Residential External Finishes

Your home extension: external finishes and render options

The two main reasons for applying an external finish on a residential building is:

  • To protect the wall of the building from the effects of weathering, for example from the force of rainfall
  • To make the building aesthetically pleasing to the eye.



Types of External Renders

Acrylic Render

Acrylic render is normally applied as a very thin finish layer to improve aesthetic appearance of the building’s face and is very popular in modern day residential construction. When the acrylic material is made, small fibres are added in order to give a durable finish and to prevent cracking once it has been applied to the building. Silicone is also used in the process giving the product longer life span and the ability of self-cleaning.

Plasterer’s Company Website

Cement Render

Cement used to render a building is mixed on-site and this material is usually given 3 or 4 layers of application onto the building face, then the top coat is given a shiny, polished finish. The materials used to mix and create the cement are cheap however the labour is very expensive and this type of render usually requires frequent repainting to maintain its aesthetic appeal.

Concrete Company Website

Lime Render

Lime render is available in many different formats, such as lime putties or bagged hydraulic limes. This material is more difficult to apply and a little more expensive than other materials like Portland cement. Lime render also must be mixed on-site.

Building suppliers’ website

Monocouche Render

Monocouche render is supplied in a bag ready to be mixed with water and applied by hand trowel or usually sprayed on to the wall surface. This render is pre-coloured in a variety of different colours with a weatherproofing layer. It also contains additives making the material more likely to eliminate cracking, with the ability to also be self-cleaning. Using a monocouche render can be expensive to buy the materials, but it is easy to apply therefore it reduces labour costs without the need for any subsequent painting.

Product news website



Polymer Render

Polymer renders material is sold in pre-mixed quantities, available in a variety of different colours and based on either white cement or lime. During the production of the material, polymers and other plastic-based products are added in order to make them less prone to cracking, enhancing the life span of the finish.


Types of External Cladding

Timber cladding

Timber cladding is a very popular cladding material, particularly around residential buildings, as it gives off the feel of a traditional timber frame and gives a very natural aesthetic to a building exterior.

Advantages of Timber Cladding:

  • Easily installed– Timber is a very lightweight material, making it easier to handle for labourers so they can install it faster. This makes it a cost-effective cladding material as construction costs are reduced.
  • Energy efficient – Timber is a very good insulating material and with a lower thermal conductivity than materials like steel and concrete, it reduces energy consumption of the building that is required to be heated and cooled. This is another reason why timber cladding is a very cost-effective material.
  • Environmentally friendly – Timber is a renewable resource whereas many construction materials are non-renewable. In addition, timber is 100% recyclable making it one of the most environmentally friendly building materials available.
  • Flexible – Timber is a very versatile material as it can be cut and trimmed into any shape to meet the clients demands, it is also available in different pattern styles.
  • Very durable – Timber cladding can last for many years if it is maintained regularly and with the correct cleaning methods, and scratches or grazes are not as prominent as they would be on other cladding materials. Timber usually goes through manufacturing processes to enhance its durability and making it more resistant to fire, however there are lots of timber species such as Western Red Cedar or Douglas fir that naturally last longer than other types of wood.


Concrete cladding

Concrete cladding is usually considered a material to be used in commercial building and is manufactured in the form of cladded tiles. These tiles are cut in a limited number of shapes and they also take longer to install therefore labour costs will be higher. Concrete cladding tiles are very strong, durable and only require a very small amount of annual maintenance.

Fibre cement cladding

Made up of a combination of cellular fibre, compressed sand, water and cement creating wet sheets, fibre cement cladding is a low cost of cladding sheet. It is very easy to install and can come in a variety of different colours and effects, with the material being painted or stained in the factory. Maintenance is not a big issue with this material as it only requires a small amount of annual cleaning and does not need to be repainted or stained.

Metal cladding

There are different types of this type of cladding, but metal cladding is the most common cladding material used in commercial building such as business parks and offices. All metal cladding types are easily decorated according to the client’s demand. Steel cladding is commonly used for commercial purposes as it is a strong, durable material, it is low maintenance and is very pleasing on the eye. However, it can be expensive therefore unfavourable on a tight budget and has poor thermal insulation performance. Aluminium cladding is also popular as it is very affordable, requires low maintenance and is easy to install on site. On the other hand, this material can look cheap if designed incorrectly and is easily damaged. Like steel, aluminium also offers a very low thermal insulation performance to a building.

Rainscreen cladding manufacturer website

Stone cladding

Stone cladding is very popular when it comes to residential building. It can give a real natural aesthetic feel to a building and is sometimes combined with another exterior finish or render to add dimension to the building. Stone is a very good insulator and is a very durable material, as it is able to withstand years of weathering making it a very popular exterior choice for residential buildings. However, stone cladding can be a very expensive material to install and maintain, but if the budget is not tight on a project, this cladding would be a good choice as it provides the building with a range of benefits.

Vinyl cladding system or Vinyl Siding

Vinyl cladding/siding is predominately made for cladding the exterior faces of houses and other residential buildings. Vinyl cladding comes in a variety of colours and patterns, and is also a cost-effective material as it reduces the cost of heating and cooling the living space that it is built on. This material requires little or no maintenance and can withstand harsh weathering but may need replaced every 5-7 years as the colouring of the cladding may fade. One major negative points would be that this material can cover up problems such as damp or other moisture problems which allows mould to grow. Also, this type of cladding can release harmful toxins when exposed to regular high temperatures which is bad for the environment. Cladding supplier website

Weatherboard cladding

Weatherboard cladding is a common type of technique used on residential building today and can be carried out with a wide variety of materials like fibre cement and UPVC, and in a range of colours and effects. It is an extremely durable method of cladding the exterior of a building and it can be applied to a variety of substrates. Weatherboard cladding usually requires a thorough annual maintenance routine to be kept at best condition. TYPES OF EXTERNAL CLADDING

Right from the start, at the “needs and options review” which proved incredibly worthwhile, Alistair and his team have provided professional, thorough and imaginative service. Our project has daunted us in many ways but Alistair has always been on hand to allay any concerns we had. He has been incredibly helpful, full of ideas and specialist advice throughout the process. Our extension has now been granted planning permission and building control approval. Thanks to Acre Design this is looking so much better than anything we could possibly have imagined.

Diana Robson

Contact Acre Build

CAI Building, Royal Quays,
North Shields, NE29 6DE

T: 0191 6808 088

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