Canadian Contractor

Dave Gray   

Iron Clad, Climate change and changing tastes have inspired a host of exterior material options

Renovation Contractor

Choosing exterior materials has never been an easy task for either homeowners or contractors.

Choosing exterior materials has never been an easy task for either homeowners or contractors. That’s because what goes on the outside of the house has to be functional, durable, and aesthetically pleasing as well. The challenge for manufacturers has been to keep up with evolving architectural styles while continuing to push technological boundaries to come up with materials that install faster, work better, last longer, and stay good looking.

Whether your focus is function, durability, style – or all three, there are plenty of innovative exterior materials on the market that will fit your bill. Here are a few of the latest options.

Hurricane Helpers

The durability test for exterior materials has certainly been made tougher by the impact of climate change. More severe weather of all kinds – heat, cold, wind, and rain – promises to put additional strain on exterior building materials in the coming years, and expose materials that aren’t up to the challenge. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, back in the 1990s severe weather and wildfires caused about $100-million in structural damage each year; by 2008 that number reached $1-billion annually and has stayed at or above that level every year since but one, peaking in 2018 at $1.8-billion. Luckily, product manufacturers have taken up the challenge posed by extreme weather.


High Performance Asphalt Shingles

If you’re building in an area prone to high winds, IKO’s Nordic line of heavy-duty laminated shingles may be worth the investment. These polymer-modified asphalt shingles incorporate a number of features designed to keep them in place in hurricane-force winds up to 209 km/h as well as provide Class 4 impact protection from damaging hail. A reinforced 3.17-cm “Armourzone” nailing surface resists pull-through, while a sealant strip helps to bond shingles together to resist wind uplift, water penetration, and blow-off. Available in nine colour palettes, Nordic shingles are made to emulate wood shakes or slate tiles.

Storm-Rated Windows and Doors

While tornadoes and hurricanes may be a bigger issue in certain regions, persistent high winds may be reason enough to consider storm-rated windows and doors. Andersen Windows & Doors markets a line of products designed and tested to withstand the most severe coastal weather conditions, where corrosion and high winds are the norm. Andersen’s A-Series doors and windows feature corrosion-resistant composite materials, hidden structural reinforcements, and Low-E, impact-resistant glass that incorporates a reinforced plastic laminate core that helps maintain the integrity of the structure even if the glass is broken. Depending on where the home is located, certain options can be included or left out of custom orders or satisfy local code requirements.

Building Wrap

Of course, the quality of the building exterior isn’t just about what you can see. DuPont’s Tyvek DrainVent Rainscreen creates a 6-millimetre space behind the exterior cladding to allow for water drainage and air circulation. The honeycomb textured design of DrainVent helps protect against dampness that can lead to mould, rot, cracking, and peeling behind a range of exterior cladding materials including stucco, stone veneer, brick, wood, fibre cement, and metal panels.


Even the best windows and doors need quality waterproofing around the opening to function properly. TAMKO Building Products’ innovative new Flash-N-Wrap Pro waterproofing wrap is designed to create a tight seal around entryways and windows to keep air and moisture out and improve overall energy efficiency. Available in four-, six-, and nine-inch rolls, Flash-N-Wrap Pro has a treated release film on the adhesive side of the flashing that can be left exposed to the elements for up to 180 days.


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