Architects in Michigan when designing in the State of Michigan must be concerned when dealing with a climate with temperature ranges from 15 below zero to 110 degree Fahrenheit. Not only having a 125 degree flucation in temperature should be a concern but also the incredible humidity the area inherently has being surrounded by the largest body of fresh water in the world. Not properly addressing these weather effects can create mold growth and wood rot inside the wall and roof structure cause thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars to home owners and even more on commercial projects.

Material selection is always a major decision for architects in Michigan not only for esthetics but also for resistance to the harsh elements Michigan can bring. Part of this concern is due to the four seasons Michigan has; winter, spring, Summer and Fall. All of this seasons present architects in Michigan with challenges with each weather conditions. The greatest concern would be keeping moisture out of the building and the building perimeter wall.

The most economical material for an exterior veneer of the building would be vinyl siding. This product keeps the rain off the perimeter wall and offers the architects a various selection of colors for the exterior. The material will weather with sun exposure and eventually fade in its color, making it difficult to match the siding of any exterior work that is done or if an addition is provided. The product is also oil based which presents itself as a problem for the environment and life in a landfill.

An older siding option that is rarely used today is aluminum (metal) siding. This replaced the wood siding of the 20s and 30s and was used in a post-World War II ecominy. The material was mass produced and easy to use for almost all applications, however the finish was subject to maintenance of the painted finish and the occiasal denting from hail, tree limbs and the young kids thinking they would be the next Joe DiMaggio. The material served its purpose and was replaced when the plastic wave of the 60s developed.  From the same era and shortly before World War II, another product was being use, asbestos siding. A great material providing both protection from the rain, wind and sun but also the passing fire would spark up and wood siding house or building. This product was less expensive, could be formed in shingle or other pattern shapes but turned out to problematic with getting inside the human lungs and incubating for 20 years before causes mesothelioma, the rest is history.

Wood siding was a favorite exterior cladding material for architects in Michigan due to the overwhelming amount of timber in the region. Before the advancements in plastics wood was the go to material for dressing up the exterior of the building, mainly in the residential realm. Cedar siding is still a veneer used but maintenance on staining the exterior is a commitment most owners understand but the esthetic out weight the hours spent preserving the material.

Brick veneer is still used by architects in Michigan and is still consider a high quality finish veneer. Brick masonry was originally used independently from a wood framed homes for construction in both residential and commercial buildings. Throughout the 1800’s buildings used brick as the structural component which also provided an exterior that both withstood the weather and provided an attractive exterior. Where most brick veneer is used primarily on the exterior as a single wythe with a wood or metal stud structural frame behind it, is historical would have used multiple wythes for structural support. The single wythe brick design is still used for both its time tested resistance to harsh weather but also for it natural elements. Brick is made of clay or shale, a material that is available almost everywhere making it a resource that makes it a standard product to use in the industry. The problem with a brick veneer is the installation of the brick over a wood or metal perimeter stud wall must the brick and the stud wall provides the masonry room to put mortar between each course and allow room for mortar to protrude into the cavity without blocking the passage of water that can be driven in during rainstorms. At the bottom of the exterior perimeter wall cavity, where flashing terminates, weep holes must be provided to allow and water or moisture to escape the internal cavity of the wall.

Architects in Michigan can also use modern materials. One that has been popular in use for both commercial and residential for the last ten years has been fiber cement siding. The building material is made up of cement cellulose reinforcing fibers. The first version of this veneer was used earlier in the 70s and 80s with asbestos fiber reinforcing but was changed and the veneer took hold of the industry in the late 2000s. The material cost is greater than vinyl siding but the life of the material usually has a 50 year life warranty. The material is resistance to termites, impact resistance, fire proof, will not rot and can be prefinished with both color and texture. Problems that needed to be solved for the product was shrinkage and expansion of the joints due to temperature and moisture changes. Once this problem was solved the material made great strides in residential, housing and hospality. Along with the typical hosintral sizing other products where develop leading to its use in the commercial application.

The most expensive modern cladding system being used in the last two deaded has been the prefinished insulated panel system, most commonly using is commercial application and high end modern residential design. This product is usually a prefab system and calls for a more thought out design and construction documentation drawing preparation then another product.

Architects in Michigan have a multitude of exterior veneer materials to use and specific for their projects. Not only picking a material for it esthetic quality is important but also for it resistance to the elements. Having such harsh extremes in temperature, snow, rain and humid make it a challenge to pick the right material for the right project.