When it comes to cladding, perception can be everything. Due to the leaky building crisis, there's still a widespread wariness around the 'chilly bin' houses from the 1990s – even those that have been given the all-clear. So whether you're ready to reclad – or just curious to know what's involved – we provide you with the basic recladding costs.
If you’re recladding the likes of a sturdy state house, or a trusty brick-and-tile, your renovation project is likely to be straightforward. But even with a low-risk home, there’s still a chance you’ll find more than you bargained for.
The first thing to know about recladding costs is that your renovation consultant probably can’t give you a 100% fixed price upfront. There are several factors that affect the cost – and only some of them are known from the outset.
Firstly, of course, there’s the size of your home. A simple one-level home will be more cost-effective to reclad than one with multiple storeys or a complex design. You’ll also pay more if your home is situated on a steep or tricky site, because it will need more extensive scaffolding.
Cost will also depend on the amount of remedial work needed. The moment of truth arrives when you strip back your existing cladding, and reveal the state of the framing underneath. Either your existing framing is in good shape, or it needs replacing.
One of Refresh Renovations says this is the single biggest factor that can affect the cost – and it’s also the biggest unknown.
Problems like poor plaster cladding and design, coupled with shoddy building practices, are a perfect storm of bad surprises that have traditionally led to leaky homes. Plaster as a cladding got stuck with a bad name.
“Clients are telling us they want to get away from the stigma of plaster, whether it’s leaky or not,” says Refresh Renovations.
The year your house was built can provide clues to your level of risk, but "you won’t know for sure that your framing is sound until the framing has been exposed."
“And if you come across anything that isn’t up to Code, it will have to be rectified.”
In one of Refresh's projects, the owners of a potentially leaky home had previously received the all-clear from their testing company.
“The owners still wanted to get rid of the plaster…and when we took the cladding off, a lot of the timber was in fact damaged and had to be replaced.”
Moisture-testing can never accurately predict the condition of the framing underneath, say our Refresh Renovations Builders, given that it’s done on a spot-testing basis. So when preparing estimates for her clients, she always includes a calculation for the ‘worst-case scenario’ of having to replace all the timber.
As a very broad guideline, an average cost to replace all the timber, including labour, is around $10,000 per elevation.
So that’s approximately $40,000 for a one-storey home, and $80,000 for a two-storey home.
The more common scenario, though, is that only a proportion of the timber needs replacing. Any timber that is wet, decaying, mouldy (or displaying black spores) will have to go. You might have seen the ‘pink-tagged’ framing on building sites.
“Once the framing is exposed, we engage an independent timber consultant who inspects it, and tags the timber that needs to come out", our renovation builders explain.
“After that’s replaced, we have to inject the new timber and all the existing remaining timber with a preservative compound.”
As you’d expect, you will need the proper building approval for your recladding project. You’ll need to budget somewhere between $5,000-$10,000 for this.
You can also expect more paperwork. Regardless of your reasons for recladding (leaky home or not), Councils pay particular attention to the standard of work done.
Depending on the workload of the council inspection teams, these visits can involve a wait of several weeks. Mis-timing these inspections is a common pitfall for first-time renovators, says Ben King, a construction manager with Refresh Renovations.
“You don’t want to be tools-down for two weeks while you wait for your inspection to happen,” says Ben.
“An experienced project manager knows to pre-book the inspections, then communicate with the builders to keep progress on track.”
If you would like to discuss options and ideas for your next renovation project, please use the enquiry form alongside to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your project. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.
*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.
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If you would like to find out how Refresh Renovations can support you with a high quality, efficient home renovation, get in touch today. Your local Refresh consultant will be happy to meet with you for a free, no obligations consultation.