Concrete has been used in architecture around the world for centuries. Through advancement and progress in the construction industry, designers have come up with a variety of ways to work with it that many homeowners want.
Architectural concrete, specifically, provides many options to create impressive home designs. When used well by a talented architect or designer, it can create an impressive WOW factor that increases the perceived value of a building, just by looking spectacular.
Plus, while architectural concrete is employed to enhance a design, it also provides structural reinforcement for homes and buildings, which makes this durable material a popular choice.
But traditional concrete work comes with extensive drawbacks. It’s important to consider the substantial challenges faced when using architectural concrete, such as increased cost, longer timelines, increased maintenance and lower thermal mass, as well as some modern innovative solutions to get you the look you want — without the hassle.
Architectural concrete is used to support both aesthetic and structural components of home construction, sometimes using special finishing techniques or materials.
“Achieving an architectural or decorative appearance usually requires that something different be done to the concrete,” explains the Portland Cement Association. “Whether that involves special forms, special finishing techniques, or special ingredients, the variety of effects is almost unlimited.”
While the effects are impressive, using architectural concrete in your home’s design comes with a few challenges.
It might require a structural engineer or additional contractors on your project. Concrete is a versatile and durable material, which makes it attractive to homeowners looking for a high-performing home. But a safe and successful design using architectural concrete requires additional technical support. “For successful buildings,” explains Amy L. Hackney and James A. McDonald for Concrete Construction, “structural engineers, architects, and contractors must work in tandem to provide the required structural and waterproofing performance while still achieving the desired aesthetic finish.”
Wood Formwork for Concrete Wall Construction
Nichiha’s easy fiber cement system
There’s no doubt that architectural concrete can help you get the look you want in your home (and out!), but there are better, thinner materials readily available that offer you attractive, durable, budget-friendly and environmentally-responsible solutions without the hassle, mess and extra time.
Fiber cement siding is a composite material that’s been used on home exteriors for decades now, and it provides real solutions for homeowners that want durability and style in their design. Using Nichiha architectural wall panels for your home’s exterior keeps your home protected from the elements, and offers the same sleek, modern style of concrete.
The ArchitecturalBlock panels shown above offer plenty of design versatility to homeowners, especially when paired with warmer wood-inspired exterior details. It’s the perfect combination of clean and inviting style.
The EmpireBlock panels featured in the entryway above also showcase fiber cement’s versatility by emulating the pocking and spalling and event the snap-tie divots of architectural concrete, proving this industrial style is possible anywhere in your design. If you’re after a modern industrial look for your home, don’t hesitate to bring that same style to your interior.
And Nichiha’s architectural wall panels offer the same dependability as architectural concrete, without the cracking or coloring concerns that come with traditional concrete. Fiber-cement panels are just as low-maintenance as concrete, but are thinner and lighter, using a dry manufacturing process so it can be made without water and a much smaller ratio of cement and sand than traditional concrete construction.
Nichiha products come with a simple installation process that doesn’t require any messy concrete mixing nor pouring, waiting for it to cure, stripping and patching. The patented hidden fastener clip attachment holds the panels away from the wall, allowing for moisture to drain or evaporate. The ventilation and low mass of the panels both reduce solar gain, making for better siding system performance.
Today’s trends in home exteriors are veering away from more narrow siding profiles like vinyl or shiplap, and towards cleaner styles like the ArchitecturalBlock panels shown above.
Architectural wall panels from Nichiha give homeowners limitless options for modern design, but don’t require the same cost or time that architectural concrete does. And because the fiber cement board panels offer homeowners a fire- and moisture-resistant exterior, you can expect your home’s style to stand up to weather and other natural elements, even in wildfire-prone locations, such as California.
Nichiha’s architectural wall panels offer durability and weather-protection to homeowners that want the strength of fiber cement in their designs but don’t want to sacrifice style. And because these panels are so easy-to-install by anyone with carpentry skills, they’re an attractive option for just about any home design, schedule and budget.
If you’re looking for solutions that both enhance and protect your exterior, but don’t want the mess of architectural concrete, architectural wall panels from Nichiha have given hundreds of homeowners options that work with their personal style.