Cladding: The Game-Changing Architectural Skin and Its Impact on Modern Design

The Architectural Epidermis – What Material is Cladding?

As the exterior skin of a building, cladding has emerged as a game-changer in modern design. Often perceived as just an aesthetic element, cladding’s role is much more than meets the eye. It acts as a barrier, protecting homes against extreme weather conditions, improves thermal efficiency, and enhances acoustic performance. But you might wonder, what material is cladding?

In essence, cladding can be made from a range of materials, each with unique properties and aesthetic potential. These include brick, stone, timber, metal, vinyl, and composite cladding materials. For instance, a brick cladding house offers a timeless appeal, while an aluminium cladding house provides a modern and minimalistic appearance.

When it comes to cladding a house, the cedar cladding house is a popular choice for its organic warmth and environmental credentials. For those desiring a sleek, modern look, black house cladding or anthracite house cladding are favoured choices.

But cladding is not just about picking an attractive material. There’s more to it, and this is where the role of an Architectural Designer becomes crucial. At Shear Architectural Design, we are specialists in advising homeowners, and can assist with gaining planning permission for your cladding projects, and more (see below).

The Cheapest Exterior Cladding – Is Cladding Cheaper than Render?

Cost is a key consideration when choosing a cladding system. The cheapest way to clad a wall or the whole house depends on various factors including materials, installation costs, and maintenance over time. While some may argue that render is cheaper, it’s essential to weigh up these factors before making a decision. After all, the lowest initial cost doesn’t always result in the best value in the long run.

For a low-cost option, vinyl cladding is worth considering. But if you’re looking for a solution that offers excellent value over time, consider brick or cedar cladding. While the initial outlay may be higher, the durability and minimal maintenance requirements of these materials can make them more cost-effective in the long term.

Cladding – More Than Just a Pretty Face

So, what is cladding mainly used for? While enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your home, cladding also serves many practical purposes. It provides an added layer of insulation, improving the thermal efficiency of your home. It also acts as a shield against environmental elements, extending the longevity of your structure. Moreover, cladding can help in reducing sound transmission, contributing to a quieter and more serene home environment.

When it comes to transforming the look of your house, cladding the front of your house is a popular option. It’s a way to give your house a face-lift without extensive changes. On the other hand, you might decide to clad your entire house, creating a cohesive and visually striking exterior.

The Pros and Cons – What are the Disadvantages of Cladding?

Like any other Architectural element, cladding is not without its challenges. One of the main disadvantages of cladding can be its cost, particularly for high-end materials such as stone or metal cladding. Another downside could be the potential for poor installation, which can lead to water penetration, damp issues, and reduced insulation efficiency.


The Easiest Cladding to Install

Ease of installation can be another crucial factor when choosing your cladding. Among the different types of cladding, vinyl, composite, and aluminium are generally considered the easiest to install. Specifically, composite cladding for houses is becoming a preferred choice due to its easy installation, wide range of designs, and long-lasting durability. But, it’s always recommended to seek the help of an Architectural Designer to ensure the best outcome.

The Best Type of Cladding

The ‘best’ type of cladding varies depending on the specific needs of your house and your aesthetic preferences. For instance, brick and stone cladding are well-regarded for their durability and classic appeal. On the other hand, timber cladding is popular for its natural aesthetics and versatility.

For a modern and sleek look, you might opt for metal or aluminium cladding. These materials offer a contemporary edge and come in a range of finishes, including matte, satin, and glossy options.

At Shear Architectural Design, we can help to guide you through the process of choosing the best cladding for your house, balancing aesthetics, practicality, and budget to achieve your desired result.


The Cheapest Way to Clad a Wall

As for the question of affordability, it’s important to know that the cheapest way to clad a wall will depend on various factors. Upfront material cost, longevity, and maintenance all play a role in overall cost-effectiveness. Vinyl and uPVC cladding often emerge as the most budget-friendly options. Both materials are durable, requiring little to no maintenance, and they come in a variety of colours and finishes, suiting different house styles.

However, remember that cheap does not always equate to value for money in the long run. Factors such as durability, insulation properties, and resistance to weather should also be considered. We at Shear Architectural Design can guide you through the selection process, ensuring you get the most bang for your buck.

Is Cladding Cheaper Than Render?

The cost comparison between cladding and render can be complex. While the initial cost of rendering can be lower than cladding, the ongoing maintenance expenses of render should be considered. Render requires regular painting and patching to keep it looking fresh and to prevent cracking. On the other hand, cladding, especially when using durable materials like composite or aluminium cladding, can often be more cost-effective in the long run.

Safety Considerations – What Cladding is Illegal?

Safety is paramount in all Architectural designs. In the UK, certain types of cladding are now illegal following tragic incidents and subsequent investigations.

Combustible cladding, such as certain types of ACM (Aluminium Composite Material), has been banned on residential buildings over 18 metres high.

We’re committed to adhering to all safety regulations and guidelines in our house cladding designs.

The journey of transforming your home’s exterior through cladding can be exciting yet daunting. Here at Shear Architectural Design, we aim to make the process as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Whether you’re considering house extensions, loft conversions, garage conversions, or cladding your home, our team is here to bring your vision to life.

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Whether it’s a new build, extension, loft conversion or a full home renovation, remember that every project is an opportunity to create a space that reflects your lifestyle and tastes.

At Shear Architectural Design, we’re passionate about helping homeowners realise their vision. We believe that with a bit of inspiration, a dash of creativity and a capable Architectural Designer, you can make your dream home a reality. So, let’s get started on your renovation journey today!


As always, thanks for reading!

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is intended to provide a general understanding of the subject matter. It is not intended to provide specific advice for any specific circumstances. Always consult with a professional before starting any construction work.

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About Shear Architectural Design

Shear Architectural Design is an award winning Architectural Design firm based in Sussex, specialising in residential and commercial projects. Our experienced team is dedicated to creating innovative, sustainable, and functional spaces that meet the unique needs of our clients.

With a focus on collaboration and customer satisfaction, we work closely with you to bring your vision to life, from the initial concept to the final construction. To learn more about our services or to discuss your project, please contact us today.

Working with an Architectural Designer can help you to achieve your goals and ensure that your project is a success. Shear Architectural Design is a reliable and experienced company that can help you with your home renovation, building project or garden project, in Sussex.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact us today. Our experts are ready to guide you through the entire process, from design and planning to construction and completion.


As part of our comprehensive approach, we offer services to design a house plan tailored to your unique requirements.

Our Architectural Design process involves the creation of detailed Architectural Design drawings, which meticulously capture every aspect of your dream home.

We also navigate the complexities of Building Regulation plans, ensuring that our designs adhere to both building regulations and planning permission guidelines.

By incorporating innovative Architectural ideas and working closely with you to draw a house design that reflects your vision, we strive to make the planning and design process as seamless and enjoyable as possible. Our commitment to excellence ensures that you receive a bespoke, high-quality living space that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.


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Our Services

At Shear Architectural Design, we offer a range of services to help you bring your vision to life:

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  • Architectural Design Consultation
  • Planning Applications & Appeals
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  • 3D Visualisation
  • Building Regulations Applications


We assist with gaining planning permission and building regulations, ensuring that your project meets all necessary requirements.

Contact us today, on 01273 740642 to learn more about how we can help you create the home of your dreams!

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