Different types of cladding are all solid options - cladding protects your home, insulates it well and gives you greater design freedom. But, different types of cladding have different benefits and disadvantages that you can use to your advantage depending on where you live.
This type of cladding is also effective for keeping the heat out during summer and in during winter, but not as much as stucco/rendering. Some vinyl cladding products are manufactured to have improved insulation and these can be helpful.
Vinyl cladding has improved durability in recent years and some options can be more durable than metal. Vinyl is almost impossible to scratch or dent (thanks to the resins in the product) but can crack in salty air or hot dry conditions. Vinyl is the cheapest type of cladding and is also relatively cheap to install.
This type of cladding is also effective for keeping the heat out during summer and in during winter, but not as much as stucco/rendering. Metal is the most durable type of cladding and it's durability is improved even further if you maintain it with a coat of paint every few years too.
Metal cladding never breaks or cracks and is aluminium cladding in particular is excellent at avoiding corrosion from the ocean air. Metal can be inexpensive depending where you are, but installation is the cheapest to install. Often you can cover existing cladding with metal cladding so there's no expensive removal costs or rubbish.
Wood cladding is not particularly efficient as insulation and also offers the drawback of not being fire resistant - and it's not often seen on Australian homes. Wood cladding also needs quite a bit of maintenance to remain durable and you'll find it need a lot of TLC, and eventually need to be replaced.
Wood can sustain some damage earlier in it's life but as it gets older and dries out more, wood can split and bend. Wood is costly but also this depends where you are - wood needs to be cut to size too so this can add cost on installation.
Most efficient for keeping the cool air in the house and the sun out - it's thick so rendering/stucco cladding repels the heat in summer and keeps the heat inside the house in winter. It's durable for approximately 25 years but needs to have holes patched immediately to last this long.
Rendering is the least resistant to damage and is vulnerable to hard hits. Stucco/rendering is the most expensive option and a lot of the cost associated with rendering is the cost to install it - because rendering is a job that requires experience and skill.
Remember that there may be new options or even better advice about your local area so post a job today to have your cladding done, whatever you have in mind!