There’s no doubt that exterior steel cladding is the architectural flavour of the moment. Here’s why you should consider some metallic magic for your new affordable luxury home.
Tough yet lightweight and available in a range of profiles and colours, metal cladding is definitely steeling the scene on the exterior of new designer homes around the country. No wonder, as it looks great, is low maintenance and is one of the most affordable finishes for a home. Used alone, steel cladding gives a home a tough, industrial look that won’t appeal to all, so the trend is to mix it up with sections of warm timber cladding or smooth panels with the look of polished concrete.
Ribbed steel cladding can be applied vertically or horizontally to give a range of different visual effects and is fire-proof and termite-proof, making it ideal for beachside and bush locations.
As well as a broad range of profiles in steel cladding that can also be used for roofing, Metalcraft Group also supply insulated steel panels, including a smooth metal panel called Thermospan EPS.
Another New Zealand supplier is Colorsteel, whose steel cladding products, Colorsteel Maxx and Colorsteel Endura, are designed with New Zealand’s challenging and variable climate in mind.
How steel cladding is made
The fabrication of metal cladding is a two-step process. First comes the manufacture of thin steel sheets that are rolled up into coils. These coils are then shipped to other manufacturers who roll the coils through forming machines to create their own profiles. The coils used by New Zealand manufacturers are generally a pre-painted steel product called Colorbond, manufactured by Bluescope Steel in Australia.
Even though products such as Colorbond have protective coatings and are, in general, extremely durable, they are prone to rust if the edges where the steel is cut or drilled become exposed to the environment.
These exposed edges become even more vulnerable to rust in coastal environments, where salt is carried in the air. Houses built near the coast require a higher grade steel with greater resistance to corrosion. Steel cladding will also need to be washed down more regularly in these environments in order to prevent salt build up.
Choosing your wall colour and profile
When choosing a colour for your steel cladding, remember that metal gets hot in sunlight and the darker the colour, the hotter it will become. As well as solar absorbance, another factor to keep in mind is the level of glare, which can be high for the lighter colours available.
There are a broad range of profiles available, from lightly ribbed to deeper profiles that give a lovely play of light and shadow. Some panels even mimic the look of traditional weatherboards and usually allow for concealed fixings for a smooth and clean finish.
The ribs in steel cladding are not just for looks. The deeper the ribs, the stronger the sheet.
The ribs can be run horizontally or vertically. Running them horizontally can effectively accentuate the length of the building and ground it in the landscape. However, keep in mind that horizontal ribs become filled with dust very readily so if you are set on horizontal ribs you will need to be prepared to hose down your walls thoroughly on a regular basis.
Placing the ribs running vertically will accentuate the height of your home. Your choice of using the metal cladding horizontally or vertically will also be affected by the openings in each wall, such as windows and doorways. The orientation that lends itself to more unbroken lengths of cladding will be the more desirable.
Metal cladding can also be laid diagonally to great effect, however the complexity of cutting around openings may create additional costs.
It’s also important to keep in mind that steel should not come into contact with other metals such as lead, copper or stainless steel or with green treated timber.
If you love the look of steel cladding, Location Homes can create an affordable luxury home for you incorporating this great looking, durable, low maintenance finish.