What will you choose for your dream home’s facade? Lisa Grosse of Cedral explains why fibre cement cladding makes a great choice, for both practical reasons and the aesthetic ‘wow’ factor
As well as providing protection against heat, cold, wind, weather, noise and fire, the envelope of your house contributes considerably to internal comfort. Construction standards are becoming increasingly strict, and you should factor this into your plans when looking at how to clad your project. Key criteria are durability over the long term, thermal performance and carbon footprint.
Options include timber, stone, vinyl, external foam, metal, weatherboard, fibre cement, concrete and glass, on their own or in various combinations. If you want to be in keeping with the surrounding houses, it’s sometimes best to choose similar colours for the exterior walls. Or, if your property is on the coast or surrounded by greenery, you may want a look that fits with this natural setting.
There won’t be one single design solution that fits all and individual circumstances will vary, but to help you choose the facade material that suits you best, here are the key points to consider:
- Are there local regulations or restrictions in relation to colours, finishes or energy performance?
- What are the material’s fire safety ratings?
- What are the material’s eco credentials?
- What does it contribute to energy efficiency, thermal control and comfort?
- How does it add to the aesthetics?
- How durable is it?
- What is the cost (not only initial expense but whole-life maintenance)?
- How easy is it to install?
A DURABLE CHOICE
One of the trends we are seeing now is towards more natural products, including the use of fibre cement cladding. A strong, versatile and sustainable material containing cement and fibres, it doesn’t rot, rust, warp or crack under extreme temperature changes.
It comes in a variety of textures and colours and has a minimum life expectancy of 50 years. Compared to PVCu facade cladding, fibre cement does not expand in heat. Wood can be affected by all kinds of weather conditions that may cause it to discolour.
Wood is also unable to provide the same degree of fire resistance as fibre cement materials, which can provide a fire classification of A2-s1, d0.
Fibre cement cladding is also easy to install and low maintenance – a wipe- down with a wet cloth is all it takes to look as good as new.
THINKING ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY
Homeowners are increasingly thinking about the environmental impact of the products they use. Fibre cement uses fewer raw materials and less energy in its manufacture than some traditional building materials, produces less waste, and is fully recyclable.
CHOOSING A COLOUR THAT FITS
Take into account the colour of your roof, your windows and doors, or even the surrounding vegetation as a starting point when making your choice. Also factor in the house’s orientation and the amount of sunshine. Cladding a facade in fibre cement offers protection against the sun’s UV rays and thanks to providing a second layer around the home, the structural elements of your house will not be exposed to harsh weather conditions.
A ventilated facade is often used for improved energy efficiency. With this type of system the facade cladding doesn’t sit directly against the insulation but is separated by a ventilation gap which effectively protects the insulation against moisture. This enables rapid drying of external walls, reducing condensation and humidity. As insulation and cladding are separated from each other, such a build-up also provides fire, sound, heat and weather protection.
A VARIETY OF LOOKS
Light fibre cement colours are ideal for shaded or north-facing exterior walls.
They also help to highlight the architectural design, making the house look larger.
Shades of light and medium grey can provide a modern vibe to a house, giving your home a more contemporary look. Shades of green and blue will help the home fit in with nature, and whether in the countryside or by the sea. Reds, terracottas and ochres enable you to give your house a warm and original feel. Fibre cement cladding comes in a wide range of colours and the colour will stand the test of time.
Fibre cement cladding is available in weatherboards for a more traditional lapped style or in a flush fitting tongue and groove, providing the opportunity for a more classical or contemporary flat finish. Vertically installed cladding is a growing trend to create a sleek and contemporary aesthetic across the facade. There is also a range of visual design possibilities from combining different materials.
It’s all about choosing the facade material that suits you best. And whether you have a modern or a more classic property, fibre cement can provide a host of options in terms of look, colour and method of application.
Lisa Grosse is brand manager at Cedral