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Kevin Ahern

By: Kevin Ahern on August 22nd, 2019

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Top 4 Exterior Materials for Commercial Buildings


The siding material used to protect a commercial structure can have a big impact on its appearance and functionality. Some exterior materials for commercial buildings are almost entirely utilitarian, others have cosmetic appeal. The type of exterior that you choose for your commercial structure should depend on many factors, including the purpose of the building, who will use the building, where the building is located, and other factors. Budget is another important consideration.

When deciding what kind of exterior siding to use on your building, the best way to get results is to work with a commercial contractor who knows the options well and who can answer your questions about each siding type. Working with a reputable construction firm can make a big difference.

At Litchfield Builders, we help business owners navigate the decision-making process. For more information about commercial remodeling and how to navigate the commercial building process, download our free publication, Sustainability and Green Building in Commercial Construction.

Below, we've outlined the top four siding materials. In this article, we'll also discuss budget considerations and maintenance. Both factors should be considered when you're trying to pick the right material for your commercial structure.

1. Steel

Steel, pre-packaged buildings are practical, relatively easy to install, and budget-friendly. They're built to design, giving the property owner full control over the specs for their particular structure. There are many reasons that some business owners prefer steel to other materials.

  • Affordability. Steel buildings are basic and easily produced, with no frills, so they can be purchased at a relatively low-cost. 
  • Durability. Buildings made of steel can last for decades with minimal maintenance. 
  • Fire-proof. Steel doesn't burn, so for certain industrial and commercial applications, a steel building is ideal. 

There are down sides to steel. Its basic, utilitarian appearance makes it less attractive than some other materials. Retail locations, restaurants and similar businesses often use more expensive materials for their siding selection. 

2. Stucco

Stucco performs well even in Connecticut's harsh winters and hot summers. The material provides some insulation, which makes it energy efficient. Creating a comfortable environment indoors can be easy with a stucco exterior. The material is forgiving of cracks and small imperfections, which can be easily hidden by caulk and paint.

Stucco can assume unusual shapes, so whether your building is curved, octagonal, or plain old rectangular, stucco can do the job. Business owners like that they can paint stucco any color to match their brand. Finally, stucco wears well. With regular maintenance, stucco can last indefinitely. 

3. Brick 

Brick veneer is popular because brick is a traditional building material, and because it appears to be strong and solid. Brick veneer is also relatively affordable. Brick is installed over a wood frame that allows the building to "breathe" and shift as needed, so the brick veneer siding can endure many different types of weather. Brick is very commonly used in areas where historic buildings are located. 

When installing brick veneer, it's important to choose a construction company that has experience working with this material. Veneer must be installed to ensure that drainage is possible and the interior structure is protected. If the structure is not built properly, mold and mildew could become a problem in a short span of time. 

4. Non-Brick Masonry

Although it looks different, stone veneer is very similar to brick in the way it functions. Like brick veneer, weep holes are installed to promote drainage. Masonry must be properly installed or moisture can become a problem. Commercial property owners have many options when picking masonry, because stone veneers come in many types. The best way to pick is to view samples in person, touching and examining each siding option.   

Best Budget-Friendly Exterior Materials for Commercial Buildings

Steel is the most budget-friendly option. However, there are times when steel is not the most appropriate material. Steel has an industrial appearance that does not make sense for all businesses. If you're on a budget but need the look of a more expensive siding material, save money by installing a more expensive siding in the front, and a budget-friendly siding in the back. Doing this, property owners get the best of both worlds.  

Get the Most From Your Commercial Exterior

Although it's important to choose the right commercial exterior for your building, no siding will endure unless it is properly maintained. Often, caulk is the first thing to deteriorate.

About every five years, you'll have to scrape away old caulk and install new. Doing this prevents water infiltration and protects the structure from mold, mildew and rot. No siding is maintenance free, so talk to your contractor during the installation process to find out what needs to be done to maintain your building. 

Building a Commercial Structure? Get Started Today

What kind of exterior materials for commercial buildings are you planning to use for your upcoming construction project? Have you worked with a contractor or architect to choose that exterior siding? Leave your comments in the box below. 

Litchfield Builders is known for working with clients to ensure a smooth remodeling or construction process from start to finish. If you're trying to choose siding material, we'll help you pick a material that fits in your budget and performs to your standards. 

To find out more about building or remodeling a commercial structure, contact Litchfield Builders for a free consultation. You can also download our free publication, Sustainability & Green Building in Commercial Construction. Our online guide can answer your questions about the building process. 

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About Kevin Ahern

Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.