modern Houses by © Sandra Pereznieto

What material should you choose for the façade?

Kamla Villanueva Kamla Villanueva
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Although we learned from childhood that what is important is the interior, there is however, an exception to this, and that is the facade. Conceived as the shell of a building or house, façades can be likened to a perfumed envelope to a love letter or a business card to an entrepreneur. Throughout the centuries, facades have shaped the different artistic and architectural styles. But also, they give us clues on what to expect from the interior, its style, its architecture and its history. Traditionally, the facades constitute the structure of the building. Its evolution has always been centered in this fact, in trying to obtain bigger surfaces by which to reflect the beauty of the interior. It was with the introduction of steel and reinforced concrete in the construction, when the facades were freed from being merely a support to the foundation, giving rise to unique forms and styles. 

We could make endless classifications of facades, based on their composition, style, ornamentation, design, and era. However, today we are going to treat this subject from the material point of view. Since the advent of technology, we are now enabled to make use of unusual and revolutionary materials that have become widely embraced today. 

Metal coatings I

The façade of a building determines the way in which we perceive our first impression, therefore it is the coatings that provide the language wherein this communication is established.

Here we see a metal facade which are often associated with industrial buildings or prefabricated buildings, today, it is increasingly common to see metal cladding in domestic buildings. Its application is easy and fast. Besides, these facades are just as efficient and functional.

Smooth, wavy, prelaced or galvanized veneers, these types of coatings can be combined with wood, concrete, plaster or stone. In this image we can contemplate the facade of the garden of the house. In this, large glass windows, geometrically positioned along the white walls for a modern style.

Metal coatings II

Corten steel is a material widely used in contemporary architecture. In spite of their characteristic oxidized color, this material offers an enormous resistance to the atmospheric corrosion, due to its protective layer of oxide from the alloy of chromium and copper.

Natural stone claddings

Stone facade cladding has been used throughout history. Different colors and textures offer these types of coatings, whose appearance adds elegance and distinction to the walls. In addition to this, the stone offers a weather resistant hard surface with good thermal insulation, acoustics and protection against humidity. Their finishes are very diverse.

In this house, the architect covers the top floor, isolating it with the use of slate. If there is something that characterizes this natural stone is its dark color and its resistance. The possibilities offered by this material makes its applications, both indoors and outdoors, unlimited.

Wooden coatings

We all know the qualities of wood in aesthetic and perceptive sense: it is a very warm and welcoming material. However, this type of coatings has other characteristics, which require that the choice of this material be careful: susceptibility to moisture, solar radiation and changes in temperature.

And although the wood has been used since remote times in the construction of shelters, we have to make sure that it has the correct treatments against xylophages, fire, humidity and radiation. Once the right wood is chosen, we only have to find the application that suits us the most: vertical, horizontal or larger slats.

Masonry walls

Masonry is a traditional system of building walls, using pieces bricks, stones or blocks. Usually, these walls are structural and can be erected with different techniques: using mortar, replacing the clay, as an element of adhesion between the pieces; or building the walls dry. These provide a rural and rustic look to the houses.

Although it is not very common today, in many cases we can find houses, whose walls are covered by stones, simulating a traditional stonework wall.

Mortar plaster

mediterranean Houses by Anna & Eugeni Bach
Anna & Eugeni Bach

Exterior Casa en Gaüses

Anna & Eugeni Bach

Mortar plasters and renderings also represent a façade finish traditionally used in constructions. Its low cost and array of colors and finishes make it a perfect solution for homes and buildings built with brick walls.

In this house, green and white stripes of different widths create a different rhythm and hide the fissures and cracks that usually appear over time in these types of coatings.


Polished concrete is conquering the buildings of contemporary architecture. Of different shades, all between gray and white, and textures, this material does not need maintenance, even thought it is not coated, it is still very durable.

In this image we can see the exterior where the horizontal wood framework as the only decoration.

Glass enclosures

Using glass has always beena favorite when designing facades. Instead of opening gaps, these façades themselves constitute as a large gap to the exterior. Only the frames and partitions create a rhythm in these enclosures, where sun protection and maintenance are two very important factors.

In this example, the forged fly over the facade line, projects a shadow that protects you from solar radiation. In addition, they are also built as wraparound a terrace.

Was the article informative and helpful in helping you choose the material you want for your home?
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