North Norfolk is synonymous for its brick and flint buildings and its traditional pallet of materials. Although the influx of non-local materials has developed through the 20th and 21st century, North Norfolk still remains predominantly a red brick and flint area. This said, many other materials can be specified and used where a clear local precedent exists or where a particular design justifies it.
Red brick remains the dominant elevational treatment for both traditional and new build dwellings. It is crucial that new brickwork matches the colour palette of its locality. When selecting bricks, shiny engineering bricks, bricks with an applied or a heavily textured wire-cut finish, and bricks with poor depth of colour are generally of poor visual quality and should be avoided. Features such as lintels, string and dentil courses are usually the same colour as the main façade although there are occasions where the designer has used contrasting bricks to create decorative patterns. In sensitive or prominent locations, it may be appropriate for new buildings to use Flemish bond or English bond for any brickwork. Garden wall bonds should be used for boundary walls. Light coloured mortars should be used in both instances.
After the Romans brought the technique of using mortar to join together building materials, flint began to be used in buildings and became the most important building stone in Norfolk. Flint nodules range from cricket ball size to a meter across and can be split into even shapes. Flint is a varied and rich material, there are a number of different techniques, finishes and laying methods which can be incorporated to achieve differing effects.
Render is a traditional finish within the district, used to protect the walling material beneath. Traditionally, render is a smooth floated finish in a limited range of naturally occurring colours. The use of lime render as a finish was first introduced in the Georgian era as a method of formalising facades and creating the appearance of a high status property. In the 60's and 70's cement render became a prevalent finishing treatment in an attempt to waterproof buildings and its use has been damaging to historic buildings. Render mixes with a lime/sand content applied with a wood float are recommended to create a finely-textured finish.