Partners, Renovations

Reaching great heights with vertical cladding

Gö¼GîÉMHP Windsor ThreeBirds 353-scaled
Project Name
House 12
Windsor, NSW
Project Type
Building Designer
Three Birds Renovations

Apart from its durability and good looks, one of the things we love most about James Hardie’s cladding products is the versatility. In our renovations, we’ve installed cladding both horizontally and vertically… and in the case of House 5, both ways in the same area!

The vision for our most recent renovation, House 12, was to transform a cute but tired little house into a contemporary family home. We used James Hardie external cladding throughout the property to bring interest and detail to spaces, on both the exterior and interior, through the shadow lines created by the cladding, with the common fact that it was installed vertically.

Here’s how we used cladding vertically to help bring our vision to life, inside and out:


Speak to any real estate agent and they’ll tell you the importance of street appeal. Updating the façade of your home contributes to how much passers-by engage with your home and to the appeal of the entire street. Façade makeovers often inspire neighbours to upgrade their facades too!

One of the first things you notice when you approach House 12 from the street, is the Stria™ Cladding. We believe you’ve only got one chance to make a first impression and the we chose this cladding, along with the tiles, windows (framed in Axent trim) and paint to work together to create the wow factor on the facade of this home.

Stria™ Cladding is a shiplap board, which is like a tongue and groove system where the boards slot into each other. Stria™ Cladding boards are thick and the shiplap joint creates a much wider, deeper and more distinct groove than Axon™ Cladding.

We replaced the old windows and wanted to thicken up the frames to make them really pop. Normal window trims are only 65mm wide so we used Axent trim (89mm x 19mm) to fatten out window and contrast the cladding. This has a perfectly smooth surface and being fibre cement it won’t warp, split or texture in the harsh sun.

Selecting materials for the facade of your home is an important decision, for both aesthetic and practical reasons. We love fibre cement for many reasons:

  • It’s a clever builder material that can be reminiscent of a number of looks (timber or render)
  • It is light enough to follow the frame and not have to rest its weight on the ground
  • It nails on to the frame of the home, so it’s easy to install
  • The cement in the product gives it an enduring nature more like bricks because it’s resistant to fire, rot, termites and damage from moisture.
  • It gives design flexibility and the ability to be enduring – the perfect ingredients for timeless design.

We wanted to take a few years off this old girl’s age to help put the ‘contemporary’ in to contemporary cottage. To do this, we replaced the old timber cladding with Stria™ Cladding and installed it vertically rather than horizontally for a smart contemporary look. We love James Hardie exterior cladding products because the fibre cement composition means they are much more durable than timber, meaning less maintenance for our busy homeowners. #notjustgoodlooks

At House 5, we created a modern extension on an old cottage, using Stria both horizontally and vertically to define the modern and the traditional. We love the contrast created using the same product, installed differently.


Step inside House 12 and you’ll see that we’ve carried the vertical lines with the installation of Axon™ Cladding Smooth on the interior walls. The benefit of using fibre cement vertical groove sheets is that they’re impact resistant, the won’t swell and warp if they get wet or if it’s too humid (perfect for kitchens and laundries!). And they won’t let off any harmful volatile gasses as they’re not made up of glue.

In the same way that vertical stripes on clothes give the illusion of a leaner, taller physique, installing cladding vertically can give make lower ceilings feel higher, too. Aside from the gorgeous detail and layering it provides in the kitchen and bar, we chose to run our Axon cladding from top-to-toe to give the impression of height within this little home.

The clean vertical lines in the Guest Cottage at House 8 takes the feature wall to even greater heights. Axon™ Cladding looks like finely crafted tongue and groove boards but it’s actually a precisely engineered and manufactured fibre cement sheet.

Which way do you prefer your cladding? Horizontal or vertical?

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