Materials matter: making the right choice for a home’s durability

Tackling a home renovation project requires a lot of decision-making, but the materials you choose are one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make. Materials can make or break not only the look and feel of your home, but also the longevity of it. When you’re investing so much time and money into a project, you want it to last, and material choice is essential.

Here, we’ll take a look at why the materials you choose are so crucial for your home’s durability, and some of the top options to consider for key areas of a home. Armed with the right information, you can make informed decisions that will enhance the resilience of your property.

Why your choice of materials matters in a renovation

The materials used in a home renovation or construction project matter greatly because they impact two key factors – durability and aesthetics. When it comes to durability, not all materials are created equal. Some stand up very well to weather, wear and tear, while others may rot, crack or degrade relatively quickly. Choosing materials that offer long-term durability can save you money down the road on repairs and replacements.

Beyond just physical durability, materials also significantly influence the overall visual appeal. Options like wood, stone, metal and others each have their own distinct look and feel. Depending on your design vision, certain materials will be better suited to achieve the overall look you want for your home. Carefully choosing materials that are long-lasting, easy to maintain and give your home the look you love, is a key part of any renovation project.

Cedar cladding brings warmth and visual appeal to this modern home.

Key materials to consider

When renovating or building a home, you need to consider each area of the property in turn.

Exteriors

Popular options include fibre cement, vinyl and wood. Fibre cement is more durable and fire-resistant than vinyl but requires painting; vinyl is affordable and low maintenance but can look plasticky. Natural wood offers a classic appeal but requires more upkeep.

Garage

Steel, wood, fibreglass and GRP (glass-reinforced plastic) are good options. GRP is an impact-resistant plastic material that resists denting like steel and won’t rot or warp, making it a cost-effective and long-lasting solution. It can also be purchased in wood effect to create the look and feel of a classic material without the maintenance.

Doors and windows

Entry doors come in steel, fibreglass and wood. As with garage doors, fibreglass is durable, energy-efficient and mimics a natural wood look, with ample security for your property. Windows are similarly available in materials such as wood, vinyl, aluminium and composites, with the latter being one of the best choices. Composite window frames offer durability and energy efficiency.

Classic wooden doors in a Victorian terrace.

Roof

When it comes to updating your roof, materials range from asphalt shingles, metal and slate to terracotta tiling. Asphalt is affordable but needs replacing every 20 years or so. Metal and synthetic slate, on the other hand, are extremely durable, providing a sleek look that will last.

Laying slate tiles.

Interiors

Inside the home, flooring choices range from hardwoods, laminate, tile and vinyl, while in areas of busy rooms like your kitchen, you may want to choose materials such as granite, quartz or marble. that balance durability with style and elegance. As with any material, consider the level of maintenance you’re prepared to give in order to prolong the lifespan of your home. In many cases, you can achieve a similar look as the real deal while taking advantage of lower maintenance through materials such as laminates, vinyl and fibreglass.

An oiled Europen oak floor being installed.

How to choose wisely

Selecting materials for a home renovation or new construction project requires several key factors to be taken into account. 

Climatic and weather conditions 

Climatic exposure is a strong factor when deciding on exterior materials. In wet, humid climates, moisture-resistant materials should be prioritised to prevent rot, mildew and decay. However, in hot climates, materials that reflect heat or increase energy efficiency make more sense. Cold climates call for insulation and draught-proofing materials to make your home as warm and comfortable as possible.

Your budget 

Keeping in line with costs and achieving the best value for money is another major consideration. While premium materials usually provide better durability and aesthetics, they also have higher upfront costs. Setting a realistic renovation budget determines which material options make the most sense. Where possible, invest a little more upfront to gain the longevity that these materials provide. The key is striking the right balance between lasting materials that don’t exceed your budget.

A brass sink contrasts with marble tiling.

Personal style

Individual preferences and design vision will also guide your choices. A modern, sleek home benefits from different materials than a cosy, traditional one. Be sure that the materials you choose work together to create the overall look and feel you love, while also providing resilience and strength.

Maintenance 

As mentioned earlier, the level of maintenance each material requires will factor heavily into how long it will last. Wood, for example, can be very long-lasting but only if it’s cared for properly. Some materials need frequent upkeep and may be challenging to repair or replace, while others need little more than cleaning every so often to keep them looking their best.

Eco-friendliness

Incorporating the green element into our home life has become a priority for many homeowners and should be a key consideration in any home renovation project today. Look to sustainable wood, low-VOC materials and recyclable options that are better for the environment but still deliver the properties you require for your build.

Final thoughts

When undertaking any home renovation or construction project, the materials you choose will have a lasting impact, so it pays to choose wisely. The materials you opt for determine how durable, visually appealing and easy to maintain your home will be for years to come. With well considered material selections, suited for your specific home and lifestyle, you can achieve both aesthetic appeal and long-term durability. Your home will stand the test of time thanks to smart materials that fit your needs and style.

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