We’ve come a long way from the traditional wood and brick facade. New materials and construction technologies are transforming skylines around Canada. What modern architecture building materials are fueling local design trends? Learn more about the top five materials that architects love using when designing new homes and commercial spaces.
A long-lasting material that needs proper installation and care.
Stucco is incredibly versatile. It can be finished in an array of textures, shapes and colours. The material is also long-lasting with a lifespan of up to 100 years if properly maintained. Stucco provides exceptional sound-resistant properties, and is resistant to fire, rot, and mold. However, it does come with its challenges. Stucco is a labour-intensive material that is mixed and installed onsite. It often includes up to four layers – the base, scratch coat, brown coat and finish coat – making it rather difficult to install. Stucco is porous and prone to water retention and damage if it’s not properly maintained.
Aesthetically pleasing and more lightweight than traditional brick.
A number of companies have been working hard to transform traditional brick into a more modern building material. Today’s new brick materials are lightweight with lower load-bearing requirements, and come in a range of colours, textures and sizes. Newer brick materials are also designed to be far more energy-efficient and cost-effective.
Fiber Cement Board Panels
Versatile exterior material that is more affordable than wood and stone.
Available in textures that mimic brick and stone, fiber cement is the perfect option for those who want the look of natural materials but don’t have the budget to install it. Fiber cement is far more affordable, durable and easier to maintain than wood and stone, but it won’t last as long. With fiber, you can expect up to 40 years lifespan with the right care. Though not as durable as wood and stone, the material is highly popular for its fireproof, waterproof and insect-proof qualities. The only real downside of fiber cement is that it’s heavy and still rather pricey to install.
Glass Wall Panels
A decorative option that adds space and light.
Looking for something more decorative? Modern glass panels are more versatile than you might think. Glass can be easily cut to a perfect fit and notched together to create any size wall. It’s also an energy-efficient option that can make a room feel more spacious while bringing the outdoors inside. But there can be some challenges with glass wall panel installations. The manufacturing and overall quality of the materials used can vary from company to company. Designing and installing exterior glass walls also takes significant engineering, resulting in high labour costs. Glass is also a rather expensive material, but if you can afford to add it into the design, it’s worth the extra money.
Aluminum Composite Panels
Cost-effective and the all-around perfect building material.
Aluminum composite panels are a builder’s best friend. It’s lightweight, easy to install, simple to maintain, and incredibly durable and affordable. Plus, aluminum composite panelling can be used just about anywhere – the exterior or interior of a home design or commercial build. And since the panels can be easily manufactured in an array of shapes, textures and sizes without impacting the quality, they can be used for a range of applications. But what really makes aluminum composite so popular is the ease of installation and the overall versatility. It can be easily manufactured to mimic wood and other materials, and it can be coated in just about any colour you desire. The panels are highly resistant to fire, corrosion, and UV light, plus they are energy efficient and 100% recyclable.