If the outside of your house is in need of a lick of paint, or the brickwork is looking patchy then perhaps it's time you invested some time and money into keeping up appearances. Embarking on a home renovation project is both exciting and a little bit scary as you don't really know what problems you are going to encounter along the way. If you're comfortable with power tools and have some knowledge of woodwork, building, plastering and painting, and you have the time, then you might as well do some of the jobs yourself. You can always get in contractors and skilled professionals for the larger jobs, particularly if it involves electricity or some other area that requires specialized qualifications. There are lots of options available to you when it comes to improving the look of your home. For starters you could landscape the garden, get new doors and windows, fit cladding over broken and worn brickwork, give the exterior a fresh coat of paint, and smarten it up with new guttering and fascia boards. Cladding offers an inexpensive way to really give your home a facelift, it can be fitted over old brickwork or replace current timber cladding that is worn and rotting. It is a particularly attractive feature and will have your neighbours green with envy. Not only aesthetically pleasing, it also acts as a second layer to the exterior of the building giving it extra protection against the elements, and helping to keep it insulated more effectively saving you money on your energy bills. Thee are lots of other benefits to fitting cladding apart from it being cost effective, for a start it can reduce outside noise, will protect the exterior of your property from further damage, and as it is lightweight it's relatively simple and quick to install. Cladding for exterior walls comes in an assortment of materials, choose carefully as some will require the application of a waterproof coating or additional thermal insulation. Brick or masonry veneer are popular choices, although the initial cost may be higher than other options they have the advantage of practically no maintenance. Weatherboards are made from timber or composite materials and known for their weather proof properties; whilst some may require painting there are other options that need no preparation. Concrete masonry blocks don't rot and provide good heat storage, other materials include vinyl, aluminium, steel, stucco, wood effect and veneers that reproduce the look of brick and stone. PVC cladding offers superior thermal insulation in comparison to brick, concrete or timber and uses a system whereby the pieces are clipped to each other. Available in various sizes, it comes with matching edge trims, joining pieces and corner sections available in bright or standard white. PVC is an inexpensive option when it comes to updating and protecting your home, and it doesn't need any maintenance apart from a clean now and again. It won't fade in the sunshine, rot or disintegrate as timber does, is resistant to corrosion, rust and discolouration, and will retain its shape whilst keeping your house warmer than any other type of material. When looking for quality assured pvc products check they are BBA, CSTB accredited and BSI kitemarked, and have a guarantee. White products are generally guaranteed for up to 20 years against cracking, warping, corrosion and discolouration, whilst coloured and woodgrain PVC-U products are guaranteed for 10 years for appearance and performance. PVC shiplap cladding can really enhance the look of your property, giving it a fresh new look. If you are updating with the intention of selling, then it makes for a striking feature to potential buyers and will make it stand out from other properties in the area. Match your cladding with double-glazed windows and doors, as well as guttering and roofline products for a smart appearance. UPVC fascia boards, cladding and other guttering products can be purchased online for ease and convenience.