Planning is a key part of maintaining your home, although it's a lot harder than creating a grocery budget or setting aside money for car maintenance. Most homeowners aren't familiar with key home components and how often they need to be replaced. The easiest solution is replace materials with the same thing but how do you know which are the best home exterior materials? That's why we've put together this list to key exterior building materials to help you plan for future home updates.
A good rule of thumb for a home maintenance budget is 1 to 3% of your home's value, depending on how well the house has been maintained. Many expenses occur around 20 years in age, so if you haven't been saving or just bought a 20 year old house, you might need to set aside even more money.
Exterior Home Replacement Items
After safety, keeping your home dry is a top priority. When water penetrates your roof, siding or finds it's way inside your home, chances are the water won't dry. This creates an environment where wood rots and mold grows. Here are the critical components of your home's exterior, the envelope that keeps you and your home dry.
Roofing Material Choices
Roofs are subject to more wear and tear than any other part of your home's exterior. You should inspect your home every year and make repairs immediately to avoid more extensive damage. Once you reach half your roof's expected lifetime, get a professional to inspect the roof and learn how you can maximize your roof's useful life like re-coating a metal roof (read: Roofing Repairs or Replacement).
|Avg # Yrs||Roofing & Gutter Components|
|15 – 30 yrs||Asphalt shingles|
|15 – 30 yrs||Wood shingles|
|25 – 50 yrs||Metal roofs|
|50+ yrs depending on quality & weather||Tile roofing|
|50 – 100 yrs based on grade||Slate roof tiles|
|20 – 30 yrs||Gutters|
Home Exterior Materials: Siding
Most homeowners don't get to pick the type of siding on their house until it's time to replace what they have. When picking your siding materials (read: Popular Home Siding Varies by Region), here are a few things to consider:
- Maintenance costs as wood siding needs to be painted/stained several times to reach it's projected useful life.
- Compare siding costs (materials, installation and maintenance) over an equal period of time. For example, fiber cement siding might cost 30% more but if it lasts twice as long as another siding, it might actually be cheaper.
|Avg # Yrs||Siding Components|
|25 – 75 yrs, based on maintenance||Wood siding|
|20 – 50 yrs||Aluminum siding|
|25 – 50 yrs based on quality||Vinyl siding|
|50 yrs||Fiber cement siding|
|50+ yrs||Stucco siding|
|100+ yrs||Brick (real not decorative) siding|
Home Exterior Materials Include Windows
Window construction is just as important as the materials used. You should research the window performance criteria for your climate zone (check EnergyStar website) and where it makes sense, use double or triple pane windows that use gases for maximum energy efficiency (read: The Pros and Cons of Replacement Windows). Windows will also last longer if you're able to recess them, which will protect them from some of nature's wear and tear.
|Avg # Yrs||Houses Have Lots of Windows|
|30+ yrs||Wood windows|
|15 – 20 yrs||Aluminum windows|
|20 – 30 yrs||Vinyl windows|
|100 yrs (using door useful lifetime)||Fiberglass windows|
|10 – 20 yrs, depending on quality||Skylights|
|10 – 20 yrs||Window glazing that seals gaps between glass and the frame holding the glass|
Doors Are Also a Home Exterior Material
Exterior doors are prone to water damage when water splashes up from the flooring below. That's why it's important to inspect these doors every year and make repairs quickly to minimize the number of parts (especially patio doors) you need to repair or replace (read: Water & Wood Rot: Repair Rotted Wood Door Bottom). For those with wood doors, please make sure you paint all six (6) sides – front, back and all four sides … as too many people forget to paint the top and bottom.
Your house is built with so many different types of building materials, it can be hard to learn what works best where you live. Doors though, are one of the easiest home building materials to switch so consider how much maintenance you really want to worry about.
|Avg # Yrs||Exterior Doors – Front, Patio & Garage|
|100+ yrs||Wood doors|
|15 – 20 yrs||Fiberglass doors|
|30 yrs||Steel doors (fire rated)|
|20 yrs||Vinyl doors|
|10 – 20 yrs||Screen/storm doors|
|20 yrs||Sliding patio doors, although roller wheels will need repairs|
|20 – 50 yrs; door opener 10 yrs||Garage doors|
Building Materials for Decks, Walkways & Driveways
Like all other home exterior materials, decks and patios need to be installed correctly and maintained in order to reach their full useful life. Decks need to be cleaned and wood should also be sealed following product recommendations to maintain outdoor surfaces.
|Avg # Yrs||Exterior Decks, Patios, Walkways & Driveways|
|10 – 30 yrs||Structural wood providing support below deck|
|15 – 20 yrs||Pressure treated wood|
|10 – 25 yrs||Composite decking materials|
|25 yrs||Brick patios|
|25 yrs||Concrete walkways & driveways|
|10 yrs||Asphalt driveways|