Best Home Exterior Finishes in Alberta 

Your home keeps the wind, moisture and cold out. Exterior finishes come in a variety of styles, materials and price points.  But which ones are best? In this article, our experts will advise on the best home exterior finishes in Alberta as well as other measures to best protect your home. 

Exterior Finishes in Alberta 

The most common exterior finishes in Alberta are vinyl, stucco, overlapped wood and metal. These finishes protect your home but also have very different aesthetics. Below, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each finish.  

Row of new townhomes all with vinyl siding.

Vinyl Siding 

Vinyl siding is the most common exterior finish in Alberta, largely due to its affordability and available colours and styles. It’s also low maintenance, resistant to mould and easy to install. However, vinyl is vulnerable to hail and is not the most fire-resistant exterior finish. Dark colours can also fade. 

Stucco and stone home.

Stucco 

Stucco is also quite common in Alberta. It usually a mixture of cement, sand, limestone, water and additives. It is usually installed over a layer of hard foam to add insulation or a vapour layer. Stucco is long-lasting, durable, sound-resistant and requires little maintenance. It can come in a variety of colours and textures but is more expensive than vinyl. 

Large luxury wood home with asphalt shingles.

Wood 

Natural wood is used as a siding or feature element on home exteriors. In Alberta, it is often cedar, pine or engineered wood. This finish is very high maintenance and can be very expensive. You need to recoat and reseal the wood periodically. It can last if looked after but if not maintained can be susceptible to mould and deterioration. Wood also offers less fire protection and may not be allowed in some jurisdictions. 

Large home with attractive metal siding.

Metal 

Metal is becoming more common in Alberta as it is low maintenance, durable and long-lasting. Plus it’s energy-efficient and can be recycled in some cases. It also offers a lot of options for colours and styles – it can even be made to look like wood! However, metal is much more expensive than vinyl and can be dented and toughed to repair.  

Hardie or Cement Board 

Hardie board is similar to stucco. It is made out of cement, sand and cellulose fibres. It’s long-lasting, durable and can be finished in a variety of colours and styles. It’s low maintenance, keeps mould away, and is fire resistant. It’s easy to install although more complicated and expensive than vinyl.  

Fibre Cement 

Fibre cement is a mixture of water, wood pulp, fly ash or silica sand, and cement. It is generally made to mimic the aesthetic of natural wood. It’s durable and long-lasting but can be expensive and difficult to repair. This type of siding is not common in Alberta. 

Brick and stone home.

Brick or Stone 

Brick and stone are commonly used as a veneer in Alberta but some homes also use structural brick or stone. This exterior finish can be very hardy, long-lasting, fire and noise-resistant and aesthetically pleasing with minimal maintenance – if installed properly. If not installed correctly, bricks can move, cracks can form, mortar can deteriorate and moisture can build up. Brick and stone are also more labour intensive and much more expensive than vinyl.  

The Best Exterior Finish in Alberta 

There is no one single best exterior finish in Alberta, although stucco, hardie or cement board or metal offer more protection without driving up costs too much.  

Regardless of which exterior finish you choose, it’s important that installation is done properly. Otherwise, you will likely deal with issues around moisture and maintenance. 

A large home that has just had its house wrap layer completed.

Underneath the Exterior Finish 

Most homes in Alberta are wood frame and should be encapsulated in a material called house wrap. This is a thin water-resistant membrane that helps keep water out of your home. There are a variety of house wrapping materials used but the key point for all of them is that they’re installed correctly. Otherwise, it can trap moisture and cause mould 

Depending on the exterior finish you choose and the construction of your home (such as if it is not a wood frame), you may not require this layer.  

Double-paned window open to let fresh air circulate. There is a plant on the sill and trees visible outside.

Windows 

Windows are a part of your home’s exterior finish. Most windows in Alberta are double-paned. If you want even better energy efficiency, you can get triple-pane windows and use gas between panes to improve insulation.  

It is not recommended to have single-pane windows due to condensation and lost heat.  

Regardless of your window type, it should be properly installed as otherwise, the window can allow water inside to damage your home and cause mould growth.  

Installing a new roof on a home.

Roofing 

Roofing is also an exterior finish on your home and arguable the most important one. The most common type of roofing in Alberta is the asphalt shingle. While affordable, easy to install, and available in many styles, asphalt shingles also have the shortest lifespan, have little insulation and are easily damaged by hail.  

Alternatives to the asphalt shingle are all more expensive but also much more durable. We recommend metal, clay or slate tiles, and rubber as better alternatives. Avoid wood and shake roofing as it is expensive, prone to mould and not fire-resistant. 

The exterior of a large house and front garden covered in snow.

Exterior Grading 

Finally, the exterior grading of your home can contribute to the effectiveness and longevity of your exterior finishes. Improper grading can damage your foundation and exterior as well as result in water getting into your home. Ensure your yard slopes away from your home (preferably at least 2.5 centimetres of drop every 30 centimetres of distance). You should also have your downspouts drain at least two metres from your home and regularly clean your eaves.  

If you have window wells, a barrier should go above the soil line. The well itself should be graded away from the window and be filled with gravel and have a pipe drain. 

Exterior Finishes and Your Home Insurance in Alberta

Your insurance rates are calculated by the likelihood that you will make a claim. Therefore, certain types of exterior finishes may lower your home insurance rates as you are less likely to have a claim. Some finishes may even provide you with a discount 

Talk to your insurance broker if you are thinking of replacing or upgrading any of your home’s exterior finishes. They’ll be able to advise you which would be most beneficial for protecting your home and impacting your insurance rates. 

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