Recent research by James Hardie shows that the majority of Australian homeowners in the process of building or renovating are opting for a modern home, embracing contemporary design with its clean, sleek lines and deliberate use of texture. In a move away from the busyness of traditional brick walls and the busy lines of some cladding styles, homeowners are looking for modern materials to create design diversity to reflect their style and tastes.

One of the signature elements for a modern home are flat textured exterior walls. The matte appearance of the walls highlights the shape of the house, and provides a neat and uniform finish. When renovating or building a new house, bricks and a range of building material options can be overlayed with cement render or texture paint to achieve the flat textured look. However, because the texture isn’t embedded in the material, the finish and quality depend on the renderer’s skills. Over time, poor-quality render requires maintenance as it can chip or crack.

Transforming Australian modern home design, James Hardie has launched their latest innovation, Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding, a fibre cement wall panel embedded with a fine texture to create a contemporary aesthetic. Each panel has a beautiful consistent texture and its series of subtle vertical joints add clean lines and geometric precision to a home’s exterior. With the design essentials of a modern home focusing on form, texture and colour, Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding provides the perfect canvas for modern design. Add feature windows or feature cladding from the Hardie™ Cladding range to create unlimited design possibilities.

“The façade sits at the top of most people’s priority lists,” says Neil Hipwell, Builder and Founding Director of FutureFlip. “Street appeal is an important consideration to ensure a home’s exterior reflects the homeowner’s vision. A home’s facade gives the first impression to neighbours and visitors. It does more than just look good – it’s there to protect your home and your family from the elements, and to provide thermal insulation. With its matte, bold look that appeals to minimalist styling, as well as being quick and easy to install and cost-effective, Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding is a great choice for both renovations and new builds.”

“Any renovation is time critical as you’re usually working around the homeowner who is likely still living in the house,” says Neil. “Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding speeds up the building process with the render texture embedded in the fibre cement panel, minimising the number of trades required on site at any one time. This means you can achieve an on-trend look without the need for a renderer, specialist cement, or other texture coating. Pre-sealed panels and a ship-lap groove mean installation is simpler than other exterior options. This texture is on-trend at the moment, along with curves, organic shapes, and the inclusion of smart-home technology in building and renovation plans,” says Neil.

For builders, lightweight building material such as Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding is an ideal choice for ground floor renovations and additions as well as optimising a home’s usable floor space. For homeowners, Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding is durable, low maintenance and built for tough Australian conditions, providing long lasting beauty. “It’s a fantastic exterior option as it hits each of the pain points and offers a great solution,” says Neil.

According to Neil, it’s really important that the builder and homeowner communicate well to set the foundation for a successful building project.

Here, Neil shares some top tips for communicating with homeowners about exterior design:

1. Create the budget through design – not the other way around. Working with a design and construct firm, or engaging a builder throughout the design process, means homeowners can be sure they’re spending money in the right places. Builders have an in-depth understanding of potential costs associated with different design features.

2. Consider symmetry – whether homeowners want to choose a completely symmetrical design or play with proportions and cantilevers, be sure that it works in with the overall streetscape.

3. Stick to a minimalist colour palette – for a timeless look. Keep it to two colours at a maximum.

4. Stick to the rule of three – choose no more than three different exterior materials/ colours so that the façade looks modern and sophisticated, and not too busy.

5. Functionality – is just as important as ‘the look’. When choosing an exterior cladding consider acoustics, thermal efficiency, aesthetics, durability, maintenance and a product that will complying with bushfire rating regulations (if building in a bushfire zone).

For more information, visit jameshardie.com.au/specifier

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