External Cladding 101: Everything you Need to Know

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Image by candwarch via Flickr

Cladding can be an extensive subject with plenty of options available to the customer. So much so it can become overwhelming. Knowing exactly what to look for, the benefits, and what to avoid can help you make the most out of your cladding choice.

So, why do people normally invest in cladding? It could be for purely decorative purposes; to make their walls look like they’re made from a different type of material. Moreover on the artistic side of things, cladding can be like exterior decorating. More commonly however it’s used to protect the outside of someone’s home whilst acting as an insulator and shield to harmful elements. This can give the homeowner peace of mind knowing their property is being protected.

Being a permanent structure, exterior cladding is an important decision. That’s why reading up on our guide will help you get a well-rounded understanding of cladding.

Types of cladding available 

  • Timber – is a very versatile and durable material for  external cladding. As it is very strong, you get extra protection from harsh weather conditions. Despite its strength and durability, timber does need a relative amount of upkeep. If you have the budget to repaint your timber cladding on a regular basis, this could be the one for you. 
  • Weatherboard cladding – unlike timber, weatherboarding needs little maintenance. Because it is man-made you have the choice of laying the cladding either vertically or horizontally. 
  • Brick veneer cladding – even though it’s an older type of exterior cladding, veneer is extremely durable. It also has the ability to blend in perfectly with the outside of your home and requires minimal maintenance. 
  • Stone – has a great range of scope for creativity. Due to the range of different stones you can get, this option is becoming increasingly affordable for customers. 
  • Metal – this highly versatile material means your cladding can come in the form of bronze, allow, copper, brass, and more. There are even choices on the market that give your walls a shiny, patterned, or textured finish.

As you can see, the design of your cladding is really down to you. If you find the right design, you can achieve whatever look you wish. 

The benefits of cladding 

Cladding can provide plenty of benefits to any building. No matter where you live, your home is exposed to damaging environmental elements such as rain, wind, and UV rays. If you live by the sea you will also have the additional battle of salt water. Adding exterior cladding can be an effective way of protecting your walls. The extra layer also acts as a barrier to unwanted noise by absorbing the sound waves.

Not to mention, your home will be kept well ventilated due to the efficient movement of air through the gap between the wall and cladding. Solar radiation is absorbed and the air gets continually ventilated. This also means that the walls have more breathability and excess moisture can be effectively carried away from the building. 

Potential downsides 

The maintenance factor can pose an issue depending on your budget constraints. This is particularly the case if you choose textured patterns which attract more dust and dirt. Also, certain metals may oxidise over time and become discoloured if you do not treat them regularly. If you’re concerned about keeping the cladding in great condition with minimal upkeep, its best to go for materials like weatherboarding or brick veneers. If not, regular repainting and cleaning will keep your exteriors looking beautiful for the years to come. 

How to choose exterior cladding for your home 

Think about the style of your property and the look you want to achieve. Do you prefer the classic or are you a fan of contemporary design? The most important factors however are the ones that protect your home in the best way possible. Choosing well can increase your home’s value and appeal to potential buyers. So consider the following when deciding what’s best for you:

  • The material – it must be appropriate for your home and the environment you live in.
  • The cost – maintenance is a big thing. So if the price is cheaper upfront, always think about how much repairing it will need in the future.
  • The look – if you want something with room for personalisation, stone and metals provide a good range for change.
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