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How to plan your new home! Step 10 to 12

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

You now have a plan of your future home. You might want to have a 3D model created of your future home to help you visualize it better and ensure it is just the way you want. A 3D model will also enable you to further fine-tune your plans.

The next step is to do a preliminary selection of finishes starting with the exterior finishes. A designer can help you make the appropriate choice for your house and budget. Following is a list of the most common available materials and short description of pros and cons.


10. Siding: There are a lot of choices for exterior siding and each material offers different options in texture and colours to choose from. Select the material and texture you'd like first and them choose a color in combination with other exterior finishes, such as windows, doors, roofing, trim, accents, and more.

Vinyl Siding is the most common siding choice used in Canada. It comes in a variety of textures, and colors. It is the lowest cost siding available, easy to install, maintenance free, but not environmentally sustainable

Metal Siding like Vinyl comes in a variety of colors and textures. It is costlier than vinyl and a little more difficult to install. It provides good protection from the elements, is long lasting, maintenance free, fire-resistant, and is recyclable at the end of its useful lifespan.

Wood Siding is available in shingles, clapboard, board and bat, and other styles. The clapboard siding is available in pre-finished colours. Wood siding gives your home a classic and rich look, and depending on the source of wood it can be an environmentally sustainable choice, but it does require maintenance and is costlier than vinyl or metal siding

Brick, stone and veneers come in a wide variety of colors and textures. It creates a classic and timeless look, is very durable,fire resistant, and maintenance free for an extended period. It is a costly choice, but if sourced locally can be a sustainable choice.

Fiber-cement Siding comes in either a brick, stucco, or wood look. It is a maintenance free siding, very durable and fire resistant. It is a costlier than vinyl or metal.

Stucco Siding is traditionally used on Mediterranean house exteriors. It can be painted any color and offers a choice of textures. It is a fire-resistant, and durable exterior. Stucco requires some maintenance to last the lifetime of the house.

Architectural Panels are another option that offers a great modern look and great durability.

11. Roofing:

Asphalt Shingles are the most common roofing material used in Canada. They are cost effective and available in different colors and styles. Asphalt shingles are not an environmentally sustainable choice because of their limited lifespan, resources required for production, and that they are generally not recycled. (Recycling is possible but the process is difficult and there are very few facilities.)

Metal Roofing is available in many colors, and as either sheet metal or metal shingles. It is very durable and fire resistant. The price of metal roofing is generally a little higher than asphalt shingles, but they last longer. The metal is recyclable at the end of its lifespan which makes it more environmentally sustainable than asphalt shingles.

Clay Tiles, like the stucco siding, creates a Mediterranean look. They are highly durable and maintenance free but are heavy and require an especially strong roof construction. If this is your choice it needs to be planned early on in the planning process.

Slate is very durable and fire resistant roofing material. It is available in different shades. Like the clay tiles slate is heavy and requires an especially strong roof construction and needs to be planned for early in the planning stages. Slate tiles last a long time and can be recycled.

Wood Shingles and Shakes give your home a rustic look.Depending on the climate, they do require maintenance. They are cost effective but might be prohibited in some areas due to fire hazard.

Rubber Shingles are a relatively little known product that are made from recycled tires. Rubber shingles are made to imitate slate or wood shingles. They are durable and maintenance free. These are likely the most environmentally sustainable choice as they are made from approximately 95% recycled material and are recyclable.

12. Windows and Doors:

PVC Windows are the most commonly used in Canada, as they are durable, versatile, and can be installed with all different types of siding.

Wood windows are commonly used in older homes, but are still manufactured for new homes. Wood windows require more maintenance than vinyl or aluminum windows. The wood frame provides better insulation than the PVC.

Aluminum windows have very slim frames and, therefore, more glass surface. Aluminum transfers the heat easily and is a poor insulator. They are more often used in commercial buildings.

Fiberglass windows are relatively new and not widely available. They are very durable and offer great energy efficiency, but tend to be costly.

Windows are available with different opening mechanisms or are fixed. Casement windows usually open toward the outside. The awning window is a type of casement window that hinges at the top (does not meet egress code for bedrooms); sash windows slide vertically; sliding windows slide horizontally; and the tilt and turn window can be opened like a casement or pivots in the center. Of course, having a fixed or picture window is another option for places where opening is not desired or possible.

Different glazing options are available for most windows and doors, and vary in terms of expense and efficiency. These options are not discussed here and are best discussed with your designer or window supplier.

Steel Doors are available in many different designs, with or without glass. They are durable, provide great security, and require minimal maintenance.

Fiberglass Doors are available in wood grains or solid colors, with or without glass. They are durable and energy efficient, but generally more expensive than a steel door.

Wood doors are timeless and beautiful. They offer good security, but require regular maintenance.

Once you have your materials for siding, roof, windows and doors selected, gather samples of each material and a few potential colors. Review the samples and color in daylight to make your decision.

Next week we will discuss interior finishes...

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