Many of us like the idea of owning a property with a traditional looking exterior, particularly from the Georgian and Victorian periods. However, such properties do come at a cost and many refuse or simply can’t afford to pay the premium prices. One way that many savvy homeowners are overcoming the problem is to make stay put and give their existing property a traditional facelift, or to buy a more modern property and make alterations to it. Here we take a look at some of the most popular ways to add a touch of age and character to the exterior of your home.
The walls of a property are of course the largest element on show and any changes to them will have the greatest impact on the overall look of its exterior. The most obvious way to update your brickwork is to paint it all with masonry paint. This is a great option if you are working on a budget and wish to improve the look of ugly looking or mismatched bricks.
Where the brickwork is in really poor condition and could do with being hidden fully, you have the option of rendering the exterior. Partial rendering, whether it is one level or panels of the building, is a great way to achieve a traditional look. If you go for a full render of the property then it is important to select the right colour to paint it, otherwise the look could end up more contemporary than you intended. You may wish to go for a mottled effect finish rather than smooth render, which is achieved through the introduction of stones.
Cladding is your final option and there are many different finishes that can be chosen. US style wooden cladding is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, especially in the South and coastal locations. Oak, larch and cedar are all excellent choices and can be left with a natural finish – although they are relatively expensive. Softwood options are more affordable, although they will need to be either treated or painted to protect the timber from the elements.
When it comes to the natural stone cladding, you have a choice of granite, slate and quartz – all of which lend themselves to a traditional look.
Of all the changes you can make to the exterior of a property, changing the brickwork is will have the most dramatic impact. It is therefore worth having a good drive around the surrounding area, making a mental note of the materials most commonly found in order to ensure that any changes you make don’t make the property appear out of place.
Houses that were built during and just after the war to some extent suffered in terms of quality due to the limited materials available. Perhaps the area that was most neglected was the roof, with many utilising low quality concrete tiles. These tiles neither look particularly nice, nor lend themselves to a traditional aesthetic. Slate is perhaps the most versatile material to go for and will look great with whatever alterations you make to the brickwork. Alternatively you may choose to go for clay tiles, although they are slightly more costly - especially the handmade variety. Where you are looking to save money, there are both slate and clay replica tiles available. Manufacturing techniques have come a long way since the first concrete roof tiles were produced, with modern ones difficult to spot and also retaining their colour rather than fading.
Although the walls and roof are the two main areas to get right, the whole exterior of a property can be thrown off if the smaller details aren’t correct. For example, the bright and shiny appearance of a zinc guttering system is perhaps better suited to more modern buildings. However, there are other options out there, with cast iron gutters being the most popular choice amongst those aiming for a period look. Whilst they made be a touch more costly than other alternatives; a properly maintained cast iron guttering system will last for many decades.
The next detail that is important to get right if you are to achieve the complete look is the windows and doors. There is a huge range of timer windows available in various designs to suit the style of any traditional exterior. Of course, hardwood is more durable, but also more expensive. If you go for softwood windows or doors then it is important to prime and paint them properly, which will serve to reduce the chances of rotting.
Our final suggestion focuses on adding a little bit to the building to give it that extra character. Most properties built during and after the war were built with functionality and cost in mind and can therefore appear quite flat and boring. An easy way to add extra dimensions to your home is to build one or two porches where the entrances to your property are located. Doing so will not prove especially costly and any outlay should be more than covered in an increase of the property’s value.
Image 1 credit - 1541 at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dw/
Image 2 credit - flicktone at http://www.flickr.com/photos/anton41/
Image 3 credit - happy via at http://www.flickr.com/photos/via/
Image 5 credit - johnnyenglish at http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnnyenglish/