Exterior Wall Ideas

While homeowners usually devote serious thought to how to cover their home's interior walls, its exterior walls deserve at least equal consideration since they provide the first impression that guests and passersby receive of the house. A variety of finishing options are available for exterior walls depending on the type of look that you prefer. You should also consider your budget when choosing a look, since some options can be quite costly.


Vinyl and aluminium siding are two of the most common finishing materials for exterior walls. They are ideal if you prefer an inexpensive, low maintenance option for your home. Both are available in a wide range of colours and styles, so you can customise the look of your exterior. Some vinyl and aluminium siding styles resemble natural materials such as wood shingles, brick or stucco, and are a budget-friendly alternative to the real deal. While both are highly durable, vinyl is often less expensive and may be installed by do-it-yourselfers so you can save even more money on the project.

Wood Shingles

Wood shingles are an extremely durable exterior wall finishing material and are a good option if you prefer a natural look for your home. You can choose from several types of wood and various lengths in order to create an eye-catching texture for the outside of your home. Shingles can be painted or stained, though they also take on an attractive look when permitted to undergo the natural weathering process. You can also add a water-repellent finish to help prolong their life. Wood shingles are not usually suited for do-it-yourself installation because special skills are required to hang them. As a result, the cost of this type of exterior wall is typically higher than those that are finished with other materials.


Stucco is one of the most traditional exterior wall finishes and provides an attractive, textured look. It is extremely durable and water-resistant. A cement mixture that contains sand, lime and water, it is sprayed or trowelled onto the walls. Once applied, stucco may be finished in several ways to achieve different textures, including smooth, swirled or raked. To give exterior walls an even more detailed look, you can add sand or small stones to the stucco. You can also use pigments to tint it prior to installation or paint it after application for a more colourful look. Stucco is a costly option for exterior walls, but faux stucco made from synthetic materials may be a budget-friendly alternative.


If you prefer a classic, formal look for your exterior walls, brick is the ideal option. In addition to its traditional appearance, it is a highly durable material that does not require painting and is not prone to fading or rotting. It may weather over time, but that often enhances its look. It is a long- lasting exterior finishing material as well, and usually requires only occasional remortaring or patching. However, brick can be a costly finishing option, so it may not fit all budgets. Brick veneer siding is a less-expensive alternative that has the same look as real brick but is not solid or as durable.

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About the Author

Based in New York City, Jennifer Blair has been covering all things home and garden since 2001. Her writing has appeared on, World Lifestyle, and House Logic. Blair holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.