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Building For The Ages – Jun/Jul2016

Building For The Ages - Jun/Jul2016

Choose durable home exterior products that will stand the test of time.

You don’t need me to tell you that home renovations can be expensive. I’m constantly trying to help clients balance their wants and needs with the budget that they’ve got available to them. One thing I try to encourage people to do when planning a major renovation is to do it once and do it well. Sometimes, that means leaving something out to ensure the main objective can be achieved—say, putting off the powder room makeover so there’s enough money to properly do the kitchen.


When talking about exterior renovations, the choice of materials used is critical to ensure the project lasts. You may pay a bit more upfront for highend materials but over the long-term it will be a worthwhile investment. Here are some of my choices for durable exterior products.

Up on top, for longevity, you can’t beat a steel roof. (Full disclosure, I’m a Brand Ambassador for metal roof and siding manufacturer Vicwest.) Whether you’re going for a modern, institutional look or are a traditionalist like myself, there are a wide variety of colours and styles available, including steel tiles that mimic the look of asphalt or stone. And, with warranties as long as 50 years, it’s no wonder they’re known as the once-in-a-lifetime roof.


When it comes to windows, vinyl or aluminum are good long-lasting options but, as a traditionalist, I still prefer the look of wooden window frames. A number of companies offer factory-finished wood windows that will look good 15 or 20 years down the road.

When cladding exterior walls, I like using stone veneers. They’re lightweight, easy to install, and extremely durable. Steel siding is another durable option, again, available in a broad range of designs, including wood- and stone-like profiles. Just don’t mix-and-match too many different materials on the exterior.


For the longest lasting deck, your best bet is composite decking and railing. There are a number of really good, realistic options on the market to choose from. Many can be installed with hidden mounting clips that give you both a streamlined look and avoid having screw holes in the boards where water will pool.

The framing itself, however, should be made of pressure-treated (PT) lumber for durability. If you’re doing the work yourself, make sure you use PT-approved fasteners. If not, the chemical preservative will corrode the screws.

Finally, for landscaping, you’d be hardpressed to find something that’ll last longer than natural stone. The granite of the Canadian Shield, after all, is at least a couple billion years old. There is also a wide range of manufactured stone products that will likely outlast your taste in outdoor decor.