When you want your home to stand out on your street, begin with a range of fabulous exterior cladding options. Kerb appeal is all about great first impressions that become a talking point and last for a long time.
Be it a new construction or a renovation on a tired old building, with the right external wall cladding material and design advice, you can have a visually stunning home that has character, personality and individual style.
However, a home’s exterior is not just about first impressions and street appeal. Exterior wall cladding is a high performance material that also serves as a protective skin for the building and its interiors. A good quality cladding shields the built structure against the sun, rain, wind, temperature extremes, fire, moisture, noise, pests and even pollutants. Wall cladding is an excellent insulator, safeguards against structural deterioration and makes the interiors more energy efficient.
Exterior cladding is a versatile and affordable solution that not only transforms your home’s aesthetic but also boosts its function and durability by enhancing its tolerance and resistance to external influences.
Selecting the cladding for all house designs
There are several external wall cladding products in the market today with numerous choices available in terms of material, style, colour, finish, performance and durability. Exterior cladding over weatherboards is often the first port of call during a building makeover project because of the relatively simple installation. Given the many options available, how can you be sure your cladding choice is the best for your home and environment?
While budget is an important factor during the selection of a wall cladding product, it’s also necessary to factor in a few other considerations in the decision-making process. The local environment, for instance, is an important element because your cladding material should be able to withstand unique conditions such as exposure to a corrosive marine atmosphere, heavy wind loads, seismic effects, and extreme heat or cold. A good cladding product also reduces the environmental impact of the building through outstanding thermal performance, and ensures safety by meeting compliance requirements for fire resistance.
In Australia material options in external wall cladding or recladding include natural stone, timber, brick, vinyl, aluminium, steel, concrete, ceramic, fibre cement, fibreboard, glass and metal among many more at varying prices.
10 Best Exterior Wall Cladding Options
1. Brick Wall Cladding: Steel Backed Brick Company
One of the oldest external wall cladding systems, brick cladding combines a striking finish with exceptional performance and structural advantages. Bricks are fire resistant, thermally efficient, durable, weatherproof, low maintenance and non-toxic, and deliver excellent sound insulation. Bricks are also sustainable and mostly recycled into new bricks, reused or crushed for fill. Bricks come in a wide choice of colours, sizes, finishes and textures, enhancing design flexibility.
Steel Backed Brick Company specialises in lightweight brick cladding systems featuring custom cut bricks placed into a steel rail, which is mechanically fixed to the substrate. The steel backed brick walls are extremely strong and can be safely used in seismic zones. The brick tiles are cut from real bricks to create an authentic brick wall cladding.
2. Timber Clad Houses and Wall Cladding: Boral
Hardwood timber is increasingly being preferred as an external cladding material in both commercial and residential building segments. Boral’s exterior cladding made from natural hardwood combines the beauty of Australian timbers with long-term durability and bushfire resistance up to BAL 29.
Boral’s hardwood timber cladding is resilient to natural seismic movements, has decorative and functional applications, offers termite resistance and is available in Blackbutt and Spotted Gum species. Surface coating with an exterior pigmented stain or paint is recommended to avoid weathering. Long-term performance also hinges on periodic maintenance and recoating when required. The cladding can be fixed on timber or steel framework.
3. Lightweight Brick Finish Cladding: Corium
Corium by PGH Bricks is a lightweight ventilated rainscreen facade system that can provide a stunning brick finish cladding on newly constructed high-rise buildings as well as renovations. The Corium system consists of specially manufactured brick tiles that mechanically clip into a galvanised steel or stainless steel backing, with mortar added using a pump.
The Corium brick look cladding system offers design versatility with a broad choice of colours and textures helping achieve bespoke decorative patterns. Corium speeds up construction, saving both time and cost in comparison with traditional brickwork. The lightweight cladding can be fixed onto various substrates including concrete, timber frame, structural steel, lightweight steel frames and masonry.
4. Fibre Cement Wall Cladding: Scyon
Scyon’s fibre cement cladding (also known as Harditex cladding) available from James Hardie is a high performance, low maintenance exterior cladding system available in 14 horizontal and vertical grooved boards as well as rectangular and square panels. Made from the innovative Scyon fibre cement formulation, these cladding boards and panels meet BAL 40 bushfire requirements and have a fire rating of up to 60 minutes when used with HardieSmart wall systems.
Available in a choice of timber finishes, the Scyon cladding range can either be nailed to timber frames or screwed to light gauge steel frames, with the boards supplied pre-primed and ready to paint.
5. Aluminium Architectural Cladding: Alumate
When aesthetics, durability, weather resilience and maintenance are important considerations for your external cladding along with thermal, acoustic and fire performance, Alumate by CompositeSpec could just be your solution. An aluminium architectural cladding system available in a range of long-lasting timber finishes, Alumate has the highest fire rating tested and certified to AS15030.1 standard.
Recommended for new builds as well as renovations in commercial and residential projects or cladding over a weatherboard house, the non-combustible Alumate stands out for its realistic timber finishes such as White Oak, Beechwood, Walnut, Sapele, Mahogany, Cherry, Antique Grey and Charred. The authentic timber look is achieved using a patented heat transfer process.
Alumate cladding features an interlocking tongue-and-groove design for a concealed fixing and a clean timber finish. The profiles can be installed vertically as well as horizontally to meet design requirements.
6. Hardwood Fibreboard Cladding: Weathertex
A timber cladding made from Australian Hardwood and natural wax that comes with the claim of ‘better than zero carbon footprint’, Weathertex’s timber cladding is designed for architects and builders with green building objectives. With zero chemical additives, the cladding can be used in both external and internal cladding applications.
Weathertex cladding is the first manufactured product globally to receive GreenTag Platinum accreditation on the natural range.
Key features also include simple DIY installation, termite resistance and 25-year guaranteed protection against rot, split or crack issues and is supplied Natural or Primed ready for painting or coating.
7. Vinyl Wall Cladding: Duratuff Select
Vinyl cladding is one of the most durable external cladding materials on the market – and also one of the most popular choices. Duratuff Select is a new generation of timber-look vinyl wall cladding and vinyl weatherboards with realistic woodgrain textures. This premium cladding range from Duratuff is designed for Australian homes, delivering thermal as well as acoustic efficiency when cladding a brick house.
Duratuff Select cladding is low maintenance, will retain its good looks for years and comes with the assurance of a 50-year warranty. The vinyl cladding will not peel, rot, dent, split or crack, can withstand harsh weather conditions, and is integrated with CFC-free solid foam insulation. Duratuff Select can be installed on a range of surfaces including fibro, weatherboard, corrugated iron, concrete, brick and artificial brick.
8. Prefinished Fibre Cement Panels: Barestone
A stunning range of external prefinished fibre cement (or concrete cladding) panels, Cemintel Barestone stands out for its striking raw cement finish. Made from cement, sand, cellulose fibre and water, Barestone weathers naturally, allowing its organic finish to seamlessly blend into the environment. The subtle, yet beautiful stone finish is perfect for creating a refined contrast in any contemporary or traditional design plan.
Purpose-built for building facades, Barestone is lightweight, durable, low maintenance and easy to install on external walls. Being weather-resistant, the prefinished panels offer a long-term exterior cladding solution.
9. Natural Stone Cladding: Bellstone
Natural stone cladding by Bellstone comes in sandstone, bluestone, slate and quartzite varieties. External wall cladding in natural stone is ideal for feature walls, pool areas, retaining walls, stairwells and fireplaces as well as around columns and fountains. Choose a natural stone that harmoniously fits in with your setting. High density stones will absorb less water, slowing down discolouration. Natural stone cladding in darker shades are easier to maintain as the dirt won’t show easily. However, lighter colours will need regular washdowns to prevent staining.
Natural stone or tile cladding adds value of modern homes with its impactful appeal. Natural stone is also very durable, acts as an excellent insulator, shows resilience against harsh weather, resists fire, withstands abrasions and scratches, and can be easily maintained. However, natural stone can be more expensive than other wall cladding products, and is labour-intensive during installation. Natural stone cladding also demands a structural substrate for stability.
10. Metal Cladding: COLORBOND cladding
A high performance cladding material, COLORBOND clading steel has proven its worth many times over on building facades as well as interior feature walls. With a choice of 22 standard colours and 5 matt shades, COLORBOND cladding substantially expands design possibilities. The steel cladding also delivers several performance benefits such as a long lifespan, resistance to chipping, flaking and blistering, fire protection, simple maintenance and light weight.
When installed to manufacturer’s specifications, COLORBOND steel cladding creates weather-tight and secure building envelopes. The solar reflective colours in the COLORBOND palette contribute to enhanced thermal efficiency and occupant comfort. COLORBOND steel is also completely recyclable.