Choosing a cladding system for your home

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ARTICLE Persephone Nicholas, PHOTOGRAPHY courtesy of Marshall Architects

Whether your style is classic or contemporary, there’s a cladding system to suit your property.

Choosing a cladding system for your home is about much more than enhancing its street appeal. The right cladding will help keep your home weathertight as well as looking good and can greatly affect its value and saleability. So even if you’re not renovating for profit, cladding your property effectively is a wise investment that pays both short and longer-term dividends.

There are now more cladding systems on the market than ever before. Finding the most appropriate choice may take a little time but cladding – used creatively outside and in – is a great way to stamp your own personal style on a property.

Ready to invest in new cladding but not sure where to begin? Here’s our round up of everything you need to know.

Materials matter

The choice of exterior cladding materials has never been greater – and there are new products coming on to the market all the time.

Award-winning architect Daniel Marshall says choosing the right cladding means taking into account a number of factors:  “Any cladding must be appropriate for the context, environment and condition [of the house].”  He says the architectural style of a building should be respected too.

Cladding favourites

Brick veneer: A traditional choice, popular because of its understated good looks, proven performance and longevity. Brick can seem like an expensive option but may be a wise investment as it requires minimal maintenance and is a relatively sustainable choice.

Timber: An exceptionally versatile and resilient material. It can be deployed to contemporary or classic weatherboarding effect – and painted or stained to suit any colour palette.  It must, however, be repainted with good quality paint every few years to keep it weathertight and looking fresh. Cedar is a softwood that is often left unpainted. It eventually weathers to a subtle silver grey after exposure to the elements.

Man-made weatherboarding: Classic in looks but lower maintenance than timber, man-made weatherboards can be horizontal or vertical and are popular with those looking for a watertight, low-maintenance and budget-friendly option. 

There are a wide variety of brands and products to choose from. Some are high-tech, others less sophisticated; prices vary accordingly so it pays to do your research. This kind of weatherboarding is usually very robust and needs no painting and little maintenance other than an occasional wash. Disadvantages vary according to the material from which the weatherboarding is manufactured; some lower quality products may warp or discolour in particular weather conditions.

Stone: A luxe choice, which is becoming more affordable as manufacturers develop new techniques and products. For example, Craftstone’s new Schist Clad is made from natural stone cut thin and ready to lay. Quicker to install than full thickness stone, pieces are pre-cut and shaped to reduce cutting and noise on site. It’s also relatively economical as less stone is needed to cover each square metre.

For faux stone cladding, check out Hard as Rocks, producers of high quality, artificial stone cladding that is weathertight and almost indistinguishable from the real thing.

Metals: metal cladding, usually zinc alloy or aluminium, is a flexible option that is particularly suitable for contemporary structures with clean, sharp lines. Metal cladding is exceptionally durable and can last between six to eight decades even in harsh environmental conditions. Aluminium is a great choice where weight is an issue – it’s a very light metal, weighing about a third as much as steel or copper.

Concrete: once considered among the most mundane of materials, concrete is now the cladding of choice for many architects.  It is an excellent insulator and extremely versatile – it can be smooth, textured, treated with acid, washed, polished and sandblasted.  It can be mixed in many colours and it’s even possible to incorporate photographic images with photo concrete.

Cladding now: what’s hot

Brick veneer and timber or weatherboard cladding are more popular than ever. these materials have perennial appeal.  Brick veneer is low maintenance and will last a lifetime. Refresh Renovations use it a lot for character homes and bungalows.

Painted weatherboarding is a tried and tested option that can also be used for cladding interior walls. Painted weatherboard gives a beachy feel and is hard wearing. It can take a few knocks so it’s good for rumpus rooms.

Timber is often considered the most sustainable cladding choice but the longevity of brick should also be taken into account. If you’re thinking about stone, try to find one that has been sourced locally rather than imported.  People are starting to look at the impact of importing products from overseas.

Contemporary materials and designs create a point of difference. Metal and concrete can be used to clad almost any building, and different finishes, textures and hues are being used to stunning effect in modern homes.

Linking indoor and outdoor spaces

Some people are choosing to extend their chosen cladding indoors, for example by creating stone feature walls. Architect Daniel Marshall says these can be elegant:  “There’s often less delineation now so the external environment runs into the interior environment. You can bring stone inside quite gracefully if it’s the right texture, but bear in mind that the interior and exterior will start to look different after a while. What’s outside will become weathered but the interior cladding will stay much the same as when it was installed.”

Whether you’re cladding inside, outside or both, restraint is important, advises Daniel. He says:  “I always stress that it’s better not to use too many materials, preferably just one.”

You might be interested in reading this: Cladding FAQs.

 
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This article by Persephone Nicholas featured in Issue 005 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.
 

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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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