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View Poll Results: Which exterior building material is best for durability?
Wood 3 6.12%
Vinyl siding 0 0%
Brick 27 55.10%
Rock 4 8.16%
Stucco 4 8.16%
cement block 9 18.37%
other - please specify or rank the choices 6 12.24%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 49. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-16-2009, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Rockport Texas from El Paso
2,402 posts, read 4,518,382 times
Reputation: 1231
Default Best construction material- Wood- Stucco- Brick -Stone?

Which are the best construction material to use for a house exterior?

( wood,stucco, aluminum, vinyl,brick, limestone, other stone, cement block)

So that readers can easily use the results please describe by category that way this post can be helpful. A discussion of the pros and cons of each would also help. Thanks

Best for

A. Durability

B Insulation

C Price-cost
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:35 AM
 
20,737 posts, read 32,507,164 times
Reputation: 9935
Brick is manufactured of clay and cement specfically to be the most uniform and durable material. That said I have seen house with both brick veneer (brick on studs) and solid brick (face brick over structural brick) as well as commercial style "brick on block" that have failed due to improper labor practices. It really cost very little more to find skilled masons but when there are labor shortages things just go by the wayside...

That said I have seen WOOD houses that are hundreds of years old that are in SUPERB condition in even harsh climates because care was taken by those who built them AND by those who maintained them.

As far as cost (and speed, becuase time is money) the best compromise can come with a TOP NOTCH construction crew using vinyl siding. Further, with modern insulation the total energy of a well designed rigid insulation and vinyl siding home is probably lowest. There is a lot of technical debate over the "thermal mass" aspects of stucco/dryvit and brick, but in my experience in both hot and cool weather the vinyl with top grade insulation is hard to beat.

Stone is beautiful, but becuase of its irregularities even the most skills masons cannot cost effectively deliver a home.

Avoid cement block as an exterior surface except in areas of the south that insects make other building materials too fragile. Though it can be done right, too often the skills of those laying the blocks, and the shortcuts taken with regard to moisture proofing and frost planning lead to disaster.

Stucco made of old fashioned plaster is very labor intensive, and the modern subsitutes do sometimes show promise in the controlled conditions of the building supply companies that develop them. Too often the skills of the field workers is not up to the task of making this a durable finish.
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Old 01-16-2009, 08:56 AM
 
Location: Salem, OR
10,676 posts, read 16,960,411 times
Reputation: 6519
I agree with Chet that the durability of a product is only as good as the installer.

It is also not practical for every home to have brick or stone. You couldn't buy it for $150,000 then.
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Old 01-16-2009, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Lompoc,CA
1,155 posts, read 2,793,011 times
Reputation: 1016
I voted stucco. I just like the look of it,and its very durable,cracks and
all.


Greenchili
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Old 01-16-2009, 03:11 PM
 
Location: South Metro Denver and looking at houses
8,386 posts, read 17,848,910 times
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Where are we? Stucco would be better in non humid climates, stone or brick in colder climates....
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Old 01-16-2009, 03:53 PM
 
345 posts, read 121,850 times
Reputation: 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Stucco made of old fashioned plaster is very labor intensive, and the modern subsitutes do sometimes show promise in the controlled conditions of the building supply companies that develop them. Too often the skills of the field workers is not up to the task of making this a durable finish.
I agree, and especially with your last sentence. That is dead-on.
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:51 AM
 
Location: Rockport Texas from El Paso
2,402 posts, read 4,518,382 times
Reputation: 1231
there's also something called composition but I think I offered enough choices.
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Halfway between Number 4 Privet Drive and Forks, WA
1,516 posts, read 2,985,984 times
Reputation: 604
Stucco is a hard sell in GA. Even the real stuff. I'd never buy stucco because of the stigma attached to it, although, I do think it looks nice.

I don't know what I'd buy if I had to move to Florida...LOL
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:27 AM
 
Location: NW Las Vegas - Lone Mountain
15,758 posts, read 19,186,883 times
Reputation: 2661
Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Brick is manufactured of clay and cement specfically to be the most uniform and durable material. That said I have seen house with both brick veneer (brick on studs) and solid brick (face brick over structural brick) as well as commercial style "brick on block" that have failed due to improper labor practices. It really cost very little more to find skilled masons but when there are labor shortages things just go by the wayside...

That said I have seen WOOD houses that are hundreds of years old that are in SUPERB condition in even harsh climates because care was taken by those who built them AND by those who maintained them.

As far as cost (and speed, becuase time is money) the best compromise can come with a TOP NOTCH construction crew using vinyl siding. Further, with modern insulation the total energy of a well designed rigid insulation and vinyl siding home is probably lowest. There is a lot of technical debate over the "thermal mass" aspects of stucco/dryvit and brick, but in my experience in both hot and cool weather the vinyl with top grade insulation is hard to beat.

Stone is beautiful, but becuase of its irregularities even the most skills masons cannot cost effectively deliver a home.

Avoid cement block as an exterior surface except in areas of the south that insects make other building materials too fragile. Though it can be done right, too often the skills of those laying the blocks, and the shortcuts taken with regard to moisture proofing and frost planning lead to disaster.

Stucco made of old fashioned plaster is very labor intensive, and the modern subsitutes do sometimes show promise in the controlled conditions of the building supply companies that develop them. Too often the skills of the field workers is not up to the task of making this a durable finish.
Stucco of course dominates the southwest and California. So it is reasonably obvious that vinyl is not competitive in this high sun, low humdiity, low rain conditions. This is conventional stucco not the later versions. Those however do seem to work in europe over masonry structures.

As you drop into Mexico the structures are stucco over concrete block...

I think water is the big divider. The dry places go stucco and the wet vinyl.
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Old 01-19-2009, 03:39 PM
 
118 posts, read 237,487 times
Reputation: 76
I have seen stucco look incredible in the New England climate either because it was constructed or maintained properly. I have also seen some poorly maintained stucco. Nonetheless, it is not the most popular building material in NE.
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