Custom Home Builders Vancouver

Modern or Traditional? Exterior Options for Your Custom Home

A home’s exterior design determines its appearance and character. Modern or traditional architecture sets the tone for the property in custom home-build construction. In this discussion, we compare modern and traditional design features and their pros and cons.

By comparing key exterior design elements, we hope to demonstrate the importance of skilled custom home builders Vancouver in creating customized solutions that seamlessly blend individual preferences with architectural excellence.

Home Architectural Details

FeaturesModern OptionsTraditional Options
Architectural StyleClean Lines and Geometric Shapes. The minimalist design emphasizes straight lines and angular forms. Utilize materials such as steel, glass, and concrete.Decorative Trim and Moulding. Add ornate details such as crown moulding, chair rails, and wainscoting. Incorporate classical motifs and patterns for historical charm.
Aesthetic FocusMinimalist Design. Focus on simplicity and functionality, using monochromatic colour palettes and sparse furnishings.Columns and Cornices. Columns, pilasters, and cornices add elegance and symmetry to facades. Embrace neoclassical or colonial styles.
Building InfluenceIndustrial Elements. Integrate raw materials such as steel beams and reclaimed wood, embracing an urban chic aesthetic.Symmetrical Facades. Create balanced designs with symmetrical layouts and traditional styles like Georgian or Federal for timeless elegance.
Indoor-Outdoor ConnectionIntegrated Outdoor Spaces. Blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living with expansive windows and outdoor living areas.Pediments and Porches. Enhance entrances with pedimented doorways and covered porches, providing shelter and architectural interest.

Siding Materials

Many siding supplies are available for custom home exteriors to suit different architectural styles and homeowner preferences. 

Modern Options

  1. Metal Siding: Gives modern homes a sleek, urbanized look. It has clean lines and a minimalist look that complements simple, innovative architecture.
  2. Fibre Cement Siding: A modern alternative to wood siding. Provides smooth, sleek finishes that complement the modern home building. It can detail bold geometric patterns and accent panels.
  3. Stucco: A top choice for modern custom homes seeking a sleek outer appearance. Its monolithic texture and continuity emphasize modern architecture’s clean lines and geometric shapes.
  4. Composite Siding: Combines the durability of engineered textiles with natural wood aesthetics. It comes in many colours and textures to match modern house structures.

Traditional Options

  1. Wood Siding: Wood siding, such as clapboard panels or cedar shakes, adds warmth and timeless elegance to traditional house styles. It gives custom home exteriors a more natural look.
  2. Brick Siding: A traditional choice for custom home construction due to its durability and classic appeal. Homeowners seeking timeless architectural quality love its rich colour variations and textured surfaces.
  3. Stone Veneer Siding: This siding mimics natural stone appearance without the weight and cost of masonry construction. 
  4. Clapboard Siding: Associated with traditional American architecture, it evokes historic appeal and craftsmanship. The overlapping horizontal boards add interest and character to custom home exteriors.

Roofing Materials


Flat or Low-Slope RoofingIt is waterproof with TPO or PVC membranes. Drainage and insulation are needed to avoid ponding and heat loss. It is compatible with modern rooftop amenities and solar installations.
Metal RoofingMade of steel, aluminum, or copper, it is highly fire-resistant, energy-efficient, and durable. Proper fastening and ventilation can avoid expansion issues.
Green RoofingFeatures a layered system with vegetation, soil, and drainage components. It boosts insulation, reduces stormwater, and improves air quality. However, it needs reinforcement and waterproofing.
Solar TilesBlends photovoltaic cells with roofing materials. Generates renewable energy while maintaining aesthetic appeal. Needs precise installation for weatherproofing and l connectivity.

Gable or Hip RoofingSloped profiles with triangular gables or hipped ends. Effective wind and water drainage. Framing and bracing are needed to support structural loads.
Asphalt ShinglesFibreglass or organic mats with asphalt and granules. Affordable, easy to install, and durable. Required ventilation and maintenance to prevent deterioration.
Clay and Concrete TilesFired clay or cement is durable and aesthetically versatile. Its insulation resists fire, insects, and rot. Underlayment and flashing are needed for weatherproofing.
Wood Shingles and ShakesMade from durable woods like cedar or redwood. Provides natural insulation, rustic charm, and beauty. Needs ventilation and maintenance to avoid decay and moisture.

Windows and Doors

Modern Options

Floor-to-ceiling Windows

Large glass panels require aluminum or fibreglass framing. Structurally engineered mullions and headers are needed for wind and seismic loads. Low-emissivity (Low-E) glazing maximizes energy efficiency and reduces solar heat gain.

Sliding Windows and Doors

Need weathertight gaskets and interlocks to keep air and water out. Use thermally broken frames to save energy and heat.

Pivot and Bi-Fold Doors

  • Heavy-duty pivot hardware or multi-point locking systems add stability and security.
  • Optimize thermal performance with thermally broken aluminum or steel frames and high-performance insulated glass units (IGUs).
  • To prevent water infiltration and prolong life, specified with concealed drainage channels and weather seals.

Minimalist, Frameless Windows

  • Use silicone glazing and tempered or laminated glass for frameless installations.
  • Precision engineering and detailing are needed to support glass panels and resist wind loads.
  • Low-E coatings and inert gas fill improve energy efficiency and UV protection.

Traditional Options

Double-Hung Windows

  • Use counterbalanced sash mechanisms with stainless steel or bronze hardware for smooth operation.
  • Reduce air infiltration with compression-seal weather-stripping and interlocking meeting rails.
  • Offer warm-edge spacer-equipped IGUs for better thermal performance.

Casement Windows

High-performance seals and gaskets reduce air leakage and boost energy efficiency. Dual- or triple-pane glazing with inert gas fills improves thermal insulation.

Traditional Paneled Wood Doors

  • Made of premium hardwoods with mortise-and-tenon joinery for strength.
  • Several coats of high-quality exterior finishes for weatherproofing and UV protection.
  • To seal and save energy, use adjustable thresholds and weatherstripping.

Arched Windows

Custom-made with reinforced mullions and curved framing for the arched design. Installation must be precise for structural integrity and weather resistance.

Exterior and Interior Accents

Modern Options

Glass Balconies and Railings

  • Use glass panels and stainless steel hardware for transparency and style.
  • Improve outdoor views and openness while maintaining safety and functionality.

Modern Light Fixtures

Select minimalist custom home designs with clean lines, geometric shapes, and LED technology. Modern exteriors benefit from energy-efficient lighting.

Contemporary Fencing

Modernize fencing with horizontal slats, metal panels, or gabion walls. Offer a sense of seclusion and safety while enhancing the appeal and architectural style of outdoor areas.

Minimalist Gardens

  • Construct low-maintenance spaces with native plants, ornamental grasses, and sculptures.
  • Emphasize simplicity, clean lines, and a modern look to match your custom home architecture.

Traditional Options

Wooden Shutters

  • Let your custom home builder install wooden shutters with louvres or panels for curb appeal, shade, and privacy.
  • Achieve antique charm with natural wood finishes or classic paint colours.

Classic Brick or Stone Walkways

Use brick pavers or flagstone to make classic pathways in custom homes. Increase accessibility and appeal by adding texture and character to outdoor projects.

Traditional Lanterns and Sconces

Lanterns, wall sconces, and carriage lights provide warm, ambient lighting for new home exteriors. They improve architectural elements and create a vintage atmosphere.

Picket Fences

Vinyl or wood picket fences define property lines and add American appeal. Improve curb appeal and make a welcoming entryway with traditional white or complementary paint.


Modern Options

  • Xeriscaping: Reduce water use and maintain landscapes with drought-tolerant plants, succulents, and native grasses. Uses mulch, rocks, and permeable paving.
  • Geometric Hardscaping: Design minimalist outdoor spaces with clean lines, geometric shapes, concrete, gravel, and steel. Add modern patios, walkways, and seating.
  • Concrete or Metal Planters: Uses innovative planting solutions to make vertical gardens and focal points in urban and contemporary family homes.

Traditional Options

  • Manicured Lawns and Flower Beds. Landscapes with lush lawns, colourful flower beds, and trimmed shrubbery are classic and inviting. 
  • English Gardens. Rich foliage, fragrant blooms, and winding pathways add site formality. For a classic garden, add trellises, arbours, and outdoor seating. Classic fountains, birdbaths, and water troughs add focal interest.
  • Stone Pathways and Driveways. Natural stone pathways, driveways, and edging add durability and traditional appeal. Designers suggest using flagstone, cobblestone, or gravel.

Work With An Expert Home Builder in Vancouver

So, which style suits you best? Integrated design elements that reflect your style and unique visions can improve your property’s aesthetic and value, which makes custom home construction successful. Award-winning custom home builders in Vancouver can give you invaluable tips and advice for traditional and modern construction.

If you plan to build a new home or want a major renovation project, working with a professional custom home builder can make all the difference. Home building isn’t an easy process, and it requires high standard and important steps for quality and excellence.

Major Homes Ltd. can help homeowners take this exciting journey with confidence, knowing their dream home is in good hands. Across Metro Vancouver, North Shore, Lower Mainland, and the Fraser Valley, we bring experience, technical expertise, and creative insight to ensure every detail is on point and in line with the construction standards. Contact us today! 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I create exteriors that are cohesive?

Thinking about the landscaping, lighting, roofing, and siding as a whole allows you to create more cohesive designs. Work with local professionals in North Vancouver and West Vancouver to ensure all elements match your preference and enhance the overall project design.

Are custom home builders necessary for exterior design, or can I do it myself?

  • It is best to hire custom home builders because they have the skills and experience in home building, access to fixed-price material costs, sub-trades, and more construction services.
  • Efficient project management, compliance with construction codes, and professional craftsmanship are also all guaranteed.
  • The expertise and hard work of custom home builders can precisely implement the vision while handling any issues that arise as they build houses.

How do I integrate modern exterior elements seamlessly into my existing structure? 

Knowing what to add and change requires a thorough assessment of your house’s structure. You should ensure that it’s structurally sound and meets local building codes in Vancouver. A custom home builder can incorporate modern elements like metal siding, large windows, and green roofs while ensuring quality craftsmanship.

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