Exterior Wall Materials Used In Building Construction

Exterior walls can be finished with a wide array of materials and techniques. Exterior wall finishes can produce significant savings for the contractor and building occupant alike, and many options are available to protect from fire, extreme heat and cold. Browse through all of these options featuring advantages, tips, benefits and cost-saving solutions for materials used in building construction.

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Walls on Wildfire Zones

a picture of a wildfire surrounding a home

When an exterior wall ignites, the fire can spread to the roof, windows, doors, and other building components resulting in substantial damage or total loss of the structure. The resistance of exterior walls to burning and decay is directly related to the material used and the amount of fire ignition components in the surrounding areas.

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Gypsum Area Separation Walls

Fire rated separation walls assembly

Gypsum separation walls provide a 2-hour fire protection and serve well as noise reduction between neighboring units in multi-unit buildings. These walls can be used on constructions up to four stories in height and are compatible with standard floor to ceiling heights.

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Insulated Vinyl Siding

an example of vinyl siding
J. Rodriguez

Insulated vinyl siding offers a good, low-cost alternative to consider when planning your next construction project.

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Tilt-Up Walls

an example of a Tilt-up wall

Tilt-Up wall construction is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States.The methodology enables walls to be constructed elsewhere and transported to any project site, or to be built onsite, reducing labor conflicts and logistics. The process is aimed at reducing construction costs, speed the project and reduce labor congestion on site.

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OVE Framing

an example of OVE Wood framing
J. Rodriguez

Builders and contractors are starting to use this technique, which might require special training so can result in a decrease in framing speed until they become familiar with the system. The main idea behind Optimum Value Engineering is to maximize material usage while still meeting stringent code regulations and structural requirements.

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ICF Walls

an example of a Insulated Concrete Form
Insulated concrete forms. Vermont Insulated Concrete Forms

Insulated Concrete forms are a new method being used by contractors to qualify for energy credit and other types of ratings. Many home builders are using the most obvious and currently most popular alternative: Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs). 

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House Wrap Installation Tips

an example of a house wrap

House wrap is defined as all synthetic materials replacing sheathing paper. House wraps are a lightweight material wider than asphalt designs, allowing a faster installation procedure by builders and contractors.

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Common Cladding Alternatives

an example of a common wood cladding

Cladding has become one of the most popular alternatives for renovating the exterior of existing buildings. This solution provides a new look and new life to an old and weathered building, and can effectively generate savings in electricity when thermal and insulation issues are addressed. Cladding benefits are greatest when dealing with high story buildings, or buildings confined in a small site, where the demolishing process is deemed too difficult or infeasible.

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Brick Walls

a brick wall
J. Rodriguez

Brick is one of the most widely used materials in the construction and housing industry. Working with bricks can be a little tricky and confusing. Some contractors have paid the price for failing to execute a few simple steps, with costly reparations after the job has been completed.

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Insulated Wall Panels

an example of Structural Insulated Panel
NDSU Energy

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are used in floors, walls, and roofs providing an extremely durable, sustainable and energy-efficient high-performance material. Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are typically made by a plastic foam rigid insulation between two structural skin surfaces such as oriented strand boards (OSB).

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Supreme Steel Framing

an example of steel framing
Steel framing. FSNorthern region/Flickr

Supreme Steel Framing System is a relatively new framing material that presents several benefits when installing drywall. Supreme Steel Framing System testing assures its compliance with 2006 IBC code.

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Cinder Block Walls

a construction worker laying cinder blocks
Photo Courtesy Oregon DOT

Cinder block walls and concrete masonry block walls must be built carefully, following simple but necessary processes.