Since we have started our project to rejuvenate the exterior of our house using Scyon Walls™cladding, I have been blown away by the number of people interested in these products and asking me questions about it. I’m not blown away because I’m surprised – I think the products are fantastic – but blown away by how many people have really noticed them.
We don’t think just about how the insides of our houses look – we’re really invested in how the outsides of our homes look too, and we want them to look their best!
One of the main ‘myths’ I have encountered in regards to cladding is that quite a number of people think the cladding HAS to be applied to either an existing weatherboard-clad house OR that it can only be used on a new-build or on an extension. A few people have said to me wistfully, “Ohh, I would love to be able to use Scyon Walls at my place, but I can’t. We have a brick/masonry/fibreboard house.” Well, it’s not the case! Would you be surprised if I told you that you can clad over an existing double-brick or masonry house? You CAN apply Scyon Walls cladding over existing double brick or masonry walls and that’s one of the things I like so much about the product. It’s called overcladding, and it can be a really good way to rejuvenate a dated house’s tired façade or just mix things up by adding a little bit to get a really nice mixed materials look.
There are a few amazing renos doing the social media rounds lately where Scyon Walls has been used to overclad and tszuj up an existing house and so often they look so good at first glance I’ve thought it must be a brand-new house. I haven’t even known it’s a double brick or masonry house underneath. How nice does this look, above?
Matt and Kim also recently did an amazing renovation on their show Matt and Kim to the Rescue on a 1970s double brick house quite similar to ours which you can see below and here, cladding it with Scyon Stria (one of the products I want to use on our reno).
I was also impressed by another 1970s house that got a Scyon Walls makeover – it looks so modern and clean I thought it could easily pass for a new-build. It is the home of builder John Bicanic from Jux Developments, who redesigned the house with Sandy Smedley from Sandra A Smedley Building Design. It features Scyon Stria with metal cladding.
Any of the Scyon external claddings can be used to overclad a brick or rendered home – it’s just about the correct preparations. A cool thing about overcladding is that it is also the kind of project that is within reach of capable DIY renovators. If you are confident in the safe use of power tools, have some previous knowledge or can gain assistance from a tradesperson, and can utilise a little help from family or friends (claddings are best installed with a team of two to three people) you can definitely do this DIY. And that’s what I’m going to be sharing in this post today – some tips on how to clad an existing double-brick or masonry house with Scyon Walls, what the process is, and how to apply Scyon Walls to any fiddly bits, like windows or around utilities. As I’m no carpentry expert myself, I sought an expert opinion from a registered builder with years of Scyon experience, who came round to have a look at our house the other day and give us his advice on how we should overclad it. Here’s his advice for anyone considering a DIY go at overcladding an existing double brick or masonry house.
HOW TO OVERCLAD A DOUBLE BRICK OR MASONRY HOUSE –
PLAN YOUR PRODUCT SELECTIONS AND COLOURS
So, I was pretty chuffed when I showed the expert our funny little sketches for what we planned to do with our renovation and he said that what we had come up was pretty much perfect! In terms of our material selection, our expert said vertical black Scyon Axon™ at the front of the house was great as it would make the house appear taller, while the wide, horizontally laid Stria™ to the other walls would give the illusion of a larger, wider house. “Obviously vertical patterns accentuate the height (like Axon) where as horizontal ones can make a wall look nice and modern with clean lines,” he advised.
With the option of horizontal and panel products, the type of Scyon cladding you choose can actually help minimise your waste and the amount of cutting you have to do. We were advised that horizontal Scyon boards like Stria and Linea™ are actually better than the panels like Axon when it comes to walls where you have a lot of windows or utilities, as the linear format means you actually minimise product waste and save on costs. I was stoked when our expert told me that we had designed it really well with the Stria on the parts where we’ll need to make more cuts – this was something I actually hadn’t even thought about, but I pretended like I had.
Our expert advised that sheet products (such as Axon) generally tend to be more cost effective as they can achieve greater sqm coverage at once. He said that thicker products tend to cost a little more but are worth considering in areas of high impact e.g. high traffic areas, al frescos, car port, around front doors etc.
Are you stuck on the perfect, precise colour scheme in the design phase? We were told that the best thing to do is to get the cladding up there and then narrow down your paint colours later, and I completely agree. Mood boards are one thing, but there is absolutely nothing like doing real-life sample swatches anyway and looking at how the colour looks in real life at different times of the day. I would always recommend it.
PLAN HOW YOU WILL PREPARE YOUR SITE
The first thing you need to do is to clear the area all around your house to allow easy access for trades. (For us, that means clearing away garden from the walls – rocks and plants, including my large, rather spiky, and very beloved aloe vera. Happily for me, those snipped-off bits can be easily replanted – so I’ve put all my cuttings from it elsewhere in the garden).
Be careful when digging! We were reminded to be aware of underground services when clearing around the perimeter of the building (electrical, water, gas, NBN etc) – I would definitely call Dial-Before-You-Dig.
Make sure you also clear the dirt away from the walls of the house to give you plenty of space to apply the cladding ‘deeply’ enough. Our expert told us to consider bringing ground level down to minus two course level to allow for any paving work that will finishing with a minus one level of brick. He said this level then allows for overhang of cladding past the slab for a neat finish and also allows space for NCC requirements for visual white ant barrier. We’ll then need to apply a termite barrier treatment to avoid it happening after the cladding is installed and prior to any paving.
LOOK AT YOUR SLAB LEVEL TREATMENT
Our expert said that whilst walls are exposed to minus two level, and prior to the sand for the pavers going in, it is worth painting out those two courses of brick black. This helps with sealing the brickwork against moisture drawing through the bricks into the new cavity we’ll be creating and also means any exposed elements are less obvious from an aesthetic point of view. One thing we’re in the process of is thinking about adding a thin border of paving around the sides of the house where the walls will be clad.
Our expert told us the cladding should aim to finish 30mm past the inside slab level which would leave about 50-60mm exposed area of the minus one brickwork, for your NCC compliance (which should be painted black as above).
PLAN YOUR WINDOW AND DOOR REVEALS
Scyon cladding should finish as neatly as possible into window frames or in line with window openings. Vertical returns into the window or door frame can be created with 8mm Scyon Matrix™ sheets cut down to size.
Another option for windows or doors is to actually create an architrave around the opening using Scyon Axent™ trim. This term is called ‘picture framing’ and provides a nice clean look, especially on front elevations. Openings require head flashings for waterproofing, says our expert – these should be measured on site and fabricated to suit. New windows sills can be made from trimmed-down Scyon Matrix sheets and should have a fall to allow water to run off and away from the house.
THINK ABOUT INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL CORNERS
Our expert noted that if you have the same product continuing from one elevation to the next there are a number of “off-the shelf” accessories that can be used on corners, such as slimline aluminium box corners. With our house makeover, we are using a couple of different products with varying thicknesses (Scyon Axon and Scyon Stria) so he recommends the Scyon Axent trim so the product can be simply butted into it on either side.
PLAN YOUR COUNTER BATTEN OPTIONS
Before we began this project, I incorrectly thought that the Scyon weatherboards would be drilled right into our existing rendered, double-brick walls. Nope – shows how little I knew! Scyon cladding is affixed onto a batten system that is built onto your existing walls. Our expert said when it comes to overcladding we may need every millimetre that we can get. Therefore with timber being 38mm thick, the battens may punch an elevation out a bit too far (especially at window junctions). Luckily there is a Scyon Cavity™ trim which can go thinner than timber (only 19mm thick)!
CONSIDER HOW YOU WILL WORK AROUND SERVICES
So, we talked already about the importance of clearing around the perimeter of the building (electrical, water, gas, NBN etc (and calling up Dial-Before-You-Dig – a great service!) You also need to think about what wall mounted services and penetrations are on outside walls that are being clad, anything from:
– Drain pipes
– Air conditioning units
– Water pipes
– Electrical boxes
– Reticulation controls
– Down pipes
In the case of our house, we have a utilities wall where we will need to call out trades to remove our split system air-conditioning units and a plumber to help shift our gas hot water system. However there is also the option of using thicker battens to clad over the top of these items instead, which sometimes may turn out to be a better option in terms of the house’s look, however it will bring a wall out that extra distance.
PLAN ROOF VERGE DETAILS AND FLASHINGS
One of the more complicated parts of our house’s redesign was planning how the cladding would butt up to this existing roofline, which you can see below. Initially, Mr Nerd and I were not sure how it would be done. The last thing you would want is to put up lovely new cladding and then have the issue of rainwater getting in between it and your existing walls. Now we know. Where new cladding meets a roof line (rather than under an eave) then a simple flashing will need to be site measured and fabricated to neatly finish where the cladding meets the junction and to manage water tightness at the verge, our expert advised.
GET READY TO WRAP YOUR HOUSE
Here’s something I had no idea about before. Our expert says the essential best practice when cladding over brickwork is to first install a vapour-permeable sarking (building wrap) to allow the wall to efficiently breathe and manage moisture build-up.