Building to Beat the Heat

Whether you live in year-round heat or an area that just has scorching hot summers, it’s important that your current or new home can beat the heat. There are better building supplies and practices than others for optimizing temperature control. Let’s explore some options for building and landscaping in desert climes.

Building to Beat the Heat

Siding Options for Improving Insulation

Your home or business exterior is one of the first lines of defense against the elements. It should keep the temperature of your interior unaffected by what’s happening outside, whether it’s 10 degrees or 100 degrees.

Home renovation and building experts Burbach Companies recommend several siding options to improve your structure’s insulation. They include:

Brick or Brick Veneer Siding

Brick has been used for centuries as a building material because of its availability and durability. Brick Is a natural insulator and does a great job regulating interior building temperatures. If you’d like the look and function of brick without the same cost, a brick veneer is another good option for your home or business exterior.

Fiber Cement Siding

Not only is fiber cement durable, but it’s easy to customize. You can get the texture and color you want with less hassle, and this siding option is resistant to fading and pests.

Stone or Stone Veneer Siding

Like brick, natural stone or stone veneer is a fantastic natural insulator. It can add texture and depth to your structure while also keeping the heat at bay.


In places like Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico, stucco is an extremely popular siding material. Like fiber cement, it’s an adaptable material that can be customized to get the look you want without sacrificing function. 

Vinyl Siding

For a low-maintenance siding that still delivers on quality, vinyl is a good choice. It can be customized to fit any aesthetic, and it holds up against the elements.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, the city “exists in large part because of air conditioning.” Introduced in the 1930s, it was one of the main reasons why hotels, casinos, and other businesses were able to set up shop in Vegas. Today, our buildings don’t have to rely solely on the air conditioning or insulating materials to withstand the heat; working together, energy-efficient products can help keep inside temperatures comfortable year-round. 

Raise the Roof (and Its Ability to Insulate)

Remember that most of a home’s heat is conducted through the roof, so be sure your attic is fully insulated. This will keep the summer heat from penetrating through the roof of your home and will also keep your home from losing heat from the inside during the winter

Fiberglass Insulation

You can purchase batts or rolls of fiberglass insulation to fill the space between attic joists. One or two layers of batting should provide at least R-38 levels of insulation.

Blown-in Insulation

Insulation can be blown into the attic to fill all available space, providing more insulation than batting or rolls. You can blow the foam insulation into the space between the joints, or add it to the walls as well. 

Loose Fill Insulation

If your joists are irregular in width, or there is a lot of stuff to work around, loose fill insulation may be the most convenient option. It can be poured into open spaces directly, or packed into bags that are stuffed into openings.

If you ever plan on finishing an attic and converting it to a living space, be sure your insulation is on the ceiling and walls, rather than between the floor joists. To prevent heating an empty attic before it’s finished, you can place temporary, rigid foam panels in between the joists until you’re ready to put in actual flooring and start your renovation.

Make sure that no matter how you insulate, you promote airflow, whether your attic stays unfinished or not. Soffit and ridge vents should always remain open, unimpeded by insulation.

Mind the Gaps

You've gone to the trouble to insulate your walls and attic; now it’s time to turn your attention to the gaps in your windows and doors. You can upgrade to more energy-efficient products or seal leaks with silicone and weatherstripping.

Best Doors for Insulation

Exterior doors made of fiberglass are proven to be the best insulator against outside temperatures. Fiberglass doors are filled with foam insulation, and they don’t weather as quickly as wood or metal doors.

Best Windows for Insulation

Likewise, fiberglass framed windows complemented by low-E glass will offer better insulation than other materials. Two panes of low-E coated glass are better than one, and you can help your windows do their job by installing energy-efficient window coverings.

Best Window Coverings for Insulation

  • Insulated Cellular Shades
  • Window Quilts
  • Roller or Roman Shades
  • Louvered Blinds
  • Blackout Curtains
  • Window Films
  • Exterior Shutters
  • Exterior Awnings

Landscaping in Hot Climates

You’ve worked hard to preserve your home’s interior temperatures, but what about the outside? You should choose the right materials for landscaping and watering to avoid wasting time and resources beautifying your home’s or business’s exterior. Asphalt Materials, located in Utah, knows a thing or two about choosing landscaping and exterior materials that can survive brutally hot summers as well as freezing cold winters. Here are some of their tips for creating a water-wise landscape.

Choose Native Plants

It‘s in your best interest to choose plants that are native to your location. They are designed to thrive in heat and drought conditions while still maintaining foliage or blooms. 

Plant Hearty Turf

If you simply can’t go without having grass in your landscape, choose turf grass that has naturally deep roots. Asphalt recommends fescue and zoysia varieties in Utah due to their rooting habits. 

Water Deeply and Infrequently

It’s always a good practice to water your lawn less often, but for longer periods. Doing so teaches your plants to dig deep for moisture, instead of relying on frequent sprinkler watering to find a drink near the surface.

Smart Irrigation

To conserve water on your property, install smart irrigation that works with your local weather. Rain sensors can delay automatic watering to avoid overeating, and drip irrigation can reduce excessive evaporation or overspray. Invest in irrigation systems that can make watering more convenient, and less wasteful in hot climates.

The materials you choose for remodeling or building your home will vary based on your location, and budget. Regardless, these suggestions are pretty universal to any warm climate, as well as design tastes. 

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