Outdoor Timber Cladding – Everything You Need to Know
Outdoor timber cladding is an attractive and sustainable option for the exterior walls of your building. Increasingly architects and builders alike are using timber cladding to insulate, protect and enhance the outside of their building projects.
From commercial or educational builds, to modern inside-outside projects, timber cladding adds more than a trendy aesthetic. Boasting many great benefits and environmental positives, timber cladding is a popular building material for a reason.
Types of Durable Outdoor Timber
Canadian Western Red Cedar is a durable timber that originates from North America/ Canada. Although this timber cladding can be coated with an oil treatment to maintain its appearance, it is a naturally very tough and durable timber.
Siberian Larch is another form of timber cladding which is naturally moderately durable. Larch that grows in Siberia or regions where the trees are slow-growing will perform better than its British Counterpart. The average density of Siberian Larch is between 470kg/m and 650 kg/m at 12% moisture, making it more resilient to impact than Western Red Cedar, which has a density of 330 kg/m to 390 kg/m.
European Oak Timber cladding is a durable hardwood. Oak tends to be a more expensive form of timber cladding and needs to be specified very carefully as it has a tendency to warp. With Oak timber cladding, shorter lengths are recommended and fixing with screws through pre-drilled holes may also be advised. This process can increase the installation costs associated with Oak timber cladding.
Spruce, Fir and Pine timber cladding require additional preservatives. This treatment will usually be applied through a pressure impregnation of chemicals with preservative properties, either our Brunnea or Lite process.
Another option for preserving timber cladding is by thermally modifying timber cladding. This is achieved by heating the timber to over 200°c in a controlled environment. This treatment will improve the durability and stability of the timber.
What is the Best Solution for Outdoor Timber Cladding?
Wood timber is incredibly diverse. There is a massive range of durable species that can make the perfect cladding. Before deciding on a specie, consider the position of the building, the weather conditions it will be susceptible to, and the look you wish to achieve. While not the primary concern, looks, cost, and durability are all important in finding the ideal specie to suit your build.
Two of the most popular species of timber cladding for outdoor use are Siberian Larch and Western Canadian Red Cedar due to their durability and attractive looks. However, many species can be specified for outdoor timber cladding use and should therefore also be considered.
Canadian Western Red Cedar
- Very high rot resistance
- Excellent machining properties
- Source: Canada or UK
Canadian Western Cedar is a softwood that is lightweight and relatively low density, is also easy to maintain and lasts a long time.
Cedar varies in colours from brown to yellow, and even sometimes pink! It is also naturally resistant to decay.
- Moderately resistant to rot
- Straight or spiralled grain
- Excellent machining properties
- Source: Siberia
Siberian Larch is extremely popular for flooring and outdoor decking. Although Siberian Larch is a softwood its properties are actually denser than many hardwoods.
The colour of Siberian Larch can vary from yellow to a medium straw colour.
Tips for Improving the Durability of Outdoor Timber Cladding
- Protect the timber cladding from rainwater by adapting the design to include overhangs.
- Keep outdoor timber cladding 150mm to 250mm above ground levels to keep it above moisture that can be absorbed from the ground.
- Seal the end grain on the timber cladding.
- Ensure that the cladding is not directly in contact with any porous materials.
Outdoor Timber Cladding with NORclad
If you are looking for the perfect solution for your outdoor timber cladding project, NORclad are here to help. We have been helping builders, architects and project managers find timber cladding solutions for their projects for over 40 years.