Cladding is everything, and there’s a real risk of prospective new home builders getting lost down the rabbit hole of timber vs Colorsteel, or the merits of basic brickwork, and coming up with even less idea of what they want than when they started!

There is a huge variation between the cheapest cladding and the most expensive, so budget must be your first consideration. Bear in mind that a more substantial upfront cost could save you money further down the line, as the cost of repairs and maintenance will be lower.

Keith & Jo’s house, 49 Ridge Park Drive, Horotiu, Waikato, Monday 5 February 2024. Photo: Stephen Barker / Barker Photography. ©Oamaru Stone

Crowing about the money you’ve saved while sitting under the heat pump?

If you live in the deep South, insulation properties will be a major consideration, and paradoxically, this also applies to new builds in hotter climates. Skimping on your insulation only to run your heat pump 24/7 makes no financial sense, so it might pay to think hard about metal or timber cladding, as their insulative properties are not on a par with plaster, concrete or stone.

Keith & Jo’s house, 49 Ridge Park Drive, Horotiu, Waikato, Monday 5 February 2024. Photo: Stephen Barker / Barker Photography. ©Oamaru Stone

Be prepared to put in the work with wood.

Timber is certainly one of the more aesthetically appealing options, however, it does require ongoing maintenance, especially in particularly sunny areas. Cedar is the gold standard for house cladding in New Zealand, but it is growing increasingly more expensive and will require regular oiling or staining – every two years in some cases –  to prevent warping and silvering, so be prepared to spend some time looking after it.

Fake it till you make it.

If you like the look of timber, but the maintenance requirements are putting you off, a more practical option that will offend the purists (but they’re not the ones building your house are they?) is to settle for Linea weatherboards. As long as they are installed correctly they won’t warp or rot, and they have a guaranteed lifetime of 50 years, which might be enough to overcome any qualms you have about using a manufactured material.

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Plaster is pretty, but it pays to pick a professional.

Plaster cladding is a versatile material that can look fantastic and it currently appears to be undergoing a revival, but it does pay to do your homework on the ongoing maintenance it requires, and it must be applied by a knowledgeable tradesman  – the repercussions of the ‘leaky homes’ debacle in the 80s and 90s are still being felt today by out-of-pocket homeowners.

Keith & Jo’s house, 49 Ridge Park Drive, Horotiu, Waikato, Monday 5 February 2024. Photo: Stephen Barker / Barker Photography. ©Oamaru Stone

There’s just something about stone.

There’s something visceral and compelling about stone and the way it blends in with the environment, and this hardwearing material can serve as an excellent foil to steel and wood, adding texture and depth without overpowering neighbouring elements.

Limestone in particular is an excellent choice of cladding in that it’s incredibly hardwearing, with limestone buildings both here and overseas enduring for hundreds of years with very little degradation and little to no maintenance.

Old house or new house, lime is sublime.

Limestone has an incredibly versatile aesthetic and can add clean, modern lines to contemporary facades, or an earthy, rustic feel to buildings where more character is desired. The texture of the bricks can be rough or smooth, and it comes in a stunning neutral colour palette that ranges from ivory to light tan. Don’t expect synthetic uniformity here, limestone is the real deal, and minor colour changes and imperfections are all part of its appeal, to just as Mother Nature intended.

Beat the heat with Oamaru Stone.

The insulating properties of limestone, with its incredible thermal mass, make it an ideal cladding for both hot and cold climates, and they serve to regulate the interior temperature of your home, thus reducing your heating/cooling costs. These qualities also help with noise reduction, dampening the sound between rooms.

In an unstable, rapidly-heating world, where wildfires are becoming increasingly common even in little old New Zealand, it’s reassuring to know that limestone is also fire resistant, as well as being a 100% natural, zero waste product which won’t degrade the environment.

If you can imagine it, we can build it.

Oamaru Stone can cut and shape a myriad of custom designs for your new build, with several different finishes available, depending on the aesthetic you’re after. Veneer cladding and slip, cornerstones, columns, balustrades, and decorative mouldings, the list of ways in which limestone can be incorporated into your new build is endless.

Call Dustin at Oamaru Stone on 03 4331134 or click the button below and discover the versatility of 100% natural South Island limestone today.