With the higher elevation sun and windy, stormy winter weather in the mountains, the exterior of homes in the Yampa Valley can take a beating. Re-roofing, re-siding, re-caulking, re-painting and repairing damage from issues such as weathering, woodpeckers or insects can be time-consuming, wasteful of resources, and expensive.
The sustainability of planning a long-lasting and environmentally conscious home means choosing durable, timeless materials that will not have to be repeatedly maintained or replaced, including on a home’s exterior.
When retiring to Steamboat Springs to be near their daughter and grandchildren, Scott and Leslie Alperin wanted to build a home that would be as maintenance free as possible. The single-family home they planned in the new subdivision of The Range at Wildhorse Meadows needed to have a durable, long-lasting exterior.
Scott Alperin said this retirement home was the fourth house the family had built in his lifetime, and he no longer wanted to spend so much time, effort and money on home maintenance he performed in the past with homes clad in wood siding.
In the family’s previous home with wood siding built in 1986, the couple left for a long trip and came back to find some 20 woodpecker holes in the siding. Alperin caulked the holes, only to find out later that bees had entered through the holes and were nesting inside the attic. It wasn’t long before the bees found their way into the home through unsealed recessed ceiling lights, and the family had to evacuate and call professional help.
For their new home in Colorado, the Alperins selected Soda Mountain Construction + Design in Steamboat to build their low-maintenance house with the experienced design/build team of contractor Chris Rhodes and designer Travis Mathey. Soda Mountain has built local custom homes since 2006 and works to incorporate sustainable construction and design elements when possible.
The Soda Mountain team and the clients worked to select home exterior products intended to last for many decades such as Colorado stone, American-made steel siding, metal roofing and synthetic mahogany siding. Even though the home was finished in spring 2019, during a visit two years later, the exterior looked as though it could have just been completed.
In the new neighborhood with many homes still under construction, Alperin said passersby planning to build a new home often stop, compliment the home’s aesthetics and ask about the exterior materials.
The home’s exterior captures a modern functionality that still feels beautifully classic. On the south and west facing sides, the home features a finish of real stone quarried in Telluride and applied in an artistic dry stack application with no mortar lines. The careful work was completed by Kings Masonry in Steamboat. Behind the stacked stones are weeping strips to wick out any moisture. The exterior walls feature durable steel for exterior window headers and fascia as well as beetle-kill pine wood on the soffits.
Other sections of the exterior building envelope are finished with a Bridger Steel metal panel siding with a standing seam and hidden fasteners. Bridger Steel, headquartered in Billings, Montana, produces made-in-America metal siding with a baked enamel paint coating and a minimum 30-year finish warranty, according to a Bridger representative.
The durable roof materials include standing seam metal as well as asphalt shingles. The standing seam is prefinished, extruded aluminum metal roofing by Drexel Metals, headquartered in Kentucky, that was installed on the home by High Point Roofing in Steamboat. According to Drexel, the metal roofing contains significant recycled content, is touted to withstand decades of abuse from extreme weather and can last two to three times longer than an asphalt shingle roof. Homebuilder Rhodes noted the metal roof includes a snow guard that retains snow on the roof for added insulation properties.
“Our clientele desire sustainability, but it’s taking the extra steps to do the research and development on finding the right resources that have proven sustainable,” Rhodes said of the pre-construction planning.
For the wooden elements of the exterior, the team selected a synthetic mahogany product, a durable engineered composite wood product by Trespa. The Trespa installation system with hidden fasteners includes an air cavity behind the siding in front of the load-bearing wall, allowing for airflow that prevents heat or moisture accumulation.
The home’s porches utilize steel square-tubed support posts and structural I-beams, as well as rugged, engineered Trex Decking, also with hidden clip fasteners. Trex Decking is made from 95% recycled materials, including reclaimed wood, sawdust and recycled plastic from packaging overwrap and bags, according to Trex information.
Topping off the mountain contemporary exterior is a front door made by Fedewa Custom Works in Steamboat that incorporates a stained-glass work by a Colorado artist. The stained glass holds sentimental value for the Alperins as it formerly was installed by the front door of their previous home in Ohio.
Although the stacked stone and hidden fastener application techniques increased the original labor installation costs, “In the long run I’m convinced it’s going to save us money and look wonderful,” Alperin said, “through the UV and temperature extremes that are severe and can really play havoc.”
Photos: David Patterson
- Design + Build: Soda Mountain Construction
- Siding: SMCD
- Roofing: High Point Roofing
- Front Door: Fedewa Custom Works
- Stone Veneer: Kings Masonry
- Steel: Nordic Steel
- Landscaping: Nature’s Design
- Windows: Alan Bradley Windows & Door