Cor-ten Siding

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We've had an architectural crush on Cor-ten steel ever since we saw the John Deere corporate headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa. (Check out a detail after the jump.) Eero Saarinen's modernist box is softened and fit to the landscape by the material, which appears to be rusting away. Could it be the right new siding for our house? We've been thinking of galvanized corrugated steel, but this might be less severe. It's definitely less shiny.

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A606 steel, the standard name for thin sheets of Cor-ten, is a blend of steel, copper, chromium (yikes), and nickel. It looks rusty, but the rust forms a protective coating that keeps the metal from degrading further.

We're thinking this might be a good siding for our own house. We've found a manufacturer online, and the price is right: $2.50 to $3.00 a square foot, plus shipping charges.

Green cred: it never needs to be painted and it should last a good long while... although no one's telling us exactly how long. Potential drawbacks: we're not sure about the runoff. We're ok with staining and streaking, but we want to make sure we're not polluting the ground around the house. And it's not a local material: unless you know of a Pacific Northwest manufacturer, it will be coming by truck from Southern California all the way to Oregon.

What are your thoughts? Is this the right material for our little green house?


image via John Deere