. Old fashioned wood frames will absorb moisture and rot over time, while low quality vinyl can become brittle and crack in the face of impact. To help alleviate these concerns, it is worthwhile to upgrade to hurricane grade storm windows. Fabricated with structural steel frames, sashes, and grilles, the skeleton of storm windows is completely resistant to moisture, fire, and pest damage. In addition, they use reinforced glass that is capable of withstanding winds of up to 250 MPH and impact of up to 100 MPH, helping the home emerge unscathed in the most challenging of conditions.
6. Quartz Countertops
Although most homeowners prefer the stately aspect of marble countertops, most do not have the time in their busy schedules to keep them properly sealed. This results in moisture absorption that causes staining and bacteria buildup, both of which will degrade the countertops over time. A more durable solution that maintains the natural stone charm of marble with few of the upkeep requirements is quartz. Fabricated from ground mineral quartz bound with an epoxy resin, quartz countertops are highly resistant to impact and completely nonporous, making it easy to wipe away standing moisture with no concern of it ever seeping in and causing damage.
Use These Materials for Sustainable Home Construction
Creating durable homes is one of the best ways to promote sustainable, environmentally conscious living. To this effect, exterior wall insulation, water resistant membranes, fiber cement siding, composite roofing tiles, hurricane grade windows, and quartz countertops are 6 great ideas for making a home as durable as possible!
Written by Andrea Erickson
About the Author
Hi, my name is Andrea Erickson, I'm a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas. I have lived here my entire life and am very honored to call it home. I love writing and sharing my knowledge and expertise in remodeling, design, and of course, my passion for landscaping. When I'm not writing you can find me outside playing with my children or convincing my husband into another DIY project.
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