Investing in a home in River Oaks usually means that you are committed to building a legacy that you can share with your family for years to come.

It takes work and money to make the idea of legacy a reality and even more work and money to make it endure over the decades. An investor’s approach to building and/or renovating your home is essential, always with a thought to materials that will provide a satisfying return in terms of performance.

Before calling your contractor, take a look at five modern building materials to consider when your home needs work.

Insulated Concrete Framing 

Anyone who has lived in Houston for more than three years – Hurricane Harvey is coming up on its third anniversary this month – knows the kind of damage that Mother Nature is capable of. As such, your home’s framing should be of the highest quality. The insulated structural panels that are prevalent in many homes carry a host of problems, from low thermal mass to oscillated strand board sheathing that rots easily in the presence of heavy moisture.

Unsurprisingly, many of the neighborhoods that were flooded in Harvey are foregoing traditional wood framing materials and building instead with concrete structures. Insulated concrete forms offer superior thermal mass to keep your home at a comfortable temperature in the long hot Houston summers and a solid, one-piece design that provides an improved air and moisture barrier.

Slot Drains for Driveways

Irrespective of Harvey, Houston gets heavy rains every year. It looks a little tacky to have your home surrounded by a swamp. Not to mention the mosquitoes that standing water attracts. Therefore, an aesthetically pleasing slot driveway drainage system can make the perimeter of your property stand out – in a good way – when Houston gets hit with the inevitable tropical deluge.

Synthetic Roofing Shingles

Most high-end homes are trending away from generic asphalt shingles, as the asphalt regularly sheds granules when exposed to heavy rains and extensive sun, creating an eyesore that is difficult to clean up as the rain washes them through the gutters.

Consider synthetic shingles instead. They come in a variety of designs and colors. They are also resistant to cracking and blistering, are rated to withstand heavy winds and rains, and offer elite UV and fire protection, making for a common-sense choice to shield your investment.

Polished Concrete Floors

What’s the fun of owning a big house in River Oaks if you always have to think twice about entertaining? Carpet and porous tile flooring stain easily and require frequent and attentive cleaning measures to keep their fresh appearance.

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Polished concrete eliminates much of these cleaning concerns, providing a durable floor designed to handle heavy foot traffic. If you are concerned about the concrete being drab, fear not. Modern contractors can finish concrete floors in a wide variety of sleek designs and memorable colorations.

Note: Polished concrete can also be an interesting choice for countertops.

Quartz Countertops

Many people judge a home by its kitchen. It should be roomy and thoughtfully well equipped, even if the owners never cook.

While there are a number of kitchen trends in 2020 – such as open shelves instead of cabinets, double ovens, double dishwashers, double islands and unlacquered brass fixtures – quartz surfaces are among the most frequently featured in modern home renovations.

Quartz is a man-made engineered stone product – brands include Caesarstone and Silestone – that does not require sealing. Not only does quartz give the same bold, elegant look as traditional marble, but quartz is much easier to clean and maintain, as its nonporous fabrication eliminates the staining concerns that plagued its antecessors. If you’ve ever spilled red wine on your Carrara marble countertops, you know what we’re talking about.


Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency and increase property value.