Rubbery membranes—both stick-in-place sheets like Ice & Water Shield and brush-on liquids—form a barrier that keeps water off roof sheathing and the framing around windows and doors.
Ice & Water Shield; GCP Applied Technologies Inc
Pioneered by James Hardie, this mix of wood pulp, sand, and cement resembles wood siding but doesn’t have wood’s high cost, tendency to decay, or need for frequent repainting.
HardiePlank lap siding; James Hardie
Shown: The 2017 Newton GenerationNEXT House is covered with lap siding and shingles made of low-maintenance fiber cement.
When installed over wall sheathing, a mesh like Slicker HP creates a naturally ventilated air gap that allows wood siding—both lap and shingles—to dry out after it gets wet.
Slicker HP; Benjamin Obdyke
Shown: The yellow-mesh rain screen under the cedar shingles at the 2018 Jamestown Net-Zero House provides an easy way for water to escape.
Decking that can withstand the elements doesn’t have to be soaked in toxic metals, made of plastic, or grown in a rain forest. Thermory’s thermally modified white ash—from U.S. and European forests—is cooked until it’s unpalatable to insects and rot fungi, a process that also makes the boards more stable than untreated ones.
Benchmark White Ash Decking; Thermory
Cellular PVC, brought to the U.S. market by AZEK, looks and cuts like painted pine, but doesn’t decay, warp, or get chewed up by insects. And it’s not just for trim; the material is also fashioned into handrails, moldings, fences, and pergolas.
“I have cellular PVC trim and fiber-cement siding on my Victorian-era house, and most people can’t tell it isn’t wood.”
Shown: At the 2017 TOH Idea House, the exterior trim around the doors and windows, and over the beams and columns, may look like painted wood, but it’s actually rot-proof cellular PVC.