Alternate materials to make your extension stand out

We have had our fair share of experience with home renovations in London, helping homeowners navigate the city’s physical and planning restrictions. At Home Tales, we ensure all our clients are armed with the best possible options to create their dream home. Some homeowners grow tired of the traditional look of residential architecture and come to us with different ideas to update their property. For example, copper cladded side return extensions in London would suit those seeking a luxurious, futuristic, and unique addition to their property. In this post, we highlight some alternate materials that can be used in place of the standard brick and mortar to really make your home extension stand out.

The way your extension is finished can set the tone for your home’s aesthetic. Lesser used materials such as glass, timber, and metal, create a clear distinction between the original building and the new addition. This architecturally interesting feature adds value and offers a drastically different feel to brick and render.


We all know that glazing can really transform a home, but have you ever considered installing glass walls? Having a glass roof over your extension or lining your courtyard with glass walls can truly upgrade your space. They allow light to flood the internal space, whilst bringing the outdoors in. There is no denying that glass is the ultimate architectural feature as architects such as Mies Van der Rohe and Le Corbusier heavily featured it in their famous works like The Pavilion in Barcelona.

Well-positioned glazing can really ground you and your space. However, keep in mind that this can be a costly route as glass (especially thick, toughened glass) must go through rigorous treatment before reaching your home. Your architect must also be careful to not place too much glazing in spots with direct sunlight as this can cause overheating within the home, causing discomfort. This would be a costly error to rectify later down the line.


Wood cladding is growing in popularity with through rising concern over climate change and sourcing more local, sustainable materials. Timber is a durable, renewable material that can be treated to preserve its organic look and colour. It can be installed in different ways, be it vertically, horizontally, or in a custom pattern such as herringbone. Wood is a great feature that architects often make good use of, as it adds warmth and softness to a building. This is especially effective when compared with the brickwork of the original property, which offers a more of a cold and rough material.

With its positive attributes comes a hefty cost, as this is arguably the most expensive option in our list. A more affordable alternative would be wood-effect cladding, which is fibre-cement boards designed to imitate the look of wood. This means you can get the look without it costing an arm and a leg!


Steel, zinc, aluminium, and copper, fall under the umbrella of metal cladding and can be half the cost of timber cladding. This type of cladding is low-maintenance and works wonderfully in homes with a modern and sleek aesthetic. Depending on the type of metal, it can be pre-aged or coated to preserve a specific look. For instance, copper’s colour spectrum ranges from a vibrant orange to a patina green. Some people opt for the pre-aged patina green stage and preserve it to create a unique, elegant feature that looks similar to water or reflective glass. Metal cladding is flexible, so it is also perfect for designs with curves or sharp angles.


Plastic cladding is highly underrated due to its association with poor quality products. On the contrary, it can be an amazing, affordable option that offers a huge range of finishes. With plastic cladding, it is important to seek high quality materials as plastic cladding of poor quality would be susceptible to fading and discolouration. High quality cladding from a reputable company is often accompanied with a lengthy guarantee that covers issues of discolouration or other manufacturing problems. The plus side of plastic cladding is that they can also be made from recycled plastics, so you can lessen your carbon footprint with your new build. Recycled plastic can be almost as strong as concrete!

Some alternate materials are not favourable to local planning authorities, but we can help argue your case. There are no practical reasons for refusing these new materials, so it’s important to highlight the advantages your proposal has over traditional brickwork.

If you would like to carry out a home improvement project further, our friendly team of professionals would love to hear from you. Give us a call on 02070432378 or contact us via email at Alternatively, book in a telephone consultation to speak with a senior member of our team. Click here to view our live diary and pick a time slot and consultation type that best suits your schedule. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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