How to Fin­ish Your Walls

4 Think be­yond painted plas­ter or wall­pa­per and take a peek into the wider world of wall coverings, where any­thing from me­tal to con­crete is a pos­si­bil­ity, says Natasha Brins­mead

Homebuilding & Renovating - - Contents -

Look­ing for some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent to painted plas­ter or wall­pa­per? Read our guide to the al­ter­na­tives, in­clud­ing in­te­rior tim­ber cladding

Along with your choice of floor­ing, it is your walls that de­fine the over­all look of your home, act­ing as a back­drop for your in­te­ri­ors. In the past, the most ad­ven­tur­ous wall coverings tended to be tim­ber pan­elling (still a great op­tion in­ci­dently). How­ever, there are more op­tions than ever now on of­fer, trans­form­ing in­te­rior spa­ces, be they tra­di­tional or con­tem­po­rary, and giv­ing homes walls that make a de­sign state­ment.

Me­tal Cladding

The trend for me­tals such as cop­per, brass and bronze con­tin­ues. We’ve done light fit­tings, brass­ware and even ex­posed pipes, but hot on their heels is in­te­rior wall cladding. Me­tal sheets, in both pre-cut sizes as well as cutto-size pieces, are avail­able for bond­ing to walls, and some are avail­able with a handy pee­lable ad­he­sive back­ing. Al­ter­na­tively, you might con­sider me­tal tiles, suit­able for floors, walls and ceil­ings.

If an en­tire me­tal-clad wall is a bit over­the-top for your taste, con­sider mak­ing a fea­ture of just one wall or cre­at­ing a small panel within an oth­er­wise plain wall or ceil­ing.

Tim­ber Cladding

Tim­ber-clad walls are noth­ing new, yet they re­main a pop­u­lar fea­ture. This is a sim­ple-to-in­stall wall cladding, easy to use in retro­fit sit­u­a­tions and cost-ef­fec­tive too.

Tim­ber cladding can be cus­tom made or picked up in off-the-shelf packs for as lit­tle as from £6/m2 for soft­wood planks. The sim­plest form of tim­ber cladding is tongue­and-groove, also known as ‘ butt and bead’ jointed boards. This style is great at deal­ing with any move­ment, too.

Al­though tim­ber cladding is a good op­tion (it is usu­ally en­gi­neered), MDF cladding, which is in­ex­pen­sive, easy to cut and fit and has no knots, is also widely used. The new wave of mois­ture-re­sis­tant MDF boards cost only a lit­tle more and are bet­ter suited to kitchens and bath­rooms.

Laser-cut wood pan­els are ideal for con­tem­po­rary homes and can be cus­tomised to your own de­sign then glued to the wall. Al­ter­na­tively, pre-cut and stained square pan­els, ei­ther in a wood ve­neer or real wood, can look stun­ning ar­ranged over an en­tire wall.

Wood Pan­elling

Sim­i­lar to tim­ber cladding, wood pan­elling comes in var­i­ous de­signs, of­ten with names such as ‘Ge­or­gian’ and ‘Arts & Crafts’, al­though there are mod­ern de­signs avail­able.

Pan­elling is made from ei­ther MDF, MDF with a real wood ve­neer or solid tim­ber (soft­wood will need to be treated with a primer and painted to avoid move­ment is­sues).

‘Open backed’ pan­elling uses sheets of MDF with the pan­els cut out. These ‘frames’ can then be glued di­rectly to the walls and painted for a tra­di­tional panel look at a frac­tion of the cost of the real thing.

Shut­tered Con­crete

Shut­tered or ‘ board-formed’ con­crete is hot news in con­tem­po­rary house de­sign. Con­structed on site, tim­ber or steel boards are used to cre­ate a mould into which the con­crete is poured and set, be­fore the mould is re­moved, leav­ing the im­print of the ‘shut­ter­ing’ equip­ment on the con­crete — wood grain bring­ing tex­ture this raw ma­te­rial.

In ren­o­va­tions or in sit­u­a­tions where just small ar­eas of con­crete wall cladding are re­quired, pre­cast wall pan­els can be used, usu­ally made from glass-re­in­forced con­crete for its light­weight prop­er­ties.

Brick and Stone Cladding

Ex­posed brick and stone are usu­ally the re­serve of older build­ings, but they are ap­pear­ing in mod­ern homes more fre­quently, too. If you have solid brick or stone walls that are in sound con­di­tion, it is well worth clean­ing them up, re­point­ing where nec­es­sary and leav­ing them to do their thing.

In new builds, it might be nec­es­sary to ‘fake it’ — stone cladding pan­els are made from real stone and are supplied in pan­els, ready to be fixed with ad­he­sive. Brick slips are also a good idea. H

1. El­do­rado Stacked Stone in Nan­tucket. £59.99/m2 + VAT from Zclad; 2. Mo­tivo Piedra Ce­leste from MB DIY, a PVC cladding sys­tem that is fully water­proof. Sold in packs of four pan­els cost­ing £20/m2; 3. Syl­vaket Har­mony solid beech tim­ber from Junck­ers. From £51/m2; 4. Con­crete shut­ter­ing has here been used on both the walls and ceil­ings. A Va­ri­ety of Choices

Tra­di­tional and Mod­ern Fin­ishes 5. This wall pan­elling is made from mois­ture-re­sis­tant MDF, is hand­painted and costs ap­prox­i­mately £80/m2 ; 6. This­tle Mag­netic Plas­ter from Bri­tish Gyp­sum can be used over a new wall or over ex­ist­ing plas­ter. It costs aro

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