The Home's Exterior...

The exterior of a home has a very unique job and is probably the most used and misused element of the home.

Think about it??? Your homes exterior keeps people, animals, bugs, wind, rain, snow, noise, cold, heat as well as other thing that you may be able to think of, outside the house and keeps your world inside private and cozy.

So, if looks are deceiving, then your homes exterior is #1 on the list of silent heroes.

Here's some fruit for thought... Did you know that the exterior surface of your home is NOT actually securely fastened to the homes framing??? Instead, the exterior coverings of your home are attached so that when your house moves (Expands, contracts, twists and bends), the exterior covering also moves. This prevents the covering over time from cracking and crumbling off to the ground.

Exterior coverings come in many styles and types including shingles, aluminum, wood and vinyl siding, as well as brick veneer and stucco. As there are many coverings for the exterior walls, there are an equal number of coverings for the roof including tile, asphalt shingles, wood shingles, metal and now there are some new composite materials that last (almost) for ever.

When the contractor installs your exterior coverings including the roof, he (or she) allows for movement at every joint.

The exterior covering also help to control moisture and allows for condensation to be removed to the exterior of the home.

This is accomplished by a well established system designed for "venting" the home. Take the roof for example, it may have gable vents, ridge vents and soffit vents which will circulate air into the attic and out to the atmosphere thus preventing moisture from collecting in the attic on ceiling joists and rafters and developing mold to destroy the roof framing. (The illustration to the right shows some forms of venting.--->

As in the case of the roof, the exterior wall coverings are also vented for the same reason. As an example, did you know that there is a gap between a brick veneer and the exterior framing wrap? The brick veneer is actually attached via metal clips and at the bottom of the brick veneer are a series of small holes called 'weeping' holes and are specifically place there to remove the water that collects between the veneer and framing cover.

<--Additionally, in most parts of the country, a system of rain gutters are installed to help aid in the water removal process as shown in the photo to the left.

After framing, all homes are normally covered with an insulation layer to primarily remove moisture.

This insulation layer and exterior covering also function as a minor structural element in that the exterior covering 'helps' control bending and twisting of the home. In and of itself, the covering is relatively weak and fragile and yet for years it protects us in our homes.

One last comment...Remember that moisture is an enemy to our home. So, when grandma wants to plant ivy along the foundation of the home, that same ground covering that has curb appeal is also holding moisture in the ground it covers and should be kept away from the homes foundation.