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11 Sep 2018

Advice on the use of cladding in self-build projects


In 2017, more timber cladding was specified in the UK than ever before. Here Richard Mosson, Group Project Manager for Lathams, looks at why timber cladding is on the rise and what advantages it offers.


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Timber cladding is proving popular for lots of reasons. It offers a beautiful natural look which enhances the appearance of a building but, most importantly, timber can be sustainable. Modified woods are also growing in popularity as self-builders seek performance and longevity in their projects.

The key advantages of timber cladding are design, flexibility, the appeal of good aesthetics and sustainability credentials. For exterior projects, timber cladding offers self-builders a durable and flexible material which is able to provide professional finishes to buildings. Often used to define a building’s facade, cladding also helps to highlight the true character of a project. Timber cladding is easy to work with and is often used to create distinct shapes and patterns that would be simply too difficult to do in another material. Some types of woods are easy to machine and work with in terms of steam bending and cutting which can make them ideal for more complex design projects.

Timber cladding is relatively easy to maintain, as long as the timber being specified is durable. Many facades are left to weather naturally and durable timbers will ensure they remain relatively easy to maintain for decades. However, coatings are becoming far more popular and all coated timber cladding will require a level of ongoing maintenance to preserve the desired look.

As long as the wood species is durable then there is no need to apply a coating. However, it is important to consider that exposed wood will eventually weather to a silvery grey and the environment in which the cladding is placed needs to be considered. As a natural product, wood is subject to movement and timber can still be prone to splits.

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