Exterior Finishes

I wanted to create a short post to talk about exterior finishes and why we chose them.


  • Brick – a green material that is highly durable.  Brick can last for decades with minimal maintenance.  Our brick was made locally so transportation costs were minimal both in dollars and carbon footprint.
  • Concrete board – also a green material and highly sustainable.  This product looks contemporary, can be used for multiple applications (both on the outside walls and in the exterior sofits).  This material is also very affordable and easily replaced if a board gets broken.  The photo above shows the concrete board and Cedar Siding on the garage/studio structure (I decided I had posted too many photos of the front of the house lately!).
  • Cedar siding – a fairly green material.  We debated about how much wood to put on the exterior.  The result was a moderate amount – enough to make the home’s exterior aesthetically pleasing.  This material is sustainable and long-lasting.  Also, we opted for a “non-clear cedar”, meaning we decided to have a large number of knots in the wood.  While the prevailing wisdom is that clear cedar is more pleasing to the eye, I like the more informal look of the knotted cedar that we used.
  • Metal – green and durable as well.  We have metal windows, a metal roof, and metal sheathing around the top of the house and around the front window structure. 

These selections – along with our energy-efficient windows – create an environmentally-friendly fascade that is also aesthetically pleasing. 

The paints and stains on the exterior of the house are not low VOC.  We decided to use low VOC on all interior paints and stains, but not on the exterior.  We were looking to save a little bit of money and chose to go traditional.  LEED is very concerned with interior air quality and not so concerned with exterior finishes.