If you're trying to imagine what your stucco home would look like with vinyl siding, or with different windows, it's a snap to do with The Designed Exterior. The visualizing tool offers various millwork, shingles, windows and masonry options that can be featured on a house.
While most visualizers from other companies focus solely on that company's product line, Ply Gem opted to make The Designed Exterior more user friendly.
"Because we make so much of the exterior of the home, we said, 'Let's take this all the way so someone can visualize a home from soup to nuts, including the products we don't make.' We don't make the roof, we don't make entry doors, we don't make garage doors. We make pretty much everything else," said John Stephenson, vice president of marketing for Ply Gem.
For instance, "if someone has a red roof on their home, and they want to visualize with a black roof, we want them to be able to make sure what will look good on their home," he said.
"We really have taken a holistic approach to the whole house. As a user, what you can do on our visualizer is go in and choose from over 20 homes in varying styles and pick the home that's most similar to your home. We've done most of the work for you. We've already done all the masking, all the shadowing, and you can go in without any setup and go in and add materials and textures and change the roof and things like that," he said.
The visualizer has about two dozen styles of homes that were commonly built from the mid-50's to the mid-80's, since those homes are the ones most apt to need a facelift. Users can pick the exterior and add the roofing material, windows and siding as well as trim and stone veneer. If a dormer or gable or even a porch is desired, that can be added, too.
"The homes that we've chosen to use with our visualizer are very much current housing stock, not a castle on a beach in Ireland that we don't feel people will be visualizing," Stephenson said.
Since the visualizer launched in February, there has been significant interest from homeowners as well as professionals such as builders and contractors. The final product can be saved to a folder and printed or stored for future use.
"Because we're doing everything on the home, to me we're the only one in the industry that's providing a homeowner or a pro with the opportunity to take the entire home, even the railing, the roofing and other materials like that, and give a much broader look at a home," Stephenson said.
Read more about home exteriors.