5 trusted types of cladding that will add style to your home

Cladding sets the tone for your house as well as protecting it from the elements. We’ve rounded up the top options to consider before you dive in

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5 trusted types of cladding that will add style to your home

When planning a home reno or new-build, many of us will spend hours umming and aahing over different shades of white paint or selecting the perfect kitchen benchtop while paying little heed to what’s happening outside. But choosing exterior cladding is a key decision that will influence how you feel about your home for years to come and how well it withstands the elements.

Cladding style, colour and texture are just the beginning; you’ll also need to consider factors such as cost, insulation performance, sustainability and durability. To get started, look at the era of your home and think about whether you want to preserve its original character or modernise it with a more contemporary look. Then research what materials will suit your chosen style while offering the most up-to-date technology.

If you’re building new, think about how you want your home to weather and age, and what styles are likely to stay in sympathy with your personal taste. For instance, if you have always loved art deco homes, consider a plaster or concrete finish. If you love nature and outdoor living, a timber finish might be the best choice. Remember to think about maintenance, too, and how often you want to be up a ladder replacing bolts or reapplying protective coatings.

1. Brick

You can’t go wrong with brick. Used to build and clad homes for centuries, it’s still one of the most reliable materials out there due to its durability, insulating properties, fire resistance and low rate of moisture absorption. It also ages beautifully and is available in a wide range of earthy colours. There are lots of options available so make sure you shop around.

Brick veneers are another possibility if you love the look of brick but can’t afford the time or money it takes to clad an entire home.

  • NZ Brick Distributors offers lots of brick options as well as two types of brick-effect veneer in its Textured range.
  • Brick and Stone has plenty of choices in its 90 and 110 Series.

2. Plaster and concrete 

Although plaster and concrete finishes were pioneered by the ancient Romans and Greeks, these days they are most commonly associated with homes from the 1930s and 1940s. Modern finishes mimic those same good looks but with improved performance, particularly when
the surface it is applied to is carefully chosen. A wide range of plaster-finished panels are available, from smooth to highly textured or patterned, and these often mix well with other types of cladding.

  • Resene Construction Systems offers extensive ranges of both concrete and cavity-based plaster facade systems in various finishes including Rockcote.
  • James Hardie’s EasyLap Panel is a fibre-cement sheet with a plaster-effect finish.
  • Litecrete lightweight precast concrete is manufactured using local pumice aggregate. The pumice provides both in-built insulation and a 40 percent weight reduction compared to standard precast concrete.

3. Metal 

Aluminium and steel are the most commonly used materials for metal cladding. Steel is generally more expensive but more durable; aluminium is cheaper but can be damaged more easily in bad weather.

Metal looks great and some interesting effects can be created over time, but as a cladding material it may lack good insulation performance. If you’re sold on the look, research your options for keeping your home protected from temperature changes.

  • Architectural Metalformers provides a range of metal cladding that creates interesting smooth or textured looks in a variety of shades.
  • Corten weathering steel is designed to naturally corrode, creating an attractive, deep orange, rusted effect.

4. Timber

Lightweight, beautiful and on-trend, timber is the cladding of choice for many Kiwi home-builders. The wide range of timber, cladding styles (such as weatherboards or slat screens) and finishes offers heaps of attractive options.

However, timber degrades quickly and will require maintenance and – sooner than some other cladding types – eventual replacement. Timber can also warp and move, a quirk that needs to be worked into your design.

  • James Hardie products combine the look of timber with new technology to create more durable finishes. Axon Panel gives the look of vertical shiplap weatherboard, whereas Linea resembles villa-style weatherboards.
  • Shadowclad plywood panels are a popular product which offers the natural beauty of wood in a variety of finishes (see page 68 for an example of how Shadowclad can modernise an old building).
  • Abodo is an innovative New Zealand brand working with sustainable sources of wood cladding to create effects such as charred and silvered wood. We asked Daniel Gudsell, marketing director for Abodo, about the future of timber cladding. “For us, the future is more natural-look, low-maintenance timber cladding from sustainable sources,” he says. “New Zealand imports around 25,000 cubic metres of old-growth cedar from Canada every year. Our focus is to offer an alternative to these irreplaceable trees using New Zealand plantation forestry.”

5. Stone

Schist, granite and slate are just a few of the popular, locally sourced stone types used as cladding on Kiwi homes. Stones or stone panels are often used to create a focal point for house exteriors and work well with other cladding types.

This material looks particularly beautiful in rural or natural settings where the stone blends harmoniously with the landscape and creates a timeless look.

  • Stutex Stone veneer products range from rustic river rock and mountain stones to more refined brick and cobble looks.
  • Cluden Stone Quarry specialises in Wanaka schist, a material that is sought-after for its beauty and longevity.

Word by: Sally Conor. Photography by: Nikole Ramsay, Shannon McGrath/

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