Beauty of Low Maintenance

Materials that Stand Up to Northern Climates

When meeting with clients during the design process, we often get asked to use low maintenance products without compromising the design.  Almost everyone would admit that the beauty of a natural material like wood or shake is more aesthetic to the eye; however, the advantages of low maintenance materials is an appealing option to clients whose project may be a second home that is not as frequently used throughout the year.  They don’t want to spend their priceless summer days toiling over home improvement projects that not only require money, but precious time away from their family and fun.  Thanks to advances in building material technology, we now have a wide range of options to present to clients that capture the beauty of nature with the durability of steel and composite. Let’s explore a few options we’ve found to satisfy personal style preferences while also being functional.    

Wood Grain Without the Work

If you want the look of painted wood-grained siding without the hassle of refinishing your home every few years, composite siding products may be the answer.  There are a wide variety of brands like James Hardie and LP Smart Side that have the look and feel of wood and don’t break the budget. These products come in lap, shake and board and batten options providing a wide range of installation possibilities depending on the look and style you are trying to achieve.  

With Cottage Style and Farmhouse Chic gaining popularity, composite siding options have provided a great alternative finish to an otherwise high maintenance material. Add True Vent aluminum soffit for a tongue and groove painted look that is bright and beautiful.

Paneled Perfection

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If a more modern/transitional style of design is what you desire, James Hardie and LP also offer smooth large format panels that can be installed in a metal channel system to provide a seamless aesthetic.  This is a great alternative to stone panels that are often costly and require a more labor-intensive fastening system.  These panels are easy to handle and provide a stunning surface to highlight those sleek, modern details that are sure to set your home apart from the rest.  

The Look of Wood Built to Last

If you want your siding to not only feel like wood but look like it as well, then the steel siding market might have what you are looking for.  With a wide range of options and budgets, you can find a product to perform for years while being resistant to the things that harm it most like sun, weather and pests!  Quality Edge is a great cost-conscious option that offers 2 different profiles depending on the style of design you prefer.  Their TruCedar® Steel Siding line is available in lap siding profiles while their Vesta line provides a more tongue and groove finish.  Both options are made of steel and have a variety of woodgrain finishes to emulate the look of a stained product. 

Not to be outdone by the steel siding market, the composite manufacturers have come up with their own options to satisfy the homeowners’ desire for a stained appearance.  Nichiha is a manufacturer of composite products with finishes to emulate stain on a variety of siding profiles.  Their composite shake siding was used as gable accents on this stunning home transformation adding that touch of nature against a backdrop of modern architecture. 

Garage Door Glam

Attached garages are a necessary amenity when designing in our Northern climate and it’s not uncommon for them to become a prominent façade as you approach the home.   An ongoing challenge for any designer is how to make the overhead garage doors an appealing part of the architectural design.  For years our only options were either an unattractive steel door with minimal panel options and limited colors or a custom wood door that often brought with it a price tag that was as unattractive as the prolonged maintenance and adjustment that are required to keep the doors operating properly and looking their best.  A solution to this design dilemma was the introduction of a thermal steel overhead door that performed like its sturdy predecessor but provided the high-end look of a wood grain finish.  Along with the introduction of new wood-grain colors, more panel options have become available giving you the look of a true carriage-style door made popular by their real-wood counterparts.  A practical solution to an otherwise unattractive opening. 

Durable Decking

Low maintenance is of highest concern for the horizontal surfaces of home design.  Decks and railing components are a magnet for sun exposure, rot and prolonged deterioration due to our weather and extreme temperature shifts throughout the seasons. These outdoor spaces are often extensions of the interior of our homes and warrant a finish that is going to stand up to harsh elements and maintain their color and finish like the day they were first installed. 

The introduction of composite decking, a product that has been on the market for many years, satisfied that niche as a high-quality replacement for traditional Cedar. Until recently, their finish options were limited to solid colors and monochromatic texture.  To satisfy the consumers desired for a more natural look, Azek and Trex have both developed product lines that appeal to customers looking for a realistic wood alternative with tonal color changes and graining to emulate natural wood.  These lines offer differing price points to appeal to every consumer’s budget, making composite decking a great solution for low maintenance surfaces.  

Rot-Resistant Railings their decking products, Azek and Trex also offer railing systems made from composite materials resistant to rot and decay.  These railing systems provide a great solution for low maintenance with a look to match their decking counterparts.  If you are looking for a railing that stands out and makes a statement; however, perhaps a metal railing system is a good option.  Also rot, fade and decay resistant, these metal railing systems provide a more see-through modern feel for an otherwise rustic outdoor space.  Westbury is a great cost-effective product line to give you an upscale look for a competitive price.  Want a more unique solution with a modern flare.  Custom railing systems with glass or cable panels are other options to provide high style with low maintenance care.   

So, when you are dreaming about your designing and building a custom home, think about low maintenance alternatives. Nor-Son Custom Builders can source numerous options to get you the architectural style you desire.