How Home Exteriors Have Changed in the Past 50 Years

By Caroline Ernst, Marketing Assistant, The Long & Foster Companies and Jackie Allder, , .

Oct 201805

How Home Exteriors Have Changed in the Past 50 Years

By Caroline Ernst, Marketing Assistant, The Long & Foster Companies and Jackie Allder, , .

With 50 years’ experience in the real estate business, we understand the exterior of the house can be just as important as its interior. Not only is the outside of the house what everyone sees, it also protects the house and its inhabitants from the weather conditions of the area.

Knowing what types of exterior styles and materials are popular where you plan to move, as well as when that style rose to its status, is essential when choosing the right house for you.


Brick offers a more traditional look that is both durable and low-maintenance; it is resistant to most detrimental factors, like insects, fires and bad weather. Options include classic brick masonry, which consists of solid bricks that are used as exterior walls, or brick veneer, which is a thin siding meant to look like brick that is placed on the exterior wall. Usage of brick peaked in the early 1970s, but many new homes are still found with this style today.


Like brick, wood is another classic and traditional look for a house; however, it is more versatile and customizable. Wood can come in a variety of species, colors and stains, as well as arrangements, like board-and-batten siding, shingles or logs. Wood is not as durable as brick, and it can be more susceptible to pests and bad weather. Wood usage peaked in the early 1980s, but declined from there.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding offers the variability of wood and the durability of brick, but at a much lower cost than both options. It can also help you save money on bills because it’s a good insulator. Part of vinyl siding’s popularity comes from its ability to look like other natural materials, while maintaining that cheaper cost. It comes in many different colors and designs, so houses can remain individual and unique, even if several surrounding houses also have vinyl siding. It peaked in popularity in the early 1990s through the early 2000s, until it began to decrease in the mid-2000s.

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding is made from a combination of wood fibers, sand and cement, and it can be made to look like wood or can be painted any color. Homeowners like its overall appearance, as well as the fact that it is flame retardant and more weather resistant than other materials. Although it’s more expensive than vinyl, fiber cement siding can last far longer when properly maintained. Fiber cement siding grew in popularity around 2005, and it remains on an upward trend.


Stucco gives a house a look that is unique and stands out. Because of how it’s constructed, stucco exteriors are usually very durable, and other materials can be added for additional strength. Stucco is incredibly versatile, since it can be mixed with many textures and a nearly unlimited array of colors. Typically, stucco can give a home a more traditional Spanish look, but its versatility allows it to be customized to fit any desired look. Stucco usage was at its lowest in the early 1980s, but steadily rose to popularity in the late 2000s.

Knowing the right exterior style and siding for your region and your personality is important when starting a home search, and your Long & Foster agent can help you find the home that is perfect for you.