Cladding isn’t used solely for decoration purposes. It also provides thermal insulation and weather resistance for your home. When choosing the right cladding for your coastal home, you not only need to think about weather resistance to water, heat and wind. It is also important to consider erosion from the salt in seawater. 

The salt in seawater dissolves, causing the sodium and chloride ions to dissociate. These dissociated ions can move freely through the solution. This allows seawater to carry an electrical charge. Corrosive chemical reactions can take place when materials come into contact with seawater. This is why choosing the right cladding is important for your coastal home.

What cladding is suitable for a coastal home?


When it comes to metal cladding, the two most common materials are aluminium and steel. Galvanised steel is usually coated with a zinc or copper-nickel alloy to prevent corrosion. Although highly-reactive, aluminium forms an inert, protective layer with oxygen for corrosion resistance. Steel is always preferable over aluminium due to its durability. 

Metal cladding is an easy way to add a pop of colour to the exterior of your home. It is considered a cost-effective option for cladding. It is also quick to install and requires little ongoing maintenance.


Brick gives a classic, traditional feel to your home. It’s another great low-maintenance option. Although the build is time-consuming and costly, it will be easy to maintain for years to come. 

Brick is durable, thermally-insulating, fire-resistant and is relatively resistant to moisture absorption. Although all properties are advantageous, the latter is an important feature for cladding in a coastal home. Humid air in coastal conditions can wear away moisture-laden claddings. Choosing a type of cladding with a low rate of moisture absorption should be on the top of your checklist. 

Consider adding an outdoor alcove into your outdoor space to further shade from the harsh weather conditions. If you’re low on space consider choosing outdoor furniture that you can pack away easily during the colder months.

Brick veneer is a cheaper and less time-consuming option. However, it is quite susceptible to moisture retention. For this reason, always choose brick over brick veneer for your home by the sea.


Timber has been a popular choice for many years. This type of cladding has an extensive range of styles so you’ll be sure to find the look you’re after. Although labour can be lengthy due to wall framing, this makes it thermally-efficient. 

The biggest downside of timber is its high maintenance. Timber will need to be replaced sooner than other types of cladding. This is due to its moisture-absorbency and lack of extreme durability. For these reasons, timber may not be the best long-lasting choice of cladding for coastal homes.

Vinyl/plastic weatherboard

Man-made materials require very low maintenance. They’re also lightweight, durable and can be made in a wide range of colours.

Like timber, wall framing is required so the construction process may be long in duration. Styrofoam backs the cladding to improve insulation due to thermal inefficiency. Ensure the cladding is joined using regular expansion joints as the material may expand and contract with the weather.

Saltwater has little effect on these materials. However, it is not completely resistant to the sun’s rays. Over time, the colour may fade. 


Modern finishes aren’t complete without concrete cladding. The possibilities are endless. Create your desired texture, pattern and polish. Labour for concrete cladding will be a higher upfront cost compared to other materials. However, maintenance for concrete cladding is low. Concrete is also a thermally-efficient option.

Over long periods, saltwater can corrode concrete. This can take many years, but over time, your cladding will eventually become weak and unstable.

Ultimately, each choice for coastal home cladding has its advantages and disadvantages. Saltwater is a corrosive substance, so ensure materials are properly treated. Whichever material you choose, be sure to wash your cladding regularly to prevent salt build-up.


Author’s bio:

Maia Fletcher is a New Zealand based freelance writer who has written articles for various blogs and local sites such as Tairawhiti Gisborne. After long hours spent in front of her computer, she always looks forward to ending her day admiring the picturesque view of the sunset from her window.

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