Whether it’s a new-build, renovation or extension project, more people are turning to high-performance rainscreen cladding, such as Cedral’s hardwearing and sustainable fibre cement planks. Construction standards are becoming increasingly strict in the UK, and non-flammable, A-rated cladding is growing in popularity among self-builders and developers alike. It is important to understand the relevant product safety regulations and factor this into your plans. Cladding your project with a material that lasts for decades while enhancing thermal performance (with a low-carbon footprint) is everyone’s ultimate aim.
However, to the cladding novice, options for facade materials can be bewildering and include timber, stone, vinyl, external foam, metal, weatherboard, fibre cement, concrete and glass – all on their own or in various combinations.
Choice of material, colour and texture is an important initial consideration. If you want to stay in keeping with the surrounding houses, it’s sometimes best to choose similar colours to the exterior walls of your neighbours. Or, if your property is on the coast or surrounded by greenery, you may want a look that fits with this natural setting.
You may find there isn’t just one design solution that fits all of your needs, but to help you choose the facade material that suits you best, here are a few points to consider:
• Local regulations: Are there specific guidelines or restrictions in relation to colours, finishes or energy performance in your area? Check with your local council for information about conservation areas or specific Building Regulations.
• Fire safety ratings: Do you need A-rated cladding or are you prepared to install a product with a poorer performance? It’s best to check out the latest legislation and err on the side of caution.
• Sustainability: What are the eco credentials of the cladding? Is the facade you’re looking to use sustainable? What are the environmental credentials of the product you are using?
• Energy efficiency, thermal control and comfort: In these days of unpredictable energy costs, thermal performance is vital.
• Aesthetics: How does your cladding add to the look of the building, and how well will it last in 20, 30 or 40 years plus?
• Total cost of ownership: What is the cost (not only the initial expense but maintenance) of the facade? Don’t just look at the initial outlay, but the cost of maintenance over the life of the cladding.
• Installation: How easy is it to install? Is there good technical support from the cladding manufacturer and a well-established network of approved installers, if required?
A natural choice
One of the trends we are seeing in cladding 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.
Cedral cladding comes in a variety of textures and colours and has a minimum life expectancy of 50 years. Compared to PVC facade cladding, fibre cement does not expand in the 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 that boast an excellent 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 new.
It’s all about sustainability
DIY builders are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of the products they use. Fibre cement uses fewer raw materials and less energy in its manufacture, produces less waste than many other traditional building materials 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. Fibre cement cladding on the facade offers protection against the UV rays of the sun, and thanks to this second layer around the home, the structural elements of your house will not be exposed to harsh weather conditions.
Light colours are ideal for shaded or north-facing exterior walls and houses. 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, whether in the countryside or by the sea. Reds, terracottas and ochres 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.
Why use a ventilated facade?
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, it also provides fire, sound, heat and weather protection.
A variety of looks
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 house, fibre cement can provide numerous options in look, colour and method of application.