The “Old Nags Head” tradition of building
functional and sturdy structures on pilings in the sand has withstood the test of time since 1855, when the first of the “Unpainted Aristocracy” cottages was built in what was then, and is now, a somewhat challenging environment. However, since those first summer homes (without benefit of heat or air conditioning) sprang up in Nags Head, the tradition has continued but technology has vastly improved the practices.
When asked for his take on new products, Matt Neal, President of Neal Contracting and current President of the Outer Banks Home Builders Association, which organizes and delivers the annual Parade of Homes, notes “Cedar shake will always have a place on the Outer Banks, both for its aesthetics and its overall durability. One new technique involves using a rain screen product, which puts some space behind the shingles and prolongs their life span by allowing them to dry more quickly.”
Neal went on to address other products and techniques which have been incorporated into newer homes to help combat the effects of our often-harsh climate. The other new trends in local building cited include:
• The wide-spread use of the vastly improved PVC trim in place of wood for superior weather resistance
• Alternatives to cedar shake siding including HardiePlank Siding, which is manufactured to mimic just about any other siding material; and LP SmartSide, which holds paint well and is user friendly for the installers.
• ZIP system walls which have a built-in weather wrap, which allows the home to be partially dried in as it is installed
• Metal roofing, while somewhat more expensive than traditional asphalt shingles, has gained in popularity for its higher wind resistance and overall durability
• Engineered shear walls that provide wind resistance is being used in high wind zones
Paying tribute to all the Outer Banks builders who have chosen to keep up with the constantly evolving building practices and materials, Neal recognizes that while all of the builders here have their own tips and tricks for weather-proofing, the combination of the skill of the installer, experience of the builder and cohesion of the team is what ultimately delivers a strong and lasting home.
Join us during the Parade of Homes October 4-7, when you will be able to ask the local participating builders and their staff members about many of these features. Up close and personal! Preview the tour at https://obhomebuilders.org/welcome-letter/