How to select the right home exterior finishes for your project

A guide on selecting exterior finishes and a rundown of the most popular options out there.
How to Select the Right Home Exterior Finishes for Your Project

Building a new home is an investment. Most of us want to spend our hard-earned money on a home that looks good and lasts for a lifetime. With, you must choose the right external finishes for your home. Apart from aesthetics, home exterior finishes provide an extra layer of protection against outside elements.

Do a little research

Before choosing an external finish, look up information on how a material looks, how much it costs, and how to maintain it.
The initial costs and aesthetics are often balanced with maintenance. Read about the level of maintenance that certain materials require, as well as the time and expense entailed. Go for exterior home finishes that won’t need greater upkeep than what you can provide.

The popular home exterior finishes in Australia

Today’s homeowners want innovative exterior designs that won’t look outdated in a few years. Consider these home exterior finishes:

Brickwork and blockwork

Brick and blocks are two of the most commonly used materials for building houses in Australia. You can use stones (e.g. granite, travertine, and limestone blocks) for masonry construction too, but brick and blocks are more preferred because of these reasons:

Benefits of brickwork:

  1. Upfront costs are smaller.
  2. The material doesn’t need ongoing maintenance.
  3. It has good insulation properties which make it energy efficient.
  4. Bricks come in a diverse range of sizes and colours. Plus, there are numerous patterns to follow.
  5. Durable and totally resistant to the extreme climate.
  6. It can block external noise.
  7. Timeless and flexible. It suits both traditional and modern architecture.
  8. The work can be handled by a single builder.

Benefits of blockwork:

  1. Bigger than a standard brick to make building faster.  
  2. Comes in a multitude of colours and styles.
  3. A good insulator and possess acoustic properties.
  4. Sold at a competitive price in the market.
  5. You can buy it smooth or textured
  6. Works with both traditional and contemporary home designs.

Wall cladding

Most renovators who refuse to demolish elevate the look of the structure using wall cladding. Apart from giving the house a brand new look, this provides another layer of thermal material and insulation.

Here are the types of wall cladding for your review: 

Timber Wall Cladding

Whether installed vertically or horizontally, timber cladding boasts its natural warmth and beauty.

Benefits of timber wall cladding:

  1. This hardwearing building material is quickly installed and easy to work with.
  2. Environment-friendly. But, only purchase from suppliers who source the wood in a sustainable manner.
  3. Has an unfading beauty that fits both or contemporary and traditional architecture.
  4. The material is a natural insulator.  
  5. Offers great acoustics and sound absorption.

We strongly recommend cladding made from Spotted Gum and Ironbark. These premium native hardwood species are durable and worth the price. 

Composite Wood Cladding

Composite wood is a mix of wood fibre, plastic, and binding agents.

Benefits of composite wood cladding:

  1. A sustainable alternative to timber.
  2. It’s denser and stronger than natural wood. It lasts longer too.
  3. Priced significantly lower.
  4. Comes in easy-to-install cladding systems like Shiplap, Concealed Clip Fixing, and Flat Joint.
  5. Each slat has a clean finish and is consistently spaced from each other.
  6. Perfect material to build contemporary garage doors and soffit ceilings.

Fibre Cement Cladding

Fibre cement panels imitate timber, concrete, stone, tiles, smooth render, and metal. With it, you can enjoy your dream home exterior finish minus the maintenance.

Benefits of fibre cement panels:

  1. Lightweight
  2. All panels fit perfectly together.
  3. Pre-finished in a variety of colours and textures
  4. Requires minimal maintenance.
  5. Stain-resistant. There are high-quality brands offer self-cleaning panels with UV protection to prevent colour fading.

READ: 11 Exterior House Cladding for Australian Homes

Stone Wall Cladding

These cladding materials give you stone exteriors without using heavy, full-sized stone pieces. Use it to dress an entire house or to highlight external architectural features.

You can go for natural or reconstituted stone.

Benefits of using natural stone cladding:

  1. It increases the resale value of a property.
  2. Durable.
  3. Low-maintenance.
  4. Effortlessly stunning.
  5. Adds a layer of protection to your walls.
  6. Available in a wide variety of designs.

Benefits of using reconstituted stone cladding:

  1. Lighter than natural stone cladding.
  2. More affordable.
  3. More than half of its components are recycled.
  4. Doesn’t require sealing.
  5. Manufacturers sell corner pieces for a more seamless look.

If you think natural/reconstituted stone cladding are too common, switch to pebbles. Walls clad with pebble rocks offer a unique and gorgeous texture. Ask the supplier about the warranty of the material that you’ll purchase.

Concrete cladding

A naturally beautiful cladding material made of precast concrete and aggregates. It’s popular to homeowners due to the high level of design flexibility it possesses.

Benefits of concrete cladding:

  1. Affordable because the material is sourced locally.
  2. Available in various sizes, shapes, and formats.
  3. Some manufacturers allow you to customise your cladding material.
  4. The material is easy to install and can be done by one builder or tiler.

Some useful “hacks” to remember:

1. Design by location.

When choosing home exterior finishes for your project, be climate or region-specific. This will trim down your options.

Start by looking at the homes of your neighbours. What exterior finishes did they use? Do you like what you see? Do you think this material will survive the test of time?

If yes, this could be the perfect cladding material for you.

Despite having similar exterior cladding, your house will stand out if your architect or designer has an innovative way of using it.

READ: How to Achieve a Stunning Minimal Exterior Design

2. Limit the use of clear-finished natural wood exteriors. It’s beautiful, but it’s challenging to maintain.

3. Always protect natural wood from the weather and direct sunlight. Consider painting exposed wood to prevent deterioration.  

4. If you’re after an unfinished or weathered wood look, choose rot-resistant timber species.

Redwood and cedar turn grey as it age. It’s not advisable to leave all timber species unfinished for it will reduce the structural integrity of the house.

5. Consider rain screen cladding.

The rain screen cladding is a kind of double-wall construction with an outer layer that keeps rainwater from penetrating the walls. The system offers numerous benefits in moisture-management and energy-efficiency.

6. Opting for metal cladding? Use weathering steel.

Like wood, metal cladding needs strict upkeeping. You can cut your maintenance efforts when you use Cor-Ten steel. It forms a beautiful, even rust that protects the steel sheet.

READ: 7 Sure-fire Ways to Enhance Kerb Appeal

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Work with the top-rated Perth-based building designers.



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