What Fixings to Use on Timber Cladding?
Installing timber cladding is no mean feat. In the past, we have put together numerous helpful resources to discuss the installation process – including our FREE downloadable timber cladding installation guide – however fixings have not been covered in detail. Therefore, in this guide, we discuss timber cladding fixings, listing the types of fixings, the recommended nails and screws for fixings, and top tips for fixing timber cladding.
Proper fixing of timber cladding is critical to the longevity and looks of the façade. Without proper, professional installation, timber cladding can decay and become unsecured.
What is Timber Cladding Fixing?
Once you have chosen your specie, worked out order quantity, planned and created the backing structure battens with an architect, you are ready to ‘fix’ your timber cladding. The act of ‘fixing’ is literally installing the timber cladding by applying and securing the panels to a frame.
Timber cladding is usually installed horizontally, but it can also be applied vertically or even diagonally, which affects fixing. Similarly, only some profiles suit vertical installation, so it is best to be sure on how the panels are being fixed and what is optimal before getting started.
Additionally, the structure of the wall to which the timber cladding is being fixed can affect the installation process. For example, external wall fixing is done by securing the cladding to battens on the wall, whereas on a timber frame wall, battens first have to be attached to studs, then the cladding fixed to the battens. It is vital that each installation of timber cladding is tailored to the wall type, profile, and species of the timber, ensuring that there is adequate space left for ventilation to prevent the build-up of moisture or water vapour, which can impact the quality of timber over time.
While it may be tempting to DIY it, it is recommended that only professionals fix timber cladding. The only way to ensure a secure fit with fixings that suit your species is by leaving installation to an expert. Once fixed, quality timber cladding should last for many decades, so it’s important to get this critical stage perfect.
See more: The Ultimate Guide to UK Timber
Face Fix Timber Cladding
Face fixing is the most secure method of timber cladding fixing. The nails go through the thickest part of the panel and there may be numerous across the width of the panel. Face fixing is suitable for profiles over 100mm in width. It is required for the first board on each elevation for stability. Nails are visible with face fixing – the impact on aesthetics is minimal but can be a consideration.
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Secret Fix Timber Cladding
Secret fixing is less secure than face fixing, but the nails are not visible, so many prefer the looks of this fix style. A singular fix per panel is installed through the bevel line with the adjacent panel overlapping to keep it hidden – hence the ‘secret’. This fixing method is used for profiles under 100mm in width and is essentially for painted cladding.
See our free illustrated guides available via our download centre for more information.
Timber Cladding Fix Nail/Screw Types
Often, there is confusion over whether nails or screws should be used to fix timber cladding. Fortunately, we have the answer!
Angular ring shank flat-headed nails are idea for softwoods (i.e. Cedar or Larch), as well as cut pointed screws. Hardwoods, on the other hand, are more suited to screws. Small or lost headed fixings are not recommended.
See more: Timber Species Guide: Characteristics of Different Timber Species
Nails or screws used for timber cladding fixing should be 2-2.5 times the thickness of the cladding panel to ensure good penetration with the batten behind.
Stainless Steel Timber Cladding Fixes
All NORclad products must be fixed using stainless steel grade 304 fixings. Top-quality stainless steel fixings should be used to reduce the chance of corrosion or staining, especially for high tannin timber species such as Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir and Oak. Grade 304 stainless steel is the most versatile and commonly used grade, with notable corrosion resistance. Aluminium and brass fixings are at higher risk of corrosion and staining.
Tips for Timber Cladding Fixing
Nails/screws should be fixed at least 20mm from the end of boards. Also, fixings should penetrate the batten behind adequately. If fixing boards end to end, allow a 2-3mm gap for expansion; the possible movement of time should always be considered.
Nail guns can be used to fix timber cladding, however they can lead to overdriven nails with negative effects on panels, such as splitting or visible damage. The gentler fixing of hand nailing ensures the best quality securing for the timber.
It may seem obvious, but it is critical all panels are fixed independently. Failure to properly secure panels could result in slippage.
Flush to Surface
Fixings should be flush to the surface for longevity of the fixing.
Get a Professional
If you aren’t sure on any aspect of timber cladding installation, from fixings to species, experts can advise on what’s best. Installation should always be performed by a professional.
Quality Timber Cladding from NORclad
We source and supply quality timber cladding for building projects in the UK and beyond. From fixing and profiles, to timber species and responsible sourcing, out expert team can help with all timber cladding enquires. For expert advice and to specify timber cladding for your next project, get in touch with our experts!
Download our FREE illustrated timber cladding installation guide >
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