Top tips for exterior cladding and render

  • Depending on the material you use, exterior cladding is usually fixed to a house with timber battens or a steel frame, which is attached directly to the structural walls.
  • Applying cladding or render is the perfect opportunity to improve your home’s insulation. Using render to do this tends to be less expensive than using cladding.
  • The cladding you choose may have a rainscreen, which is a breathable weatherproof system that allows water to drain away, reducing the chance of condensation building up behind it.
  • Consider the finished look carefully. Do you need to clad or render the whole house? Treating just the upper or lower half of a property and painting the rest might be sufficient.
  • Before you buy, check the warranties offered by the manufacturer, and that your building insurance provider is happy with your choice of material.
  • Changes to your home’s exterior appearance may be subject to planning rules set down by your local council – so always check with it first.
  • Cladding comes untreated, pre-treated, stained or painted, with the unfinished options being the least expensive.
  • Looking for a money-saving option? If you’re an experienced DIYer, you may be able to make a good job of fitting timber cladding or applying textured rendering yourself. Otherwise, look for a firm that offers an installation service.

Related articles: 7 ways to transform the exterior of your home | Property makeovers under £15,000: Render and cladding | How to transform the exterior of your home


Which cladding material is right for your home?


Your budget, the look of other houses nearby, or what your local council approves will all influence the material you choose for your exterior. Bear in mind that prices vary widely, depending on the intricacies of a particular job, and that many suppliers will only work directly with trade, meaning you may have to hire a building company or architect to achieve the finish you want. Here is a round-up of the main choices available.


Cladding with brick slips


Exterior brick slips are lightweight, thin – usually 20-25mm – slices of brick, often fixed to a backing panel with adhesive. Mortar is then inserted into the gaps to create a realistic, pointed look. Ranges include reclaimed and handmade finishes, and you can expect to pay from £28 per square metre.


Wood cladding


Whether in the form of shingles, traditional-style weatherboarding for a classic New England look, timber cladding is a popular choice. There is a wide range, with hardwoods and softwoods, starting at around £8 per square metre for untreated pine, to £40 per square metre for something more durable.

Wood can be treated to lessen the colour fade that the weather inevitably brings and to improve its thermal properties. Regular maintenance may be required for softwoods, so it is probably worth investing in one of the hardwood options.


Wood effect cladding


Wood effect cladding offers the same look as popular timber cladding options, but requires less maintenance.  They are usually pre-painted fibre-cement boards, which are designed to look like wood. These are highly durable and are available in a wide range of colours. Expect to pay around £45 per square metre, fitted.


Render


Render can be applied to create a smooth, textured or patterned finish, and comes in a wide range of colours. It can help improve your home’s insulation and can be applied to both old and new properties.

Consider the type of render you use carefully – lime render will suit old, historic buildings, while new, silicone-based renders are flexible, breathable and low-maintenance. Modern renders are a big improvement on the concrete renders widely used until recently. Prices typically start at just under £50 per square metre.


uPVC


uPVC cladding, whether is be in the style of larchlap or weatherboarding, is one of the cheapest cladding materials. It is available in both white and coloured finishes, but is prone to discolouration over time.

Investing in a high-quality version that comes with a fixed-period discolouration guarantee will ensure you have a durable and maintenance free exterior. Expect to pay around £25 per square metre.


Cladding panels


Exterior cladding panels are ideal for contemporary homes to create a streamlined look and a low-maintenance finish. Available in a range of materials, including vitreous enamel or metal, they will cost anything from £50 per square metre, depending on the material and chosen finish.

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