30 Aug 2019

Timber cladding vs fibre cement cladding

Cladding is usually available in a range of materials, but there are two popular options that most homeowners prefer. In this article, Dalply discusses the two prominent types of cladding – timber cladding and fibre cement cladding, and how they are different from each other in many aspects.

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With the two cladding types, the homeowners get plenty of options to choose from such as installation methods, finishes, sizes, colours, and textures among others.

Timber cladding is the traditional type whereas, fibre cement cladding is a more contemporary approach.

Fibre cement weatherboards and timber weatherboards are widely used in residential as well as commercial buildings; however, their finish quality is different. Both the types vary in every department, including the cost.

What is fibre cement cladding?

Fibre cement cladding is produced by mixing fibres, fillers, and cellulose with water. After that, concrete is mixed to form wet sheets. The wet sheets are then pressed and rolled to remove excess moisture. The sheets remain pliable for a short period after their formation; hence, they can be shaped and restructured into any form such as small tiles to planks, and even large-format panels.

In order to achieve a specific aesthetic, the finished products are either painted, through-coloured or left to develop a natural patina. This helps in reducing the risk of chips, scuffs, and visible scratches developing over time.

However, the disadvantage is that you will be relatively limited in terms of textures and palettes. Composite weatherboard cladding is an economical and attractive way to finish the exterior of buildings.

What is timber cladding?

Timber cladding is produced using long strips of softwood or hardwood timber and affixing them to the interior or exterior walls. Timber cladding can be laid in any direction – horizontally, diagonally, or vertically. Timber cladding can be used for creating a feature wall or for covering the entire structure – the possibilities are endless.

Many different species of softwood and hardwood are suitable for timber cladding because of their natural resistance to decay.

However, the most considerable disadvantage of timber cladding is that they are not fireproof as wood is a flammable material. However, with advancement in technology, fire retardant coatings can be applied.

Installation

Timber cladding and fibre cement cladding are more popular than ever. With the introduction of the latest tools and equipment, installing them has never been so easy. Today, they are mechanically fixed with clips, screws, or nails. With that said, the installation procedures of both cladding types are somewhat the same. However, some differences make them stand apart from each other in terms of installation.

Installation of timber cladding

Timber cladding is generally designed for horizontal use; however, specific profiles can be recommend for vertical use. The cladding panels are installed by attaching to the backing structure battens.

Only stainless steel (304 grade) fixings are recommended for fixing the cladding. Regarding fasteners/fixing, the professionals recommend annular ring sank nails with a flat head. There are two types of fixings when it comes to the installation of timber cladding – face fix and secret fix. The face fix is used for fixing the thickest part of the wood where each wooden board is fixed separately. Secret fix, on the other hand, is for fixing any profile width up to 100 mm.

The installation of timber cladding varies slightly depending on the wall structure. For external walls, the battens are attached to the wall, and the exterior cladding boards are fixed to these battens.

For timber frame walls, the battens are attached to the studs in the wall, and for cavity walls, the battens are attached with plugs and screws.

Installation of fibre cement cladding

Installing fibre cement cladding is a similar story, though there are some crucial differences from timber wood cladding. For starters, the fibre cement board cladding is always cut upside down to get the cleanest lines. In most cases, the fibre cement cladding boards can be purchased ready to install in a whole host of stains and colours.

However, if there is no primer and paint applied on the board, the boards need to be primed and painted on site before installation. This is not required with timber cladding so it makes timber cladding the winner in terms of speedier fitting if the fibre cement cladding is not primed and painted on arrival.

With that said, its installation is very similar to timber cladding. The fibre cement cladding is installed from the bottom up when using horizontal lap application. Galvanised cladding nails are used for fixing concrete cladding boards. The best part about fibre cement cladding is that they can be installed over foam insulation as well. When the cladding is completely installed, the vertical gaps are caulked between the trim and cladding.

Cladding categorisation

Timber cladding and fibre cement cladding comes in numerous shapes and colours that make a project a unique one.

There are different types of concrete board cladding and wood cladding panels manufactured in a heavy-duty industry process and based on the type of the building or structure, each type is recommended.

In simple words, it depends on the project whether fibre cement or timber cladding will be used to give the desired look to the structure, which is stylish and unique. There are plenty of fibre cement and timber cladding manufacturers and suppliers who supply each type according to your specific demands.

Both the cladding types have their own benefits and disadvantages, and it is recommended that you consult an experienced manufacturer who can guide you through the whole cladding dilemma.

The objective is to stick to what suits you the most that include the budget as well. Your house’s structure and the area will also play a vital role in determining which cladding you should go for.

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