Archive for the 'Building Materials' Category

Living Well Link of the Week: PlanetReuse


You want reclaimed building materials in your project. Or, you have these materials to share. We find the best ways to make the connection. Your schedule and budget benefit, and so does the planet. PlanetReuse takes all the hard work out of incorporating reclaimed building material into projects around the globe. We guide you through every step of the process, matching materials to your needs.

Living Well Link of the Week: PlanetReuse

The Time is Right to Redo

an interesting article at supporting my recent article, The Very Hungry Contractor.

Prices for materials are dropping. Construction costs are moving lower as well. If you’re thinking about an addition or alterations, now is the time to get started.


Thanks for forwarding the link Bjorn.

Board and Batten Siding

While looking for more visuals of board and batten siding, I found a great post.

From Build Blog:

Board and batten siding is the underdog of siding systems, but we like it for the following reasons:

  • It has the potential to be visually clean and crisp
  • It has a timeless look and weathers nicely if implemented correctly
  • The system takes the natural expansion and contraction of materials into consideration
  • It’s been around for a long time, carpenters and siders are familiar with it
  • It’s durable

So why isn’t board and batten siding more prominent in modern architecture? A quick Google-image search suggests that most board & batten siding systems are associated with traditional architectures – country cottages and old leaning barns. The word “rustic” comes up often when researching board and batten systems. But technically the system has everything necessary to be a serious, modern strategy for siding. So the BUILD research and development team has put together a guide to board and batten siding systems.

Read more.

Materials World

This is one of the most useful links a designer will ever find.


Find your colors fast here at Materials-World. Whether your looking up the color of a paint, stain, siding, brick, stucco, shingle or a pantone color, we have thousands. Colors for the home. Quick find your chip color using the Google search bar up top. Thousands of charts and chips of house paints, stains, siding (vinyl, aluminum, fiber-cement), bricks, asphalt and fiberglass (fiber-glass) roofing shingles are here. Color accuracy of the chip-sample is not guarenteed – monitor color accuracy and brightness vary. If a high degree of accuracy is important you should get a sample, fan deck, swatch or palette from a store and view it under the lighting scheme where you will be using it. We have hundreds of product lines from dozens of manufacturers.

They even have a full collection of asphalt roofing swatches (Helen and Paul).

Living Well Link of the Week: Materials World


Thanks Mom.

Concreteworks Studio

Concreteworks is a design studio specializing in the craft of concrete. They’ve developed a lightweight concrete-based composite that allows them to fabricate countertops, bath tubs, sinks, tile, furniture and pretty much anything else they can dream up.

Living Well Link of the Week: Concreteworks Studio

The Maine Deck Bracket

The Maine Deck Bracket provides a nice solution for hanging a wood deck. This structural T6 aluminum bracket allows for a nice strong connection with minimal penetration. An air space between the deck and the house is created, which will keep the structural wood free of insects and water.


Maine Deck Brackets are rugged aluminum extrusions, specifically designed for proper attachment of stairs, decks, signs, porches, or any other appendage to buildings or other structural uses. Maine Deck Brackets  allow attachments without creating openings for water, debris, or insects to enter. Our system design is so unique, it’s protected by two patents!

For more installation photos, click here.

Thanks John.

A Message to Manufacturers

My friend Peter is a branding consultant. He’s been contracted by several large corporations (names we all know and love). He is developing a structure in which they promote their many brands to us consumers and design professionals. Occasionally, he’ll stop by the studio to pick our brains.

What makes us specify one product over another?

Well, after we contrast and compare all our options and create a shortlist of the products we like most, we look for CAD files and PDF product specs.

My message to manufacturers… make your products simple to spec. Give us CAD files. Give us cut sheets to share with our clients and give us a simple specification that we can email or print for the contractor. Don’t hide it at the back end of the site. Make it easy to find and make it easy to use.

If our short list includes two products and one gives us CAD file and the other doesn’t. Which do you think we are specifying?

Want a few examples of companies doing it right? Check out Kohler and Subzero/Wolf.

Dri-Design Wall Panels


Dri-Design is a dry joint, pressure equalized rain-screen, metal wall panel system. Panel manufacturing is highly automated and the installation is fast and simple, which makes Dri-Design an economical choice.

Dri-Design panels are available is a variety of materials and finishes, including Kynar painted aluminum, anodized aluminum, zinc, copper, stainless steels, embossed stainless steel, titanium and other custom finishes such as the Corten (rusty looking) steel pictured above.

For Julie and Il

These are a few photos of houses with standing seam roofs and metal siding. The first two photos show exposed beams at the eaves.

Cement vs. Cedar – Hardie Wins

I received this comment on James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding from Tom yesterday;

Been reading your blog. I really like it. I know you live in Chappaqua and you are a fan of fiber cement. I would like to hear your opinion about replacing wood clapboard siding with Hardie or building with Hardie in more affluent areas in Westchester, i.e. Chappaqua, Scarsdale etc, where there have been certain ’standards’ in place for years. Is there pushback?

Thanks for the comment Tom.

We have specified Hardie fiber cement siding products on several homes throughout Westchester County and have several more projects on the boards slated for Hardie siding.

For about a year it has been our standard spec for clapboard siding. The cost is comparable to cedar and it comes with a 50 year warranty (cedar doesn’t). It’s available with ColorPlus pre-finished coating in many popular colors. The ColorPlus coating has a 15 year warranty, so essentially its a low maintenance material as well.

The true test with any material is how it looks when its installed, and that is where this product really shines. When specified in the smooth texture (I’m not so keen on fake wood textures), it is virtually impossible to tell it apart from the more “traditional” cedar siding… even close up.  The only way to determine that it is not wood, is to give it a knock with your knuckles.

And to top off all the benefits of Hardie siding… it’s green too.

So, with all that going for it, it’s a “no-brainer” for our standard clapboard spec.

The Hardie shingle siding is a bit different. Although I still like it and specify it, my opinion is that the perfect consistency of the shingle spacing gives it away as a fake (if you know what cedar is suppose to look like). Most people are still fooled and all the other benefits listed above keep it on our materials list.

As for acceptance in the affluent towns of Westchester… we have had zero push back.  If they cannot see the difference, how can they complain?

Keep an eye out for Hardie’s newest siding product, Artisan architectural grade siding (pictured above). It is currently available in the Atlanta metro region only, but I’m sure it’s heading our way soon. It has all the benefits of their standard siding with a heavier profile and crisper edges. It looks fabulous!

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