5 Exterior Options for Your Home… Pros & Cons!

You’ve been residing in your 2500 sq. ft. two-story home for many years now. The interior boasts a lively living area adjacent to a quartz-clad kitchen with a must-have mudroom. The bedrooms possess features that turn them into a micro-home for each member of the family.

Your backyard plays host to an array of flowers in the form of orchids and milkweeds. A small basketball court along the side is the designated fun zone. And there’s that feeling of being a proud homeowner in New Jersey.

But what of the exterior? A close look at the outer finish of your home hits you right in the face. Cracks, algae, and dampness welcome you.

By now, you must have understood that the exterior detailing of your home is as crucial as the inside. Investing in the right type of exterior option at the right time could go a long way in prolonging the life of your home. If you consult any residential architect, they may strongly suggest a decent exterior option for your beloved home.

What are Exterior Finishes?

As the name suggests, exterior finishes act as a protective layer of outside covering for your home against weather elements, thereby adding years to its service life. These finishes also work as a decorative element for the house. Along with protection, exterior finishes may also add a smooth texture to your home.

The exterior finish will define the architectural style of your home, thereby making it a crucial decision. In simple terms, an exterior finish is the MVP when it comes to exterior home aesthetics.

Several varieties of exterior finishes are available in the market, such as brick, metal, etc. Different materials work well for unalike climates. Another benefit of choosing the right type of exterior finish may impact the resale value of your home.

Exterior Options for Your Home

Now that you know the basics; of exterior finishes, let’s get right to business. Take a look at the 5 Exterior Options for Your Home that could act as a long-term investment and influence the life of your home.


Siding acts as the first line of defense against the weather elements, thereby providing a more secure internal environment. The style and material of the siding are heavy-hitters when it comes to the aesthetics of your home. Siding is available in both natural and artificial materials, each with its benefits and downsides.

The most famous and reliable type is wood siding. It provides a natural look and is usually from pine, cedar, or spruce. Homeowners have the choice of utilizing the virgin texture of the wood or enhance it with paint.

The most recurrent profiles for wood siding are as follows:


If you want your home to exhibit a rustic yet modern look, then shingles could be the best exterior option for you. They are eco-friendly and could provide your home with the country look you desire.

Cedar and redwood result in the most efficient wooden shingles, which are then cut into several shapes.

  • Shingles provide your home with a natural look that allows it to blend with the country surroundings.
  • Shingles cost less in comparison to other siding materials such as stone.
  • Shingles require consistent maintenance.
  • The wood may warp or curl with time.
  • Dampness may give rise to algae or mold if not maintained properly.

Board and Batten

With the board and batten, exterior finish homeowners enjoy the flexibility of using different lengths of wood for aesthetic purposes. Redwood and cedars are the most common in use for the board and batten exterior finishes.

Alternately, you could also use vinyl or engineered wood for this type of exterior finish.

  • The typically vertical installation of this exterior finish makes the houses seem taller than usual.
  • The board and batten exterior finish is convenient to install and maintain.
  • Homeowners get to choose between vertical, horizontal, or a mixed installation of the wood boards as their exterior finish.
  • The board and batten finish in vinyl doesn’t rot and has a longer service life.
  • The wood may rot over a period.


Stucco is a material consisting of water, binder, and aggregates. The primary composition consists of cement, sand, and water. Portland cement forms a crucial component in enhancing the longevity of stucco.

Stucco has use as an exterior cement plaster finish. The exterior finish is more consistent when applied in the form of a base and a finish layer. This method is more consistent and quicker in comparison to the three-coat application.

Stucco requires stiffening through means of mesh and screws to the structural framework to avoid cracking. The most common way to conceal cracks is by applying a layer of pre-mixed acrylic finishes. These finishes enhance the appearance and prevent the formation of moisture passages behind the stucco.

The three-coat application of stucco works as follows:

  • The first layer or the scratch coat consists of cement and sand, which is allowed to cure completely before the application of the second coat.
  • The second layer is called the brown coat, which contains cement, sand, and lime. This coat is leveled smooth with help from several tools, which gives it the name of leveling coat. The curing for this coat lasts between seven to ten days, which accommodates the shrinkage.
  • The final exterior layer is called the finish coat. It can either be an acrylic-based finish up to 0.15 inches thick or a colored coat of sand, cement, and lime up to 0.12 inches thick.


  • Stucco is one of the few exterior finishes that are fire-resistant. This quality of the finish avoids the need to install fire retardants.
  • Stucco promotes insulation in homes, thus reducing the need for cooling or heating alternatives, thereby cutting down energy costs.


  • Stucco is highly susceptible to moisture and hence doesn’t function well in humid areas.


An exterior finish in brick could promote the aesthetical value of your home. Most homeowners prefer a brick finish for its timeless and classic appearance. Brick boasts being one of the traditional building materials on home exteriors.

Due to the durable nature of brick, structures built over decades ago are still standing in decent shape. Even after such lucrative properties, brick has witnessed a decline in use in contemporary construction.

However, those building new homes still consider brick to be their go-to for the exterior finish. A brick finish could provide your home with a merger of Arcadian charm and soulful elegance.

One of the drawbacks that come along with brick is its porous nature. It could result in the growth of mold or structural damage. However, it has a convenient solution in the form of drainage or weep holes.

A residential architect could guide you through the process with help from your general contractor.

Here’s how it works:

  • In the traditional manner of brick-laying, the contract will leave a one-inch gap between the bricks and the structure.
  • The contractor will then install a through-wall flashing under the course of the bricks with the taller side at least eight inches. This flashing will run the entire course of the brick.
  • The weep holes will either be in the first or the second course of the bricks. The contractor must take care to avoid the weep hole filling up with mortar.
  • Once near the roof, the contractor will use plastic vents instead of the through-wall flashing because the function has shifted to that of ventilation. The weep holes shall be at every fourth brick.


  • A brick exterior finish requires low maintenance.
  • If maintained properly, the brick finish may last up to a century or more.


  • The porous nature of bricks could cause excessive moisture build-up that may result in structural damages.


Natural stones, granite, slate, etc. are a few of the most popular exterior finishes in stone. The natural feel and appearance of the stone are why so many homeowners desire it on the exterior of their homes.

Although the initial costs are high, the service life is long and doesn’t require excess maintenance. However, several homeowners find the stone finish to be expensive and instead opt for cheaper stone veneers.

Limestone and granite are the perfect partners in crime for those who want the exterior of their home’s finish to possess a bold yet subtle texture and look. The more expensive natural stone may add somewhat of authenticity to your homes.

Natural stone is highly resistant to fire and weather conditions. Not even extreme weather can cause an inch of damage to it. (Talk about being expensive for a reason!).


  • Stone as an exterior finish doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.
  • It exhibits a luxurious appearance to the exterior of your home.
  • This exterior finish is weather resistant.


  • The cost of the material and the installation is expensive.

Mixed Finishes

The complex design of this house allows elaborate and articulate details in the form of shapes and volumes. The use of materials like metal, glass, and wood as exterior finishes in one entity adds to the enigma and aesthetic of the house.

Mixing materials to create new and unique palettes could be the genius of your residential architect. Gone are the days of sticking to the plain paint or the horizontal wooden boards for the exterior finish of your home.

The new era demands creativity through a combination of colors and materials.


  • Mixed finishes allow for creative freedom and aesthetic appeal to your home.


  • The initial cost of the materials and the installation may be higher.

Get Thinking…

Homeowners, it’s time for you to get out of your comfort zone and add a splash of uniqueness to your homes, and who better than your local residential architect to pair up with?

So think over the materials, contact the residential architect, come up with a mood board, and transform your home with the best of exterior options.