Combinations unlocked

Combining cladding with stone, brick and other materials on residential facades can create character and have effective results, as Lisa Grosse from Cedral explains

Contemporary houses are particularly suitable for combining cladding materials – we are seeing a shift away from traditionally built brick housing to more creative construction solutions that employ a range of colours and materials such as glass, concrete, stone, brick, wood and plaster. Fibre cement cladding has become part of this trend, partnering with brick, natural stone, tiles, stucco and even metal. Fibre cement is developed to not rot, rust, warp or crack; it has excellent fire classification, and uses fewer raw materials and less energy and generates less waste than some traditional building materials.

Cladding allows designers to create a modern, sleek look – with a huge palette of colours and textures. With a grain imprinted along its mass, it imitates wood very well – while offering great longevity and low maintenance. Such boards can thus be used to cover a gable and provide a contrast with the rest of a building.

Design choice

A popular design choice now is shiplap sidings, a ‘New England’ style of wall cladding characterised by long planks, normally in white, that are mounted horizontally to evoke the exterior of a ship. Another is Scandi-style slatted wood cladding, (an interior trend), which can also be used on the facade to add texture and dimension. It doesn’t have to be used for the entire exterior, as slat walls can work as accents or half walls, breaking up solid colour and changing the overall look. White, cream and beige are top colour choices for home exteriors but sage green, grey brown, blue grey and sand yellow are also appearing more often.

One reason for combining materials when building or updating a property is to create character and add an original, eye-catching focus. Other advantages are that this can give rhythm to the facade and can also underline the character of the house. A typical case is the addition of an annex with cladding that will deliberately create a contrast with the main building.

When it comes to facade cladding, there is a wide choice of materials, but some materials go better together than others. The choice between these multiple coverings will depend on factors such as local planning regulations. 

Brick is widely used in urban settings, and in much of the countryside stone is dominant – namely limestone, sandstone, bluestone or quartzite. Rough concrete has gained acceptance as a stylish cladding, and plaster has not gone out of fashion. Roof tiles are now spilling over onto the gables. 

An example of successful combinations is adding an all-glass extension to an old, rough stone building. Another is using openwork wooden cladding on white-painted walls. Plaster and wood complement each other well. Footings made of large stones and a main floor of thin brick also work well in a design. 

Case studies

A new build project in Newport-on-Tay, Fife, designed by BlackDog Architecture, mixes tones and textures on the facade to create a unique and contemporary property. The homeowners wanted the architects to create a low maintenance home while still being aesthetically striking in its scenic surroundings. Pairing wood effect ‘Cedral Click’ fibre cement cladding in white with soft tone in muted shades provided a different lighter tone and contrasting texture that complemented the overall design. 

Stone and weatherboards also combine successfully to give a new lease of life to a dilapidated 1970s house in the Ranmoor Conservation area in South Yorkshire. The fact that the building was in a conservation area could have posed a problem, and initially the homeowners faced some challenges from the local authority planning office. This choice for the facade received planning however, and the use of the two different materials provided a new contemporary look for a dated exterior.

Advice on combinations

There are endless combinations that might work – both practically and aesthetically – and some tips for achieving a harmonious result include keeping the number of materials/colours used down to a maximum of two or three – too much input can overwhelm the eye. Alternating a warm shade with a darker one always looks effective. On the other hand, using the same material in two different configurations, such as using the same bricks horizontally and vertically, does not give good results. Respect the alignments, otherwise the lines of perspective will lose cohesion, and importantly, consider the environment, the surrounding buildings, and the context.

Lisa Grosse is brand manager at Cedral