The original Kiwi villa has proved incredibly enduring, but if it's time to re-clad, what kind of budget are you looking at?
Still going strong after 100+ years, the original Kiwi villa has proved incredibly enduring. But when it comes to their weatherboard exterior, even these proud old dames are not immune to the ravages of blistering sun, or dampness. So if it’s time to re-clad, what kind of budget are you looking at?
Recladding can be fraught with traps for first-timers; so it pays to have an experienced team on your side. There’s a lot you need to get right – from sourcing the right timber, to navigating the intricacies of your building consent. As with any renovation, the final cost will depend on the scope of work. A villa reclad might range from simply replacing a few rotten weatherboards, to undergoing a full reclad and paint of the entire house. And unlike newer homes, explains Wellington-based Refresh consultant Nicholas Leko, villas tend to have a range of different cladding elements to consider. “You’ll need to take into account everything that interfaces with the weatherboards – things like soffits, fascias, barge boards, sash windows – plus the many decorative wooden features.”
Most original villas are of weatherboard construction; although some were made of solid plastered brick. There are certain heritage restrictions around changing the look of your villa. These will be prescribed by your council; but as a rule of thumb, the aesthetics of your home must be in keeping with others in the street. If you want to change to an entirely new look – say, a monolithic cladding – then you’re facing a substantially bigger project. Not only will there be additional consent costs, but also a lot more building prep. “Some people choose to add a modern cladding to a villa, but it does require a lot of additional time and investment,” explains Jim Gleeson, an Auckland-based Refresh consultant. “For instance, villas move over time; they don’t have straight walls. So you need to make the walls are straight-and-true before you can install a monolithic cladding.”
As with any renovation or extension, you’ll need to obtain a Building Consent for your villa reclad. You’ll need to budget somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000 for this. But fortunately, the consent process is generally pretty straightforward for villas. That’s because council doesn’t view them as a leaky-home risk; unlike some of the more modern buildings, which can be subject to very stringent (and costly) inspections. The compliance requirements vary between Councils, and will also be specific to your property. That’s why having an experienced project manager on your side, to help you navigate all this, is invaluable.
As a very general guide, you probably need to budget around $20,000 for ‘localised repairs’ on a single-storey villa. This might involve cutting out and replacing any damaged or rotten weatherboards, re-painting those areas, and fixing a few windowsills. If you’re a purist who wants to replace your home’s original native timber - which might be expensive matai, rimu or kauri - you will need to source these from a demolition yard or elsewhere. But most people accept that a treated pine weatherboard provides the same look, once under a coat of paint.
“We generally encourage villa-owners to stay with a treated pine,” says Nicholas Leko. “You don’t need to go to a specialist timber merchant. Most merchants these days can provide the complete range of weatherboard profiles, plus a catalogue of the decorative items. For the small number of weatherboard profiles that they can’t replicate – and that might be only 10% of homes – we can organise a special run.”
“Depending on the location of your house, the rot or sun damage to the cladding will usually occur in specific areas,” says Jim Gleeson. “Generally, you’ll be working on two out of four elevations – which is normally the rear of the house, and part of two sides.”
A small, single-storey villa requiring a straightforward reclad and repaint on three sides might sit around the $180,000-$200,000 mark. This would include new weatherboards (and other timber features), window repairs, and a full-house paint. The general overhead costs, such as shrink-wrap protection and scaffolding, typically account for around 15% of the reclad budget.
A complete reclad and repaint on a large, double-storey villa (of 60sqm per elevation) could cost around $300,000. Depending on the state of your roof, you may want to replace it to match your sparkling new exterior. In which case, you should add approximately $25k-$30k to your budget. Taking the cladding off is also a prime opportunity to address any other issues – particularly for older villas – relating to the structural framing, interior walls and foundations. It’s also the perfect time to upgrade any electrical work, insulation and plumbing.
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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.
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