Steel cladding contrasts well with timber door and window frames
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Cladding materials for number 2

When it came time to decide on cladding materials for our second home, we took advice from writer Denis Waitley.  He said, “View life as a continuous learning experience.” Everyone involved in the build reflected on lessons learned from the first home.  What could we improve or do differently to clad the frame of this house?

Front entrance cladding materials unchanged.

Based on visitors’ positive comments, we kept the same design.  The entrance is flanked with reclaimed timber board and batten on one side and Timbercrete on the other.

Cladding the curved entrance wall with reclaimed timber board and batten
Reclaimed timber and floorboards from the old house used in board and batten cladding.

Previous experience with installing timber cladding on curves helped to make easy work of this section.

Curved wall ready for Timbercrete.
Bare wall ready for Timbercrete cladding.

Simon from Eastern Brickworks took on the challenge of the Timbercrete cladding section.  His experience with curving walls in the first home gave him the necessary skills to tackle this tight curve.

Timbercrete gradually covering the curved entrance wall.
Steadily cladding the curved wall with Timbercrete bricks.

The brickies worked their way up the wall a few courses at a time.

Finished Timbercrete cladding drying.
Completed Timbercrete brickwork on the curved entrance wall.

It didn’t take long to clad the entire section.

Curved timber wall mirrored by Timbercrete wall.
Finished entrance showing matching curved walls of timber and Timbercrete.

We now have mirror image curves highlighting the entrance.  A handmade reclaimed timber front door will complete the package. If you look carefully, you can see where Simon curves the internal Timbercrete wall at the end of the entrance hall.

Cladding materials changed on curved wall.

For the first home, we played it safe by using Shadowclad plywood for cladding on the external curved wall on the second bedroom.

However, David’s experience with applying Klip Lok roof panels as cladding suggested the steel sections were more flexible than he thought.  We decided to replace Shadowclad with Klip Lok for the rest of the house.

Curved Klip Lok clads the second bedroom wall.
Curved Klip Lok panels create an interesting mixture of lines and shapes on the wall.

The end result shows a curved Klip Lok wall is possible, but more challenging than standard cladding.  Looking along the side of the house, I like the way the vertical lines appear to blend together as the curve straightens out.  The Monument colour will be a good background for the greenery in the nearby garden beds.

Wooden window frame bridges two sections of steel
Wooden window frame provides a colourful contrast to the surrounding steel panels.

The curved section finishes with a north-facing sash window.  An oiled timber framed sash window from Aspect Windows bridges two sections of steel.

Steel continues on the north wall.

After creating a curved Klip Lok wall, David looked at the north wall not as a technical issue but as an aesthetic opportunity.  What would make a large section of steel interesting?

North wall waiting for a decision on cladding materials.
Bare north wall waiting to be clad.

His brainwave was to accentuate the window and door frames using reclaimed timber reveals.

Reclaimed timber reveals on a kitchen window
Close-up of a kitchen window highlights the reclaimed timber reveals

The kitchen window becomes an eye-catching feature surrounded by steel cladding.

Looking along the northern wall towards the reclaimed timber fin.
Reclaimed timber features along the north wall.

A reclaimed timber “fin” marks the western end of the wall.

Finished northern wall shows steel and wood combination.
Reclaimed timber reveals stand out against the Monument coloured steel background.

Timber and steel work well together with the frames standing proud of the dark background.

Is a dark colour a problem?

One question that popped up during Sustainable House Day was whether the dark exterior colour on a north facing wall caused a problem with high temperatures indoors in Summer.

Because we use a reverse brick veneer construction, our cladding is a thin layer of material backed by insulation which stops heat transfer to the interior “bricks”. The cladding protects our insulation from the elements.

Yes, on a hot, sunny day, the steel on the north wall gets hot but the insulation stops most of this energy reaching the thermal mass on the other side of the wall. At night, the temperature falls so the steel quickly sheds energy to the cooler surroundings. It can’t hold much heat because there isn’t a lot of material, just a thin layer.

Having a thin, steel skin on a reverse brick veneer house means we’re able to use darker colours without significantly affecting the comfort indoors.

Pleased with the outcome.

The finished cladding appeals to us for two main reasons.

Firstly, it is consistent with the philosophy of low maintenance.  Klip Lok panels are easy to clean with water and a brush. The board and batten section next to the front door isn’t exposed to direct sunlight so the wood won’t need continuous oiling.

Secondly, the look isn’t identical to the first home.  It has enough similarities to see a connection between the designs, but avoids being a carbon copy.  As Libby says, “These homes are sisters, not twins.”

We’re looking forward to seeing how this experience will be applied to cladding the third home.  Initial discussions indicate David has a few more tricks up his sleeve. I’ve heard Libby chatting to him about the possibility of including Corten steel.


  • GC

    September 24, 09 2019 08:43:04

    Hi L &H
    (Greetings from Italy! – have had a quick trip with daughter Anita and grandson Jules. Be home tomorrow.)
    No2 looks fantastic. I love the combination of the steel and the timber window frames.
    Looking forward to hearing how the Open Day went.

    • Libby & Howard

      September 25, 09 2019 10:03:36

      Hi there Gill – Hope the trip to Italy went well. We had an excellent response on Sustainable House Day. Keen to share the news with you the next time we catch up.


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