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    Exciting Exteriors

    THERE’S AN OLD PROVERB THAT RELAYS, “IT’S WHAT’S ON THE INSIDE that matters most.” While important in most facets, with homebuilding it’s also important to consider the outside. If you’re just starting the process and drowning in literature regarding exterior choices, take a deep breath and relax. Designer Dream Homes™ understands the cumbersome process associated with researching the myriad of materials on the market today. In the following pages, we break down these choices to assist you in capturing your personal style and make it easier by bringing some of our favorites directly to you. Framing your home is about more than just choosing a material for the exterior. It’s an exciting, creative process that lets you be the driver in designing your ultimate dream home.

    When it comes to building a house, choosing an exterior used to be cut and dried for most people: brick or siding. Now the choices have expanded to also include stucco and stone, all of which create impressive exteriors. While other materials are growing in popularity, brick has always been rich in tradition. It’s not only sturdy and safe, but also a great insulator and prominent resale factor. Working to enhance windows and sculpt the outer shell of your home, brick has now become an architect’s tool in designing elaborate exteriors. Quoins (stepped out groupings of brick courses) are a popular way to intensify the corners of the home, while walkways are increasingly trading cement for brick. Curved, brick keystones can also augment decorative transoms.

    Brick was traditionally thought to be only available in deep red shades, minimizing the choice of color for your home. Today brick comes in intense hues made from some of the best materials available. Not only are earth tones apparently popular, but brick texture is all the rage.

    Brick manufacturer, Hanson Brick, offers more than 1000 different styles that include the “heritage-looking” bricks for consumers who want an Old-World look for their home. While some people enjoy wading through old building sites and lumber yards looking for aged bricks, Hanson makes a reclaim look-alike or tumbled brick. Simon Bates, operations vice president at Hanson Brick said, “The advantage of these simulated ‘heritage look’ bricks is that they are made from new, raw materials and haven’t been distressed, as an original heritage brick may have been.” This worn look gives a new house historical charm.

    If your creative scope limits you to paint-by-numbers and you’re unable to imagine what the colored brick might look like as a finished product, Hanson Brick offers consumers the opportunity to log onto their Web site ( and choose from several collections and colors. Fusing technology with today’s needs, Hanson Brick’s Web site is a futuristic playroom of options, enabling consumers to apply various brick colors to a virtual home.

    While brick has always been a favorable commodity, were you aware that vinyl siding no longer means dull pastel colors or inexpensive-looking finishes? Not only available in wide color ranges, several styles and finishes, vinyl siding is extremely durable and cost effective. Immune to rain, cold and snow, it won’t need painting, and it won’t decay, peel or dent.

    This durable material is not only for building new homes, but can also be used to update a home, giving it an immeasurable resale factor. According to CertainTeed, a building materials manufacturer of vinyl siding, re-siding a home is among the top ten remodeling projects in terms of overall payback. Re-siding with vinyl can return 100% or more of your investment. So take a minute to get to know one of our favorite collections in vinyl siding, the versatile façade of the future.

    CertainTeed Cedar Impressions® Double 9” Rough-Split Shakes are the newest members of the Cedar Impressions® family of cedar-shingle style polymer siding. With a 9” exposure and rich, deep cedar shake texture, Cedar Impressions® shakes give homes a natural look without the expense and heavy maintenance of wood.

    Just as with brick, the current rage in siding is applying an Old-World look to a new home. “Cedar Impressions® gives building professionals the freedom to choose Old World- style siding with the durability and maintenance-free characteristics that come only with modern-day materials,” said Walt Hoyt, Director of Marketing Communications for CertainTeed’s Siding Products Group. “The new Double 9” Rough-Split Shakes panel expands the design possibilities of the Cedar Impressions® product line with another easy-to-install panel that can be used for full wall coverage or as an accent,” said Hoyt.

    Also available from Certain-Teed is the efficient True-Comfort® Insulated Siding in Wide Board Wood Style. While brick has always been a natural insulator, the TrueComfort® Insulated Siding is engineered to allow the escape of moisture, decreasing the potential for mold growth. Its rigid foam backing also enhances interior acoustics by helping to block exterior noise.

    “Beyond its classic curb appeal, the strength and durability of TrueComfort® Insulated Siding provides homes with powerful protection from the elements,” Hoyt said. So whether you fancy a traditional brick look or prefer the versatility available with siding, exterior choices are far more fun and exciting than our parents’ days of homebuilding.

    Now that you’re able to unbuckle a couple of belt loops and breathe a little, let’s take a minute to explore roofing. Crowning your exterior be-comes a new challenge if you try to tackle all of the selections at once, but it’s also a refreshing foray into foreign water if you pictured boring, gray shingles as your only option.

    Owens Corning’s Berk-shire® Collection shingles offer more than an eye-catching roof—they help you create a beautiful home. Available in several natural slate-like colors and textures, the collection adapts to your home’s surroundings to develop an attractive, impressive look.

    As with all their color selections, the Sherwood Beige blends four shades in unique color tabs, making a stellar statement. The shingles are compatible with a variety of architectural styles and exteriors. Pictured here capping both siding and stone, the Berkshire® Collection enables you to truly design your dream home.

    Or if you’re in the mood to create a completely different impression, perhaps capture a Spanish or Mediterranean flavor, consider tile as a roofing option. No longer just red and round, concrete tile is becoming increasingly flexible in its simulation of natural, traditional roofing material. MonierLifetile Madera is a new tile profile that perfectly replicates natural cedar shakes—combining the rustic look of real shake with the long-term, functional benefits of concrete tile. Consider the stunning look of combining the cedar shake roofing with the CertainTeed® Cedar Impressions siding. Create your very own rustic retreat or mountain dream home.

    The allure of a MonierLifetile roof isn’t just about aesthetics but also about performance and value. Their roof tiles are tested and approved for superior protection that could even reduce insurance costs. With our weather system’s recent history, it appears no region is safe from Mother Nature, so knowing tile roofs have withstood inclement climates for years provides peace of mind for its inhabitants. Safe in extreme weather, tile roofs appeal to many coastal and mountain residents.

    We’ve created the ability to picture some possibilities for the outer edifice of your future home, so now let’s talk windows. The “eyes” of your home, windows provide an instant weather report and your connection to the outside. They are often the very livelihood of a home, providing a frame for views no painting can recreate. Windows are more than just a decorative opening to usher in light; they help to create the character of your façade.

    Energy efficiency is a large factor in deciding a window type, and the climate in which you live plays a big part in determining the right products. In warmer locations, solar heat gain takes precedence over conductive heat transfer for energy efficiency, so a high insulating frame is not as big a factor as in colder climates. It is important however, to examine the energy performance ratings on various window choices.

    Energy Star, a government-backed program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency, uses U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) ratings to qualify windows based on four regions in the US: Northern, North Central, South Central and Southern. The U-Value is the measurement of how well a building material, like a window, will keep heat inside of a building or home in an hour’s time. The lower the U-Value, the better the insulation. Energy Star’s qualifying windows are efficient for the region in which you live and reduce energy bills, which is an attractive attribute for any homebuilder.

    Another appealing characteristic of windows is the ability to dress them up. Rectangle, grid-like structures are great for children’s art classes, but windows now come in classy, unique styles to accent all types of exteriors. Vetter® Windows and Doors wood windows provide homebuilders with high-quality standard features and refined options. Durable and flexible, wood is a widely available material that can be molded into various creative shapes.

    Homebuilders have their choice of multiple wooden interior selections, with the Vetter® Window such as standard pine, or a hardwood species that includes mahogany, oak, cherry, alder and maple. In addition, the product line features a variety of window types including double hung, casement and awning windows, all ready to stain, seal or paint to match any home’s décor.

    Also from Vetter® is their ProV™ 200 series: a premium collection of vinyl windows and patio doors with a classic look. ProV™ 200 products are made from select PVC containing high-impact, acrylic modifiers and UV stabilizers that protect the vinyl from fading due to the elements. The versatile casement window is often combined with other windows to create one-of-a-kind designs. For those who want to take it a step further, consider the Special Shape Window collection, also from ProV™ 200. Specialty shapes feature energy-efficient, one-piece frames. Available in a plethora of shapes, like Trapezoid, Eyebrow and Hexagon, the Special Shape Windows brighten opportunities to let the light in.

    If windows are the eyes of a home, visualize the door as the gateway to getting to know a person better. It’s a threshold often viewed as the crossover into someone’s life. Just as facial expressions display personality, the front door speaks volumes about the people inside.

    What does your door say about you? Are you interested in creating a warm, friendly environment when welcoming guests? Do you rarely use your front door and view it as more of an accessory to the front façade? Therma-Tru® Doors have created a way to blend a comfortable feel to an attractive entrance.

    Therma-Tru® Doors Classic- Craft® Rustic Collection blends Old-World charm with innovation. As mentioned earlier, homebuilders are currently trying to capture the flavor of yesterday. Therma-Tru® Doors Rustic Collection combines the look of fine-grain panels and arches with modern materials and technology to ensure lasting beauty and performance. The styling reflects the warm and inviting entryways of Tuscany and the American Southwest, with strong, simple lines and the look of handcrafted quality.

    The Rustic-style door system delivers thermal performance and lasting durability that won’t warp, crack, rot or split like real wood. “We are constantly looking at new architectural styles and designs that meet the needs of builders, remodelers and homeowners,” said John Kufner, Product Line General Manager, Entry Door Systems, for Therma-Tru® Doors. He continued, “The Rustic style is an excellent example of how we can integrate advanced materials and innovative manufacturing techniques with unique design to produce door systems that elevate the presence and performance of the home.”

    When building a home, its perceived value and curb appeal are also big factors in deciding what materials to use. Therma-Tru® and NFO Worldwide conducted research which found that an enhanced entryway can add as much as $24,000 to the value of the home—five times the cost of the entry system.

    When choosing external accessories, nothing makes a statement like columns. Pronounced and stately, columns exude refinement. They give a house a sense of grandeur, be it full two-story columns or the popular, smaller ones.

    DuraCast Round Fiberglass Columns by Dixie Pacific are designed for all types of decorative and load-bearing installations. Their round columns feature architecturally correct proportions, decorative capitals, and plain and fluted shafts that are decay resistant. Perfect for both indoor and outdoor use, DuraCast round fiberglass columns are insect and weather resistant and require little maintenance. If you’re in the market to make a bold statement, the rounded columns portray a traditional, grand feel. Dixie Pacific also offers the DuraCast square fiberglass columns. Offering strength, beauty and versatility, the square columns are easy to install need little work. When crafting an exterior, nothing implies tradition like columns.

    Just as columns make a statement, so can garage doors. While once thought to only house your vehicle, garages past have been typically boring in design and uniform in function. Many people don’t even consider a garage door as a way to spice up your exterior, but dual garages separated by brick partitions are currently popular, as well as doors that don’t even resemble a garage.

    The Reserve Collection custom line from Clopay allows homeowners to create just about any garage door they can imagine. Available in a variety of woods, the Semi-Custom line features six historically accurate carriage house designs in three wood species and three window designs. The doors can be painted or stained to complement any exterior color scheme. A center groove and optional decorative antique iron hardware simulate the appearance of a swing-out door, but function like modern roll-up doors with electric garage door openers.

    Building a home should be an exciting experience. Whether you decide to use brick or siding, stone or stucco, the exterior choices mentioned above are excellent insulators and versatile materials. When choosing a roof, it is important to consider the ambience you are trying to capture. As with roofing, location and climate are also important when considering window choices. Keep in mind how energy efficient windows can be when it comes time to make a selection.

    Remember, too, when wanting to create an additional presence to your home, columns come in several sizes, shapes and finishes. Crowned with decorative capitals, columns can transform a traditional home into a country farmhouse, or give a modern home the look of an Old-World estate. Garage doors also function as decorative tools when creating the overall look of your exterior.

    The exterior of a home is its countenance; the first thing people see when they visit. More importantly, it’s what you see every time you walk outside or come home. If you can’t feel good about the outside, how can you be comfortable on the inside? What works best for you is all a matter of personal style and taste, but the products described in this compendium are some of the finest on the market for creating exciting exteriors.

    HOME STYLES: The products featured in this article are designed to better assist you in achieving the overall style of home. Below are brief descriptions of several popular homebuilding styles.


    Small and easy to build with a square floor plan, these homes feature gables and usually one large middle dormer. Historically less than 1200 square feet, the Bungalow became popular in California as simple and affordable middle-class housing.


    Symmetrical and easy to build, the Colonial dates back to historical New England. While there is typically no porch, these two-story homes feature bedrooms on the second level.


    Usually broken up into categories reflecting the decade in which they were designed, Contemporary homes are a mirror of what’s currently popular. Contemporary 70’s homes feature clerestory windows and large overhangs on just two sides of the home. Solar adaptation is a key feature. Contemporary 80’s feature trendy details that are strong in geometric shapes.


    Country homes feature a large front porch with open rail and typically two or three dormers on the roof. The homes appear to be small and quaint regardless of the actual square footage.


    Usually featuring natural materials such as wood or stone, Craftsman homes are cozy with stone-based porches and columns that taper as they ascend. Exposed beams and shed dormers are also popular attributes.


    Typically featuring a hipped roof or double gables, European homes use a lot of stone and stucco and are very dramatic. They often include turrets and usually feature a lot of architectural detail.


    An adaptation of the Country home, a porch wraps around the Farmhouse with one main roof covering the main body of the home. Clapboard typically covers the Farmhouse’s exterior, while the roof breaks to a shallower pitch at the porch.


    Typically featured in warm climates, Mediterranean homes use lots of windows and an open floor plan. Stucco siding and tile roofs are also popular elements.


    Often a single-level home with a low pitched roof that runs parallel to the road, Ranch-style homes tend to be long and narrow.


    Striving for a grand appearance, a Traditional home calls for brick, stucco or stone, and usually does not have a porch. Covered entryways are a prominent feature.


    The Victorian exterior is historically composed of clapboard, while lattice work, decorative railing and gingerbread detailing are defining elements. Most Victorians have several roof lines and pitches, and often have octagonal turrets.

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