Barn Conversion Materials

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A guide to external materials for your barn conversion

A barn was originally built to fulfill an agricultural function and not to house people. It won’t come with the practicalities a home needs, such as weatherproofing and the external materials you choose for your project will have a huge impact on how it looks. This is something you will need to factor into your design and renovation process while taking into account the existing structure that you need to work with.

Depending on your existing barn and how it was constructed you may wish to reclad the building. If you have a metal frame, the barn will probably have a concrete blockwork base to around 1m and be clad above in metal sheeting. Retaining the metal sheeting isn’t always practical or robust enough for a dwelling and you may wish to reclad.

Barns are not cheap to convert. Surprisingly, considering they already have 4 walls and sometimes a roof, it can cost almost as much as starting from scratch and building a new build home on the same site.

Metal Clad Barn Conversion  

Believe it or not some people like the corrugated metal clad look and so do planning authorities. It blends in with the countryside and is easily recognizable as a converted agricultural building. 

Corrugated black metal cladding is a popular choice; its dark recessive nature complements the rural countryside, but can look slick and defined. 

Using metal cladding has the advantage of being able to specify insulated cladding sheets. This not only uniforms the appearance of the barn but also improves its thermal performance and helps to reduce cold bridges. 

Dark greens, greys and black tend to me the most specified barn colours using metal. 

More unusual metal cladding have included Corten steel. This provides an orange rusted colour which has agricultural and industrial qualities. The cost of Corten is more expensive than that of regular sheet cladding but could make your barn look more architectural and a standout piece of design. 

Barn conversion
Barn conversion
Timber Clad barn conversion
Stone and Timber Barn conversion
Stone and Timber Barn conversion

Timber Clad Barn Conversion 

Timber cladding comes in all shapes, sizes and shades. We have specified Cedar cladding, with its rich red hues laid in both vertical and horizontal pattern.  

Oak cladding is a traditional choice and can be a great investment for your barn. Oak is a hardwood and comes in a variety of hues and tones. If left untreated the timber will change from honey colour to a more silver tone. 

Charred larch has been used on barns in wooded areas, its dark recessive nature fits in nicely around trees. Charred timber comes in varying firing meaning that the colour can be a mid-brown through to black. Charring the timber is a way of adding fire and weather protection to the timber reducing the maintenance requirements. 

Engineered wood is also a popular choice for cladding, such as Accoya. Engineered timber cladding provide sustainable options sourced from FSC certified wood and can have a longer lifespan. 

The layout of the cladding can add interest to the aesthetic of the building with timber frames around window reveals and penny joints to give shadow gaps. We have used timber to create brise soleil on exposed elements barns, for example a covered bbq area or balcony. 

All ranges of timber can be pre-treated and pre-coloured or painted to suit the individual buildings requirements.  

The main thing to think about in choosing timber cladding is its lifespan and maintenance and how often you may have to re-paint or re-treat it. 


Render Barn Conversion 

Render is the least frequently used material on our barns. However, in the right location, it will add great opportunity for external insulation and can specify an array of colour options. The benefits of render are its relatively low maintenance and can be more cost-efficient than timber. 

Render can help to add contrast between two sections of the building or break up the mass of a building. Many modern agricultural buildings have a blockwork wall that extends to approximately a third or halfway up the building with either timber or sheet materials above. Rendering the blockwork can provide a much more crisp and clean finish to the building than simply painting the blocks.

Barn Conversion Inside Outside Square

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