Different cladding options explained

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Exterior Cladding

Wondering which type of exterior cladding to use on your house? Whether you’re an architect, developer, homeowner, or installer, choosing the best option can be a challenge. 

In this article, we explore the exterior cladding options available in New Zealand, including timber cladding, cedar cladding, composite cladding, vinyl cladding, and more. For each option, we outline the pros and cons and key considerations to make when selecting your home’s cladding. 

Types of exterior cladding

If you’re wondering which type of weatherboard cladding is right for your project, this section will help you to understand the various products, as well as some popular alternatives that exist in the market. These include:

  • Vinyl cladding
  • Cedar cladding
  • Composite cladding

Vinyl cladding

Vinyl cladding is made from synthetic plastic polymer, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a synthetic plastic polymer. In some cladding products, stabilisers, colours, and UV inhibitors are also added. Vinyl cladding is known for its low cost, resistance to moisture, insects, and decay, and relatively lightweight. 

Vinyl is available in a variety of colours and styles, however, it does lack the natural aesthetic appeal and authenticity of real wood. Additionally, the manufacturing process and disposal of vinyl can have environmental implications. Many consider it to be the least sustainable option.

Pros of vinyl cladding:

  • Low maintenance
  • Low purchase cost
  • Versatility

Cons of vinyl cladding:

  • Fake wood appearance
  • Environmental concerns

Cedar cladding

Cedar is a popular cladding timber because of its durability and rich colour. Cedar cladding is highly durable. Cedar is naturally resistant to rot, insect damage, and decay, making it an excellent choice for homes in areas with high humidity. 

Unfortunately, cedar cladding requires extensive maintenance as it is prone to cupping, fading, silvering, mould, lichen, and discolouration. 

To prevent these problems, it is also essential to apply wood oils or timber stains regularly. This helps prevent moisture from entering the timber and replacing the naturally occurring oils and resins. However, these products must be applied and maintained correctly, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

Compare Cedar vs Millboard in more detail 

Composite cladding 

Composite cladding consists of a blend of wood fibre and recycled plastic. During the manufacturing process, an additional protective layer is often added to the composite cladding, making it more resistant to moisture, damage, and extreme weather elements.

In some cases, composite cladding is moulded to mimic the appearance of natural timber. For example, our Millboard Envello Cladding is crafted from hand-picked timber samples, achieving a natural and unique range of planks. 

Composite cladding is very low maintenance and is resistant to rot, insects, and weathering. Some composite cladding materials also include recycled content, making them more environmentally friendly. Compared to vinyl, composite cladding may be more expensive upfront but this often balances out when factoring in the lifetime maintenance costs.

Pros of composite cladding: 

  • Visually appealing 
  • A wide variety of colours and styles
  • Low maintenance
  • Durable
  • Sustainable options

Cons of composite cladding:

  • Slightly higher cost
  • Can be complex to install
  • May fade over time
Book a consultation to find your cladding match

Millboard Envello composite cladding

Here at Forte, Our Millboard Envello Cladding is a type of composite cladding, hand-moulded from carefully selected natural timber. It is available in two profiles and a wide range of colours, providing an authentic and organic look.

  • Does not warp or rot like wood
  • Leach and stain-resistant
  • Looks like real timber
  • Requires no maintenance
  • UV resistance and weathering stability


When installing your Millboard cladding, the boards lock together with a specially designed tongue and groove system. This provides exceptional rigidity, improves your installation efficiency, and reduces time spent on site. Both of the Millboard profiles can be installed horizontally or vertically, depending on the design style you prefer. 

The tongue and grooves on each board feature a relief angle, allowing the boards to curve when used vertically. This also limits the passage of air and water through the system. The tongue of the board features a notch that the fixings are aligned with so the next board can cover over the fixing to create a clean finish. 


Millboard cladding requires very little maintenance. Whenever it rains, the distinctive chamfered cut of the profiles enables the water to naturally clean the boards. This, combined with the durability of the composition, reduces the need for frequent manual cleaning or treatment. 

The only maintenance required is cleaning it with washing up liquid and water every 12 - 18 months to remove dust buildup.

Compared to vinyl and cedar cladding, Millboard Envello cladding may be more expensive upfront, but when maintenance costs are factored in over time, composite cladding becomes the more cost-effective choice, increasing your return on investment.

Our Millboard Cladding profiles

There are several options in the Millboard cladding range:

Shadow Line+

The Shadow Line+ profile is smooth and has been developed to give a clean authentic timber look. The formulation of the Shadow Line+ consists of a resin mineral mix, however, it has also been specially formulated to achieve a higher fire rating. 

Shadow Line+ has been thoroughly tested to the rigorous demands of BS EN 13501-1 and achieves a classification of Euroclass D. The accessory items are also included in the fire rating, such as the Reveal boards, Corner profiles, and fixings. 

Board & Batten +

The Board & Batten collection has a tongue and groove profile that only requires fixings through the tongue, meaning the installation time is dramatically reduced. The profiles on the Board & Batten are designed with various angles to create shadow definition between the grain patterns, as well as facilitate drainage when used horizontally. 

Free samples

Not sure how to choose? You can order free cladding samples from us to try out in your new space. Order now »

Book an appointment to discuss our Millboard Envello Cladding options


Visit one of our Showrooms

If you have any queries about our products or need help with your project, we can provide you with expert advice. Visit one of our showrooms or book a consultation with our flooring experts today.