• Bower Ashton Revisited 2

Best Materials to Use for Creating a Stunning Building Facade

A facade can define your building. Whilst every side can be considered a facade, the one most often talked about is the front elevation with the entrance. This is the part that interacts with the world – a point of exchange and interface that defines a building’s relationship with the surrounding environment. Quite literally the ‘face’ of your design, facades are ideal canvasses on which architects can show off their creativity and skill.

These days, facades are often non-loadbearing or even curtain walls, meaning a wider variety of materials can be used. As well as this, architects are becoming more and more concerned by the other functions a facade can fulfil, such as improving energy efficiency and helping buildings blend with their environments.

Whilst a range of materials are typically used in facade design, we naturally recommend timber. At NORclad, we supply and manufacture sustainable cladding that can bring a unique and timeless aesthetic to any design.

In this guide, we outline some of the materials typically used to create building facades, as well as highlighting some more sustainable options and the benefits of choosing timber.

Choosing the Right Facade Materials

Depending on where your site is located, there are different factors to consider when choosing the best material for your facade. Beyond your own personal aesthetic tastes, important qualities to consider include:

  • Durability
  • Cost
  • Noise Absorption
  • Insulation
  • Sustainability
  • Contrast to Nearby Buildings

Of course, your design will play a huge part in determining your choice. Different materials have different looks and bring unique characteristics to a build. If you’re thinking of incorporating kinetic elements to your facade or solar shutters and fins, your materials will need to be suitable for this application. Equally, if you want something bold, modern, and impactful, you need to consider what will best help you achieve this.

How to Design and Create a World Class Facade >

Common Types of Facade Materials

Typical materials of used for building facades include:

  • Metals like steel or aluminium ACP panels
  • Stone
  • Glass
  • Brick
  • Concrete
  • Timber

However, some of these options can have a detrimental impact on the planet. Metals damage the environment during mining and smelting, concrete has been linked to acid rain and emissions of toxic gases, and bricks require huge amounts of energy to fire.

Luckily, there are some more sustainable options out there that can help you create the look and feel you want, without the negative impact.

Sustainable Facade Materials

The environmental impact of construction has been well-documented, but there are other, more sustainable ways to build. In this era of climate crisis, architects and contractors are beginning to look at more eco-friendly alternatives to traditional building materials. For facade design in particular, there is a high amount of flexibility because it is not integral to the structure. Below, we explore some of the innovative options currently out there to help you make the best choice.


FSC and PEFC certified timber is an obvious choice if you want to bring sustainability to your design without breaking the bank. Timber is durable, cost-effective and highly attractive, available in a variety of species, colours and finishes.

Read more: Timber Cladding Colour Guide

Trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, helping to reduce the amount of harmful greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. More than that, timber is biodegradable and requires less time and energy to install, helping your construction project mitigate its impact.

Wood provides a host of non-sustainability-related benefits too. From improving acoustics to providing efficient insulation to requiring little to no maintenance, cladding has plenty to offer.

At NORclad, we’ve been shouting about timber for years. That’s because it has limitless design potential, improves the character of urban environments, and even has a host of health benefits! Our timber is sourced from sustainable forests in the UK and Switzerland, so you can feel confident that you’re getting a high-quality, eco-certified product with us.

Curious to see what you can achieve with timber? Check out our case studies

Read more: Timber Cladding Design Inspiration

Solar Panel Facade

If you’ve got a large budget, incorporating solar panels into your facade can be a great way to create a bold design and generate renewable energy for the building – win, win!


Fast growing and renewable, bamboo can regenerate damaged landscapes during its cultivation, and go on to create stylish, natural facade designs. Despite this, the impact of transport to your project should be considered, so this might not be the best choice if you live in a country where bamboo is not readily available.

Hint – timber fin cladding can provide a similar, natural look!

Green Facade

A green facade or living wall is an ingenious way to bring greater biodiversity to urban environments. As well as this, it can insulate occupants from street noise, improve air quality by capturing particulate matter and pollution and benefit our mental health.

Rather than being a ‘wall’, a green facade uses climbing plants and a trellis system to create an attractive natural front for a building. A similar effect could also be achieved by incorporating planters into your front elevation design.

A living wall, on the other hand, is a vertical elevation covered in plants, and includes soil and hydroculture felt as well as an irrigation system. It can feature a wider variety of plants such as mosses and generally requires a larger budget and more maintenance.

Reclaimed Wood

Timber is already a stunning, sustainable option for facade design, so why not up the eco-credentials of your project further and use reclaimed wood? With distinctive colours and textures, reclaimed timber can add a unique look and feel to your build which, after all, is a key aim when designing a facade.

The Ultimate Guide to Using Reclaimed Timber >

The Wave - Siberian Larch 2

Create Your Dream Facade with NORclad

Our clients love our timber because it’s sustainable, functional and delivers a stunning finishing touch to their projects, time after time. The facade of a building is your opportunity to demonstrate not only your creative skill, but your environmental stance and ethos as an architect. Whether you want to blend in or make a mark, cladding can suit a variety of facade styles.

To learn more about what sustainable wood can add to your project, get in touch or go right ahead and specify. We can’t wait to hear what you’ve got planned!

Read next: How Timber Cladding Weathers – All You Need to Know

Read next: Outdoor Timber Cladding – Everything You Need to Know

Learn More with NORclad

Have Any Questions?

To learn more about NORclad®, our approach and our products, simply get in touch with us today.

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If you’re stuck for inspiration and want to see working examples of our expertise, feel free to browse through our case studies.

Our Case Studies
2022-04-05T12:22:53+01:00August 15th, 2021|

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