As well as enhancing the appearance of your home, cladding can serve several important functional purposes. It can act as an insulation and crucially, it offers protection.
Regulations and considerations
Although cladding falls under permitted development rules for many properties, it’s always best to check regulations. Also, if your house is attached to other houses, as in semi-detached or terraced, you should consider your neighbours as the cladding will affect their properties too in this situation. Once you have the go-ahead to clad your house you will need to decide which cladding is suitable for your property. When making your decision you should consider your budget, the aesthetics of the cladding and the maintenance required.
Popular cladding options
A popular option, especially if you are on a budget, is softwood timber cladding, such as pine or spruce. Do bear in mind the need for priming, painting and preserving though, as timber requires regular maintenance which can actually end up costing more in the long run.
Unstained timbers, such as larch and cedar, have become popular in recent years. Designed to weather over time, they do not require any coating or painting and will wear and mature as years go by giving the cladding an aged look.
Heat-treating reduces moisture in the wood, so heat-treated timbers such as Accoya and Kebony are more stable than untreated timber. Shou Sugi Ban Cladding has been used in Japan for hundreds of years but has gained popularity here recently. This process gives a very attractive look by running a blowtorch across the timber surface, leaving it blackened.
We think of walls being simply built out of brick so what is brick cladding? There are a few options with brick cladding; brick can be laid as a ground-bearing skin which is self-supporting or a brick slip or skin can be hung from a base fixed to the inner wall. Brick slips are expensive but very quick to fit. Additionally, brick-faced GRC (glass reinforced concrete) is a lightweight and cost-effective brick cladding system.
Although some of the most expensive PVCu options may cost just the same as timber, PVCu cladding can be one of the most economic cladding solutions and is a very popular option. Good quality PVC should be easy to fit, low maintenance and long-lasting.