Just like the structure of our house (straw-bale, slip form, poured concrete … finally to ARXX blocks) the outside required a series of changed minds before we could land on a solution. Still attracted to stucco and stone, we had intended to skin the whole structure in stucco and stone. But there are lots of places where the stick frame and the blocks meet that are challenging. So then we considered putting board and batten over the plywood parts and dealing with the transitions that way. After a lot of research about what woods would work best we found that the locals recommended rough-cut hemlock (which would shrink, but it is used on lots of barns around here) or cedar that is impossible to get. Then as we were deliberating and looking at other structures, we realized that it wouldn’t be a low maintenance solution.
We are trying to build a low-cost structure that is easy to maintain and also satisfies our aesthetics to some degree. And, to be fair to us, every stage of this involves some sort of work-around or compromise due to the work that came before it. So we landed on a solution that will work for us. Some of the building will be skinned with Galvalumed roofing that is a close color match to the stucco. It allows us to do the difficult parts (especially the parts that require scaffolding) with an easy substrate. Our Mennonite source offers an awesome price per foot and cuts it to size. And we can get it done even on cold days. We’ll still have plenty of stonework and stucco to make us happy but our house will be skinned in the near verses distant future!