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The beginner’s guide to exterior cladding

After being a popular finish in the 1960s and 1970s, exterior cladding rather went out of fashion in later decades. But it’s recently re-gained popularity as a way of giving buildings a smart appearance, as well as insulating and protecting them from the elements.

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Cladding comes in a number of different materials, from traditional timber to modern, low-maintenance metal and plastic. So, whatever the age and style of your home you should be able to find a type of cladding to match.

Cladding styles

Most people think of timber when it comes to cladding. This can be hardwood, which takes on a nice weathered appearance over time, or softwood, which is cheaper but will need painting or treating more regularly. An alternative is to choose a weatherboard made of composite materials, which will resist warping and twisting and is also highly fire resistant.

Of course, wood isn’t the only cladding material available, and some people opt for stone cladding. This can be expensive if natural stone is used, but there are alternatives made from reconstituted material than can provide a similar look at a more affordable price.

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Metal cladding, usually aluminium but sometimes zinc or stainless steel, is a popular option for modern houses. It’s lightweight, long-lasting and low maintenance. Plastic is another option that will last a long time with few problems, and it can be combined with UPVC fascia boards from suppliers such as https://www.absolutebuildingplastics.co.uk/upvc-fascia-boards/.

Mix and match

The whole property doesn’t need to be clad in the same material. Mixing different materials can add interest to the overall design. For example, combining timber and stone, or mixing metal and render, can lead to striking designs.

However, taking a mixed material approach means that you may end up needing to use several different tradesmen for small areas of the job, thus increasing the cost. You would also be buying less material, and so may not benefit from the cost reduction of buying in bulk. It’s also vital to pay attention to the areas where materials meet, as they need to be properly sealed and finished to keep out moisture and to provide an integrated finish.

Remember that if you’re changing the external look of your property you may need to apply for planning permission. You should also take into account the building regulations relating to fire proofing.

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