Low-Maintenance Exteriors – Our Top 5

Unless you are a born and breed handyperson type, you would probably want to have the exterior of your home as maintenance free as possible.  While no exterior material is truly maintenance free, you can have a low-maintenance home.  Here’s our Top 5 for low-maintenance exteriors:

5. Silicone Caulk

Not much excitement here, just good old-fashioned performance from a high-tech product.  When it comes to the exterior of your home, water is the number 1 enemy.  Individual materials can be very resistant to water damage, but their weakness is where they meet another material.  Sound construction techniques and caulking are key components for most of these situations.  Silicone caulks are long lasting; up to 35 years in some cases.  Silicone caulks are not perfect: they’re expensive and most can’t be painted.  There are, however, enough colors available to fit most any color scheme.

4. Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is certainly more expensive, initially, but can last 2 to 4 times as long as asphalt shingles.  A properly installed metal roof can last 50 years or more.

3. PVC Trim

If the design of your home calls for painted trim, consider PVC trim.  While initially more costly than wood, PVC trim out-performs wood in many ways:

  • PVC trim is insect resistant
  • PVC trim won’t rot, splinter or check
  • PVC trim has no knots
  • PVC trim does not have to be painted.  If you choose to paint it, the paint will last longer because PVC trim does not absorb moisture.

2. Clad Windows and Doors

Some windows with vinyl cladding rely on caulk joints where the individual cladding components meet.  Inspect these yearly.  Weather stripping can fail, especially the threshold sweeps on doors.  Otherwise little maintenance is required

1. Full Masonry Exteriors

Brick and stone exteriors do not require much in the way of maintenance:

  • Don’t allow vines to grow on them
  • Don’t allow weep holes to be blocked. Weep holes, located at grade level, above doors and above and below windows, allow moisture to drain from behind brick veneers.  Over time, mulching in landscape planting beds can block weep holes, which, in turn, can lead to spalling (damage to the face of brick occurring during freeze-thaw cycles)
  • Over time mortar will degrade and needs to be repaired (pointed up).  Generally mortar will last between 25 and 50 years before needing to be replaced.  The areas most vulnerable are near grade where splashing from rain keeps the brick and mortar wet
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