Exterior Wall Cladding, what are the options?

19 August, 2020 | Mikala Chapman

Exterior Wall Cladding, what are the options?

Kerb appeal is about great first impressions, whether renovating an older home or building a new one choosing the right exterior cladding can have a visually stunning impact that will add character and personality to your home.

Wall cladding is not just about its visual effect, it also serves as a performance material. Think of it as a protective skin for the building, it is an excellent insulator, improves energy efficiency and safeguards against structural deterioration.

Exterior cladding can not only transform your homes aesthetic, but it will also increase its function and performance by improving its tolerance to external influences.

There are numerous wall cladding options available on the market today in terms of material, colour, style, finish and durability. Material options in external wall cladding include natural stone, timber, brick, vinyl, aluminium, steel, concrete, ceramic, fibre cement, fibreboard, glass and metal among many more at varying prices. Given the choices available, how do you choose the right cladding that is best for your home and environment?

Budget is usually a significant factor during the selection process, but there are other key elements that you should consider. Your local environment is of particular importance, especially if you have exposure to extreme heat or cold, a marine atmosphere, heavy winds or even seismic effects. By selecting the right cladding for your environment, you can reduce your environmental impact through effective insulation performance and also increase safety by selecting a fire-resistant material.

Here are just a few Wall Cladding options

Metal Cladding

Certainly, one of the most well-known and popular types of cladding, colorbond steel cladding has a choice of 22 standard colours and 5 matt shades. It delivers on performance, has a long lifespan, is resistant to chipping, flaking and blistering, has a good fire protection rating, is light weight and best of all little maintenance. When installed correctly, colorbond steel creates a weather tight seal around the structure and provides enhanced thermal efficiency.

It can be used externally but has also been used as an interior feature wall. With this versatile product the design possibilities are endless.

Hardwood Fibreboard Cladding

This Australian Hardwood cladding comes with the claim of ‘better than zero carbon footprint’, it is a great product for those who are looking for a green building option. Weathertex cladding is the first manufactured product globally to receive the Green Tag Platinum accreditation on the natural range.

A 25yr guarantee against rot, split or cracking issues, termite resistant and simple installation all make this product a top contender. It is available natural or primed ready for painting.

Charred Timber 

With is black matt finish and textured boards this unique product is not only durable but beautiful. It offers a long-term maintenance free colour fast option, is incredibly tough and has a natural earthy appeal.

The charring process creates a carbon crust that is UV resistant and not susceptible to silvering out, plus it is resistant to insect attack. Eco timber’s charred range uses Australian hardwoods, all of which attract a BAL 29 fire rating, typically the species used are ironbark, spotted gum and blackbutt. If used for an internal space the timber is sealed with a matte water-based polyurethane to prevent the carbon residue coming off the surface. For the exterior it is recommended a coating of Black Ash Cutex be applied every 7 years to rehydrate the timber. A screw fix is preferred for the installation, or you can use the black heads self-drilling screws supplied by Eco Timber. A vast variety of profiles are available in this product that can be used for feature walls or to clad an entire home. 

Fibre Cement Wall Cladding

Available in 14 horizontal and vertical grooved boards as well as rectangular and square panels, Scyons fibre cement cladding (also known as Harditex cladding) is a high performance and low maintenance exterior cladding. Scyon cladding is available in a choice of timber finishes or can be supplied pre primed ready to paint. They can either be nailed to timber frames or screwed to light gauge steel frames. This cladding is an incredibly popular and versatile product that not only look great but is a brilliant building product for fire prone areas. With a fire rating of up to 60 minutes when used with Hardie smart system walls, these cladding boards meet BAL 40 bush fire requirements.

Brick Wall Cladding: 

Bricks are thermally efficient, durable, weatherproof, fire resistant, non-toxic, low maintenance and provide excellent sound insulation. If you like the look of bricks, they are a fantastic option, because they deliver on so many fronts.

Available in a wide choice of colours, sizes, finishes and textures the design choices are endless. In the last few years bricks have certainly made a comeback, with bricks being shown off on both the exterior and interior of homes.  Gone are the days where bricks were primarily used to enclose a building, then covered with render or gyprock never to be seen again. 

Steel Backed Bricked Company specialise in light weight brick cladding systems featuring custom cut bricks placed into a steel rail, which is mechanically fixed to the substrate. They steel backed brick walls are incredibly strong and can be safely used in seismic zones. Cut from real bricks, the brick tiles look like an authentic brick wall cladding.

Timber Clad Houses and wall cladding

Hardwood timber would have to be one of the most popular forms of cladding right now, particularly for feature walls. It is used internally and externally in both residential and commercial spaces and is made from natural hardwood often in blackbutt and spotted gum species. Hardwood timber cladding is not only beautiful but has a long-term durability with a bushfire resistance up to BAL29, it can be fixed on timber or steal framework. To avoid weathering a coating of pigmented stain or paint is recommended, this style of cladding does require maintenance with periodic recoating to ensure long term performance and beauty.

There is a vast array of cladding options available all with their pro’s and con’s. Be sure to do your research as to what product suits not only your lifestyle, deign style but the environment it will be in.  Listed below are just a few more cladding options to add to your research list. 

Light weight brick finish cladding: Corium

Aluminium Architectural Cladding: Alumate

Vinyl wall cladding: Duratuff Select

Prefinished fibre cement panels: Barestone

Natural Stone Cladding: Bellstone

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