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Almost nothing about this year brought us a sense of stability, except for the materials we gravitated toward the most. Home remodeling and design site Houzz recently took a look at its top search inquiries from 2020 and found that in addition to our renewed interest in all things outdoors (aboveground pools, firepits, and hammocks all spiked this summer), we took a liking to four extra-durable materials during the pandemic. No, indestructible laminate and hardy granite didn’t make the cut—the choices will really surprise you.

Batten and Board Siding

Searches for this layered look (the narrow wood strips called battens break up the wider planks) were up 282 percent, probably because with all of our neighbors at home, curb appeal suddenly became a big deal. While this siding is typically made out of natural wood, it can be done in engineered wood, which is less susceptible to rot.


Dining chairs, closet doors, built-in benches—we’ve seen this woven textile grace just about every surface this year. The breezy material isn’t just for summer homes anymore: Surround it with light wood tones and it will take on a very modern Scandinavian vibe. 

Corrugated Metal Roofs

So long, flat surfaces! This lightweight paneling, known for its undulating seams, is making waves thanks to its ability to withstand wear and tear and super-low price point (costs range between $.90 to $1.75 per square foot). 

Wrought-Iron Railings

Sometimes you’ll see an iron baluster with a wave and two straight rods or a wave every six poles, but Alex Boudreau decided to fully commit to the shape in her Todos Santos, Mexico, home. “I thought, why aren’t we just going all the way?” she says. The bars are a small reminder that following your gut pays off. 

Our Winter Renovation issue is here! Subscribe now to step inside Leanne Ford’s latest project—her own historic Pennsylvania home. Plus discover our new rules of reno.