5 Innovative Materials to Weatherproof Your House
No matter where in the country you reside, weather will be a threat to undermine your home. Whether it be heavy moisture along the coasts, extended sun in the southwest, brutal winds across the plains, or snow in the mountain regions, homes must be constructed to withstand the forces of nature. With this in mind, the following breakdown looks at 5 materials that can be of benefit to those looking to create a weatherproof house.
1. ICF Framing
Insulated concrete forms (ICF) are one of the most innovative framing solutions on the market for creating a weatherproof home. Fabricated from hollow foam blocks stacked together and reinforced with steel rebar and cased in concrete, ICF leverages all of the natural durability properties of concrete and beefs them up to the next level. Among the ways that ICF framing helps beat the elements include:
- Provides an inorganic framing solution that is highly resistant to water, fire, or pest damage
- Has an extremely high thermal mass, helping ensure that interior temperatures remain stable during times of extreme hot or cold
- A solid, one-piece fabrication that does not provide small cracks through which air can travel
While ICF has impressive weather-resistant properties in and of itself, there are some ways that you can take your protection even further. For example, you may want to add a waterproof membrane to your foundation walls or any other places where your ICF extends below grade. In addition, you may also want to consider steps to waterproof stucco or seal any other type of above-grade cladding if you live in an area of heavy precipitation. This will help ensure the tightest building envelope possible.
2. Exterior Drainage
Weatherproofing a home starts on the exterior, making landscape drainage solutions a critical component in fortifying your house from the elements. Exterior moisture is not only a threat to undermine the home’s foundation and building envelope, but it can also cause fading and other types of exterior damage that greatly reduce a home’s curb appeal. Some ways to ensure that water does not damage your home’s exterior include:
- Landscaping your lawns so that water flows away from the house. Also make sure that there are no havens for standing water.
- Installing a gravel driveway using innovative permeable pavers to hold the gravel in place while leveraging gravel’s natural drainage properties.
- Using slot or grate drains for any concrete surfaces to keep water from flowing over the top of concrete and eroding nearby areas.
- Building extended roof overhangs so that rushing water that misses your gutters falls well away from the home’s foundation.
3. Hurricane Resistant Windows
Even if you don’t live in an area where hurricanes are a threat, there are still plenty of reasons to install hurricane rated windows in your house. This type of heavy-duty window is equally effective against tornadoes, blizzards, and any other form of extreme weather as it is against tropical storms. Rated to withstand winds of up to 250 MPH and projectile objects traveling 100 MPH, hurricane windows can transform your windows from an area of a possible breach to one of the most weatherproof aspects of the entire house. In addition to the elite weather protection and durability, hurricane windows can be manufactured in a wide array of styles to enhance the curb appeal of many different types of homes.
4. Composite Roofing
The most common roofing products, such as asphalt shingles and wood shakes, are known to fail in the face of inclement weather in as little as 15 years. Asphalt has a tendency to blister when confronted with heavy precipitation and degrade from extended UV exposure. Wood shakes will absorb moisture, swell, and crack if not regularly treated and maintained.
As such, a superior option is composite roofing tiles fabricated from a mixture of asphalt, recycled paper, and fiberglass. This innovative roofing solution is rated to last at least 50 years and offers the highest impact resistance in the industry, protecting the roof from heavy rains and tempestuous winds. Composite roofing will not break down in the face of UV exposure, making it a great choice for sunny regions, as well.
5. Metal Siding
Like roofing, siding is another critical element of the building envelope that will constantly be put to the test by inclement weather. And like roofing, some of the most popular products are not necessarily the best in terms of weather resistance. Wood planks must be regularly painted or treated to prevent swelling and cracking. The same can be said for brick and masonry, which needs to be sealed to prevent moisture absorption. Vinyl is hailed as a waterproof product, and while it does repel water when new, it can become brittle and fade due to UV exposure.
Therefore, an increasingly popular option is steel siding. While a bit more expensive than some other siding choices, steel is without a doubt the most durable siding choice on the market, protecting the home from moisture, wind, and fire. Modern steel can also be fabricated in a number of attractive designs and colors that make it nearly indistinguishable from wood, brick, and any other appearance you may desire.
Choose Superior Materials for a Durable Home
The forces of nature can be diverse, meaning that modern building materials must be designed to withstand a wide variety of conditions. Some materials are better suited to the task than others. To this effect, ICF framing, exterior drainage solutions, hurricane windows, composite roofing, and metal siding are 5 innovative materials that can help you weatherproof your house.
Brian Jeffries is the content director for the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.