Beyond the Build

Beyond the Build

Options for Exteriors

We are midstream in the renovation of a Gulf Coast project, and one of the exterior skin clad products we are using there is Nichiha, a fiber cement siding.

EIFS seemed to be the king of the hill for many years, and they are also innovating with their products, but there are now several other options gaining ground. Nichiha is roughly 3 times the cost of EIFS, but it gives an entirely different look. We’re seeing it used mostly often as an accent material. It provides architects with another tool for design elements.

While there are several similar products on the market, Nichiha seems to be a moderate cost option in comparison with its competitors. For the contractor, less labor is needed with the install compared to, say, masonry. The product also weathers well, and seems to have good chemistry to it and to be environmentally friendly.

Beyond all, these architectural wall panels can have several looks including painted wood, metal, shingles, stone or brick and seem to remain easy to care for. It’s a balancing act between cost, quality and design, as it always has been.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.