Timber cladding, also known as weatherboard or siding, has evolved from an architectural style primarily used in agricultural buildings (e.g barns) into a popular design for residential and commercial buildings.
Despite its emergence on the market, many consumers are in the dark when it comes to understanding what cladding is and how it’s used. If you are considering installing cladding on your home or simply want to educate yourself about the versatile timber material, read on, because this simple, yet comprehensive guide will teach you all you need to know.
What is Timber Cladding?
It’s easiest to thinking of timber cladding as a second skin for a house. It is installed on the external façade of a building to protect against the weather; however, it can also improve the appeal of a building with its luxurious, chic aesthetic. Timber cladding also looks great on ceilings, adding a unique focal point to any room.
Timber cladding generally involves boards or planks of timber that overlap each other to act as a shield. This durable siding is designed to have a cavity between it and the main wall, so that if any moisture penetrates the cladding, it has a chance to evaporate or drain away.
Advantages of Timber Cladding
Timber cladding has become a prominent material for house siding in recent years because it successfully marries style and practicality. In addition, it also boasts a variety of useful qualities.
Cladding is versatile because it is both flexible and lightweight. It’s an inexpensive option because it doesn’t need to be supported by a continuous sub-floor wall – posts, columns and piers will be sufficient. Unlike other building materials, cladding can be arranged to create non-traditional building shapes.
It has a light and smooth appearance that helps it blend well with natural surroundings. Various types of timber make cladding a versatile material that fits in with any style. It also comes in a range of profiles, textures and coatings.
Buildings that have cladding installed will react quickly to cooling and heating systems, meaning less energy is required to keep the house at a comfortable temperature.
Ease of Installation
Timber cladding is designed for ease of use and rapid installation. It also allows for less material handling than other materials. Typically, no scaffolding is required, though this depends on the area being covered. For more information on installation, check out Outdoor Structures Australia’s guide on Timber Cladding.
Sarking is a waterproof material that is fixed directly behind timber cladding. It allows any water that has penetrated the cladding to be directed to the outside, rather than remaining trapped behind the weatherboard or penetrating further. It has the additional benefit of acting as a barrier against draft, dust and wind-driven rain.
To obtain the best performance, good design practices are necessary. Here are some things needed to get the most value from cladding.
- Wide eaves or verandas will protect the cladding and reduce heat build-up on the walls
- Consider having insulation installed behind the sarking to reduce heat transmission into the house
- To prevent distortion of the cladding, studs should be spaced no more than 450mm apart
- Cladding should finish at least 150mm above the ground level to prevent any moisture up take. The bottom of the cladding should slope upwards and inwards for the same reason for better water shed.
Before applying any sort of protective coating to the cladding, ensure that the wood is clean. Cladding is generally used on the exterior of a building. For that reason, it’s likely going to experience many weather conditions.
Therefore, it’s best to use a coating that has both water and UV resistant. This will help prevent rot, mould and structural damage from occurring.
The best method of treatment is prevention. If you have a regular maintenance schedule and keep an eye out for anything amiss, you will keep the cladding looking like new for many years to come.
Timber cladding must adhere to the Building Code of Australia (BCA). This dictates whether cladding can be used on different types of buildings. For example, there are classes of building that require non-combustible materials, which will limit the use of timber cladding.