Why Is Composite Cladding More Expensive Than Alternatives?

Adding an additional layer of protection to the exterior walls of your house has several benefits, such as changing the look of an ugly or tired wall, additional insulation and weather resistance, and therefore fewer cleaning requirements for your outside walls.

On top of that, depending on the material you go for, you can add a stylish contemporary look or a more traditional and cosy look to your home with additional house cladding.

The most popular options to choose from are traditional timber cladding, brick cladding or a more modern aluminium cladding, UPVC cladding and composite cladding. And while the style definitely plays a role in the choice you make for your future external cladding, the cladding cost involved tends to be more important for most people.

In this guide, we will have an extensive look at the costs related to external house cladding and which option has the most efficient material and labour costs as well as maintenance needs. On top of that, we will explain why composite cladding can seem the most expensive option for your house cladding project but why it should still be your preferred choice.


What is Composite Cladding?

Composite cladding is an environmentally friendly, durable material with extremely low maintenance that has been produced from recycled plastic as well as wood fibres.

Our composite is made from recycled high-density polyethene and reclaimed FSC-certified wood fibres and comes in a wide range of colours. On top of that, our cladding boards are surrounded by a durable, impermeable polymer outer layer that provides them with extra protection.

It makes a high-quality cladding alternative to traditional timber cladding as it carries all the inherent benefits of timber, minus the inherent downsides of timber, such as rot, UV damage or warping of the material.

It adds a protective layer in addition to more structure to your house’s exterior, thus preventing it from moisture entering your home and keeping everything well-insulated.

Composite cladding comes in a wide variety of styles, which can make your home’s exterior either look traditional thanks to a more classic wood-inspired look or very contemporary if you’re going for a modern charcoal or even black finish. Due to the versatility in styles, composite cladding is suitable to enhance every house’s cladding look.

While it is true that composite cladding materials can be more expensive than other more traditional materials used for house cladding, one should not disregard all the additional benefits they might gain through investing in this extremely optically pleasing and durable material.

In the following piece, we will have a more focused look at the exact costs involved in composite cladding when compared to some of the other cladding options.


The Cost of Composite Cladding vs other Cladding Materials

The cost of your external cladding will obviously come down to the size of your house, i.e. the price per square metre times the actual square meterage your outdoor walls require to be cladded.

A single-storey property is much cheaper than a two-storey property, for obvious reasons, and you will probably have to spend something between £1,200 and £5,000 depending on the property as well as the materials you are going for.

With a two-storey home, this price can go up from £2,000 as far as £6,000, again, depending on the size of your property and the materials.

So let’s have a closer look at the price of the materials available.

Timber Cladding Boards

This is probably still the cheapest and most traditional option out there when it comes to external cladding. The cost of these timber cladding boards can vary depending on the choice of timber and where the timber is originally from. Generally, however, you can estimate about £25-£40 per square metre or close to £5 per timber board, size dependant (softwood timber).

An important thing to note is that the price of timber is not constant and is subject to change depending on market availability. Therefore, timber might not always be your cheapest option.

UPVC Cladding Boards

A preferred choice for those that want a more modern look for their homes. UPVC is extremely popular as it comes in a variety of colours and even shapes while providing very good protection for even the worst kinds of weather!

You can expect your average UPVC cladding boards to cost about £25 to £60 per square metre, which makes them already more pricey than traditional timber.

These boards are usually sold in packs from about 25sqm packs to 100sqm. UPVC cladding is very brittle/dense and can easily crack, the finish isn’t too great too and customers now seem to be moving towards a WPC cladding or Aluminium cladding board.

Aluminium Cladding Boards

Another modern option for those seeking a contemporary style is aluminium. It has the same properties in terms of variety as UPVC, as it comes in plenty of shapes and sizes as well as finishes. However, the most common and cheapest option for aluminium boards is probably white or silver.

An average aluminium cladding will cost you about £85 to £200 per m². It is, therefore, on the higher end of prices when it comes to house cladding.

Composite Cladding

Composite cladding has been taking UK markets by storm in the last couple of years, mostly thanks to its versatility as well as durability properties. Another reason might also be its eco-friendliness compared to some of the other materials out there, but more on that in a bit.

As with UPVC or Aluminium, it comes in a range of sizes and colours and is probably the best at imitating traditional timber cladding for those that would like a more wood cladding look but are environmentally conscious or just want more efficiency from their outdoor cladding.

Usually, you can expect to pay around £55 to about £100 for composite cladding boards per square metre, depending on the company you go with and the colour or range you choose. Some cheaper options are also available that might only set you back by £35 to £45 per square metre, but then you might not have all the durability benefits included. I would recommend staying away from first generation composite cladding as you don’t have the UV guarantee and the product isn’t as durable and can be susceptible to scratching and staining.

It is, therefore, true that it is on the upper end of the costing scale when it comes to cladding materials. However, there are some further variables to consider in your house cladding cost planning, which will be discussed below.


Other Things to Consider

When thinking about your external cladding costs, there are some other worthwhile points to keep in mind as you are trying to figure out which option might be the most cost-effective one for you.

Labour Costs

Purchasing the materials for your external cladding is one thing, but installing cladding is another. Not all tradesmen know how to do it, and therefore it could cost you quite a bit, depending on the material and style you might go with.

If you are a bit of a handyman yourself, you can try to install the cladding in a good old DIY manner; however, especially with timber, if not done right, you might lose the insulation properties completely.

Luckily, our composite cladding is easy to be installed by yourself and, therefore, will not cost you anything as you won’t have to hire a tradesman at all!

Maintenance Costs

Yes, timber might be the cheapest option, but have you ever seen how quickly untreated wood can rot or stain or splinter if exposed to the elements? It is no secret that wood cladding does need a lot of money for its upkeep. This quickly makes it one of the most expensive options on the market.

Just consider the paint, sealing material and potential sanding labour that has to go into maintaining your wood cladding! In addition to that, replacing damaged boards will require a specialist as well, which again will cost you quite some quid!

None of this is an issue with UPVC, Aluminium or composite cladding, luckily. Due to its texture, however, Aluminium does like to stain quite quickly, as well.

And if you are going for the cheaper option, which is white or grey, you will find yourself spending a lot of time (or money) on keeping your house’s facade clean after heavy weather (which there is quite a bit of in the UK).

UPVC cladding is, unfortunately, also not resistant to changing colour or fading from exposure to extensive UV rays, which will have you replace your cladding in a couple of years’ time as well.

Composite cladding (Ecoscapes Forma range) is very low maintenance; it does not warp, stain or lose colour, and will, therefore, most likely save you the most when it comes to your house cladding cost.


UPVC is made from 100% plastic, whereas composite cladding is made from a mix of plastic and reclaimed wood fibres, which makes it more environmentally friendly. Our composite wood fibre is 100% FSC-certified, too.

If you are going for timber, it is important to ensure your timber comes from FSC-certified sources, but that means it might still have a high CO2 footprint as it might have travelled from far locations in Asia or South America.

Composite is made entirely of recycled resources, which means it has one of the lowest carbon footprints as it doesn’t require any additional material to be produced or trees to be cut down. Instead, composite sources all of its materials from already used products such as plastic bottles and wood chips.


Benefits of Composite Cladding

As mentioned throughout this article, composite cladding is an incredibly resistant material that requires low maintenance and will basically cost you nothing when it comes to upkeep. On top of that, adding cladding that is of high quality to your home can potentially increase your property’s value.

If that hasn’t convinced you yet, here are some other benefits of choosing composite for your house cladding project:

  • Repels insects and other infestations
  • Extremely weather-resistant
  • Comes in a lot of stylish colours and ranges
  • Easy to install and deconstruct or exchange
  • Doesn’t stain
  • Doesn’t need to be treated or painted



Does cladding need to be painted or sealed?

If you are going for wood cladding, then yes, it will have to be sealed, and depending on which colour tone you want to go with, it might have to be painted as well.

UPVC and composite cladding require no painting nor sealing, and neither does aluminium, although it might require a paint job after staining from the sun for a couple of years.

Can I install cladding myself?

That depends on your level of expertise and the material you are going to go for. As mentioned earlier, composite cladding is usually incredibly easy to install, but when it comes to wood cladding, you will have to make sure to be very handy with wood in order to not damage any insulation properties or the material itself.

Do I need planning permission to install cladding?

Usually, adding cladding to your home will not require any specific planning permission, but it is always good to check with your local planning authority or local tradespeople.

Another common practice is to consult with your neighbours first when planning to make external changes to your home, as the installation process will affect them, as well as the way that the finished product ends up looking.


Final Thought

There is a lot to consider when it comes to planning external cladding for your home. One of the most important factors is definitely the cladding cost. However, most people make the mistake of thinking that this is a done deal after they have purchased their materials.

Unfortunately, many forget that maintenance costs and environmental costs are also real factors to consider when deciding on your future cladding.

At the end of the day, it comes down to your personal preference, but, hopefully, this article was able to show you that contrary to popular belief, composite cladding is not the most expensive option per sé and actually makes for quite a cost-effective all-rounder when it comes to the outer facade of your home.

Add Composite Cladding to your house and protect it against all the weather and external influences today with versatile and easy-to-install composite cladding materials from our Ecoscape range!

Gary is the founder and CEO of Ecoscape UK. Gary graduated from Liverpool JM University in 2007 with a 2:1 in Economics. A passion for innovation, design and sustainability, Gary has put to market numerous wpc products/systems, some of which have UK and European registered designs. Outside of work Gary enjoys spending time with his family, the great outdoors and watching Manchester United.