Choosing the right cladding: A guide for your new home
Today there are so many different types, colours, styles and materials of cladding to choose from for your new home. You’ll be able to choose from a variety of durable, low maintenance options, so it’s good to have some idea of the look you want to achieve and any preference for materials.
Oct 11, 2022
The range of options can be overwhelming and its important to consider things like your home’s design and its location. To help you make the right choice for your home, below is a guide to some of the different cladding types available in New Zealand and insights on how they compare.
Weatherboard is arguably the most popular modern cladding in New Zealand and there’s lots of different types and materials to consider.
Timber weatherboard is a classic Kiwi style and has remained popular through the years due to its versatility and ability to add warmth to any building design. It can also be a budget-friendly option and comes in a variety of different types, with cedar and pine the most commonly used.
The problem with timber is that its vulnerable to the elements. It shrinks in the cold, expands in the heat and swells when it gets wet – if it’s not protected properly. While timber can be a cheaper option initially, it’s important to remember the ongoing maintenance costs that can creep up, including fixing or replacing damaged weatherboards and repainting to seal any issues.
To keep your timber weatherboard protected, make sure its painted or stained every few years. Depending on the type of timber you use, weatherboard can last up to 60 years if you look after it carefully.
Fibre cement weatherboard
Another increasingly popular weatherboard is fibre cement, thanks to its superior stability and durability.
Fibre cement is made using sand, cement and cellulose fibres. It was created to provide a more resilient option than timber weatherboard, while still achieving a similar look. It requires a lot less maintenance because its much more resistant to moisture. It’s designed to stand up to New Zealand’s harsh conditions and is ideal for windy and coastal areas.
Brick and brick veneer
Brick and brick veneer are very traditional cladding types in New Zealand. Brick became popular in the late 1990s to early 2000’s thanks to the leaky homes crisis, which effected tens of thousands of timber-framed homes across the country that were not fully weathertight.
Brick offers very effective thermal insulation and good weather resistance, making it one of the most durable cladding choices. It also requires very little maintenance, except for getting the mortar fixed – the grooves between the bricks. One downside of using brick is that it can be time consuming to install and is very labour intensive, so construction can take longer than other methods.
While some may consider brick an outdated style, the days of standard red brick are gone, and it continues to be a popular choice in new and interesting design styles. For example, matte black brick, white glossy brick or even unique brick shapes.
Plaster is a very modern cladding style and is often incorporated with weatherboard. It creates a smooth and sleek look to your home.
Plaster cladding got a bad reputation during the leaky homes crisis, as it featured in a lot of the effected homes. However, the technology has improved significantly since then and the new cladding is weathertight, durable, cost-effective and very quick to install. Another benefit is that its flat surface makes it really easy to clean.
One thing to keep in mind, is that plaster cladding is much heavier than other types of cladding, like weatherboard. This could cost you more because you’ll need to ensure that your home’s structure can support it.
Aluminium and steel are the most common metal cladding types because they’re really strong and can be cost-effective. They come in range of different colours and options and offers a very modern look to your cladding, however, the style might not suit every home design.
For a more distinct look, you might like to consider using natural stone, such as schist or granite.
Stone cladding is very durable and fire resistant, and will give your home a unique look. However, it’s considerably more expensive than other cladding options and can take a long time to install – further adding to your costs.
Natural stone is commonly used for external design features and incorporated alongside other cladding options, such as concrete or timber.
Mix and match
Most houses tend to incorporate more than one cladding option, mainly for design purposes and to achieve a certain look. Combining different styles is a great way to make your home more interesting and incorporate different cladding benefits for different parts of your home. For example, you might use bricks on the side of your home that is hit by the most wind or use darker cladding on the sunniest side to make the most of the heat.
Mixing up your cladding can also help your budget. A small splurge on some expensive cladding for a feature wall is much more cost-effective than using it for the whole exterior of your home, while still achieving the look you want.
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