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Consider the structure on reclad projects

Undertaking a recladding project is a significant endeavor, often requiring meticulous planning and attention to detail.

While most are concerned with improving the aesthetics and durability of the home's exterior, recladding also involves delving into the structure that lies beneath the surface.

Understanding that the structure of a home involves the framing, support beams and internal linings is why having a good handle on the potential issues for any reclad project is crucial for ensuring a successful outcome. Here is our list of key considerations:

  1. Initial Assessment: Whilst almost impossible to assess existing framing before embarking on the recladding journey it is worth removing a section of internal linings in vulnerable areas to get an idea of existing structural framing state and the fixings is recommended. This evaluation helps identify any issues such as rot, borer damage, or structural weaknesses that may need addressing before proceeding with the recladding. In our experience the house inspection reports haven't been worth the paper they're written on, the only way to assess the condition of the framing and any necessary repairs or reinforcements is to remove linings or sections of existing cladding (ensuring it can be replaced).

  2. Structural Integrity: The structural framing serves as the backbone of your home, supporting the weight and bracing loads of the building, providing stability. During a reclad project, it's common that some remediation work is carried out to ensure that the structural integrity of the framing is restored. Any chosen cladding needs to align with the existing framing spacing or require additional framing to be installed for fixing. Alterations or modifications to the exterior cladding must be carefully executed to avoid compromising the structural stability of the house.

  3. Alignment and Plumb: Proper alignment and plumb of the structural framing are essential for the overall integrity of the building. As the exterior cladding is removed and replaced during the recladding process, it provides an opportunity to assess the alignment of the existing framing elements such as studs, joists, and beams. Any significant deviations from the vertical or horizontal plane will need to be addressed to ensure a level and stable structure.

  4. Moisture Management: One of the primary purposes of recladding is to improve the moisture resistance of the exterior envelope and protect the underlying structure from water damage. Proper moisture management is crucial during the recladding process to prevent moisture infiltration into the framing members. This may involve re-treating the framing with a spray on treatment and installing improved moisture barriers, flashings, and proper drainage systems to divert water away from the building structure.

  5. Insulation and Energy Efficiency: Recladding provides an opportunity to upgrade the insulation of your home and improve its thermal comfort. Insulating between the framing of exterior walls during the recladding process will improve thermal performance and reduce energy consumption. Consideration will be given to the type of insulation used and its compatibility with the existing framing to ensure optimal performance.

  6. Code Compliance and Permits: Depending on the extent of the reclad project, building consent may be required. As the home owner you are responsible for obtaining a building consent (we apply on your behalf) before commencing work on the structural framing. Adhering to the building code helps increase the value and ensures the safety of your home.

  7. Internal linings Often internal linings are affected by damaged structural framing. Particularly around windows and doors, areas of water egress and wet areas such as bathrooms and laundries. Houses with Plasterboard linings that are relied upon for bracing are particularly challenging as the bottom plate fixings can be rotten or rusty and the whole element will require replacement. It is advised to maintain some budget for installing and redecorating replaced internal linings.

  8. Timeline and Budget: Recladding can be a time-consuming and costly endeavor, particularly when there are structural modifications are involved. It's essential to establish a realistic timeline and budget for the project, taking into account factors such as material costs, labour expenses, your living costs while the work is carried out and any unforeseen challenges that may arise during the process. Working with HWA as experienced professionals can help streamline the recladding process and minimise disruptions to your daily life.

Understanding what to expect from your structure during a recladding project is essential for achieving a successful outcome. By assessing the condition of the framing, addressing any structural issues, and implementing proper moisture management and insulation techniques, you can enhance the durability, energy efficiency, and aesthetic appeal of your home for years to come.

To find out more about how we at HWA go about our reclad projects download our Investment Guide to recladding your home.

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