Cladding refers to a material that’s added over an existing structure for decoration and enhanced protection. Cladding materials are either natural or manmade.
Manmade materials are more preferred due to their low maintenance. Regardless, timber claddings are becoming more popular as they’re now made as low-maintenance cladding materials.
Even if your home is already cladded, you may replace the cladding to enhance its character, especially where the chosen cladding material matches the surrounding décor.
Also, cladding is a great way of improving a dated and tired home. Any inappropriate materials should be replaced. Else, you can use a cladding material that won’t demand further treatment after every few years.
It’ll help to discuss render when discussing cladding because it’s a cladding technique. Most of the materials used in cladding are dry.
Cladding materials are fixed in place using fittings or screws. On the other hand, render comprises a wet coating that’s applied like plaster.
Pebbledash and roughcast are closely related to render. These coatings are applied in situations where render requires reinforcement with shells, gravel, or pebbles to form a hard-wearing coating over a wall.
These coatings are especially popular on coastal properties to help them stand up to harsh coastal elements.
The coatings were also popularly used on properties built by local authorities in the 1970s and 1980s due to their affordability and ease of maintenance.
Is Planning Permission Required When Adding Exterior Finishes?
Any changes to the exterior appearance of your property may have to adhere to certain planning rules as set by the local council.
Thus, it’s important to check with the local council before proceeding with the project. In some areas, cladding changes are permitted and don’t require seeking permission.
However, listed properties and houses built on protected land, such as national parks, may require seeking planning permission before making any changes.
Which Is The Best Cladding Material For My Home?
The appearance of nearby houses, what the local council will approve, and your budget will largely determine the cladding material to choose.
Remember that prices may vary depending on each cladding project. Also, most suppliers only supply cladding materials and hardly install them.
Thus, you’ll still need to hire the services of a qualified architect or building company to install your preferred cladding material.
It’s also important to consider the maintenance requirements of the cladding material. Low-maintenance cladding materials have a higher cost of installation but save on the upkeep and treatments required over time.
A DIY handy homeowner can save a lot of money by choosing a cladding material that they can install by themselves. Also, choose a cladding material you can maintain yourself.
The Cost of Installing Different Exterior Cladding Finishes
- Fiber cement weatherboard- $120 per square meter
- Hardwood timber – $165 per square meter
- Timber composite- $195 per square meter
- Heat-treated timber- $145 per square meter
- Softwood timber (treated or painted)- $90 per square meter
- Tiles (slate)- $333 per square meter
- Tiles (concrete)- $74 per square meter
- Artificial stone- $130 per square meter
- Natural stone- $185 per square meter
- Brick slips- $90 to $110 per square meter
- Brick- $110 per square meter
- PVCu- $90 per square meter
- Metal- $90 per square meter
- 3 coats of masonry paint- $25 per square meter
- Rendering- $110 per square meter
Is DIY Cladding Advisable?
If you’re a competent DIY homeowner, you can easily install timber cladding by yourself. Timber cladding is typically fitted on battens. The battens are screwed on the exterior wall structure.
Also, PVCu claddings can be installed as a DIY project. PVCu claddings are fitted using a click clip system for effortless installation.
It’s also possible to undertake rendering as a DIY project. Just like with plastering, rendering is a wet trade that requires practice to perfect. Thus, if you don’t have any prior experience in rendering, consider leaving the work to an expert.
Specialist renders and claddings are often available for supply and fitting only. The reason behind this is that the installation techniques required are very unique. Thus, DIY work may not deliver the best results.
Brick Slips Cladding
Brick slips boast of being thin and lightweight. They’re only 20 to 25mm thick. They comprise brick slices fitted on a backing panel with the help of a special adhesive.
Next, mortar is used to seal any gaps, thereby creating a realistic and pointed look. You can choose between handmade and reclaimed finishes. They cost about 50 pounds per square meter, including mortar joints and the metal substructure lath.
Whether you choose a traditional weatherboarding style or shingles, wood cladding is among the most popular cladding materials. You can choose between softwoods and hardwoods.
Untreated pine costs about 10 pounds per square meter while painted or treated pine costs about 50 pounds per square meter.
Wood is often treated to reduce fading due to weather elements and to enhance its thermal properties. Softwoods require more regular maintenance than hardwoods. Thus, you can choose hardwoods for easier maintenance.
There’re cladding options that create a wood effect to look like timber cladding. Fortunately, it doesn’t need a lot of maintenance like timber.
For instance, you can find pre-painted fiber-cement boards that look like natural wood. They’re available in several colour options and are exceptionally durable. They cost about 65 pounds per square meter.
Rendering the Exterior of Your Home
Render is a superb wall finish as long as you choose the right material for your home. Rendering can be done in various finishes such as patterned, textured, or smooth finishes.
Also, there’re several colours to choose from. You can render both new and old properties to improve their insulation properties.
Be careful when choosing a render material for the best results. For instance, lime render suits old, historic properties while newer silicone renders offer the benefits of being breathable, low-maintenance, and flexible.
Modern types of render are a great improvement to older forms of render such as concrete. Prices for modern renders start at about 60 pounds per square meter.
Traditional rendering on exterior walls uses a mixture of cement, lime, and sand. However, the main disadvantage of such a render mix is that it varies from one builder to another.
For instance, adding lime to the mixture assists with flexibility. Thus, a builder who only uses a cement and sand render mixture may result in cracking over time.
Also, poor render mixes result in bubbling. Additionally, if a traditional render is applied on a wall that doesn’t get sufficient direct sunlight, it won’t dry properly.
As a result, black mold may thrive alongside lime bloom and algae. Besides, the render may demand repainting after every few years. Luckily, there’s a solution to these challenges.
Over the last few decades, silicone is added into pre-packed rendering mixes to enhance the flexibility of the render. The added flexibility reduces the chances of failure.
Also, the render is coloured and doesn’t require painting. It resists moisture for enhanced longevity. Additionally, some silicone renders resist pollution and are self-cleaning.
Preferably, consult your builder regarding the kind of render they’ll use for your project. If they’re not considering a newer rendering solution, request them to use it for your project.
Although newer renders may be costlier than traditional renders, they’re worth the higher installation cost due to the savings you’ll make over time as they’re low-maintenance.
uPVC is yet another great cladding material for exterior walls. It’s available in weatherboarding or larchlap styles. uPVC is mostly preferred for its affordability.
It’s among the most affordable cladding materials you can find today. It’s available in coloured and white finishes. However, it may get discoloured over time.
Preferably, choose premium uPVC cladding options that come with a discolouration guarantee for a certain period.
That way, you’ll get a maintenance-free and durable exterior finish. The cost of supply and installation is about 50 pounds per square meter.
Metal cladding suit the exterior walls of contemporary homes. They’re low maintenance and create a clean, streamlined look.
They’re available in several options including metal and vitreous enamel. They cost about 50 pounds per square meter. The cost varies based on the chosen finish and material.
Tips for Exterior Render and Cladding
- Applying render or cladding is a superb way of improving the insulation properties of your home. Generally, render is more affordable than cladding.
- oCladding is typically fitted with steel frames or timber battens that are attached to the wall structure. The kind of installation method to use depends on the chosen cladding material.
- Cladding may come with a rainscreen. A rainscreen is a weatherproof system that’s breathable to allow water drainage, thereby reducing the likelihood of condensation behind the cladding.
- You should be careful about the final appearance of the cladding or render. Consider whether you want to render or clad the entire house before proceeding. In some instances, treating the lower or upper half of your home and painting the remaining half might be enough.
- Ensure you check the manufacturer’s warranty before buying a cladding or render material. Also, ensure your building insurer approves the chosen material.
- Cladding is available in several finishes including painted or stained, pre-treated, and untreated finishes. You can also choose an unfinished option, which stands out as the most affordable finish.
- If you’re a DIY handy homeowner seeking to save money, you can apply textured rendering or install timber cladding by yourself. Else, hire a professional rendering or cladding installation service.