“What is the ideal wood for external cladding?” When it comes to cladding, this has been one of the most frequently asked questions. This is somewhat unsurprising, given that timber cladding is becoming increasingly popular for outdoor cladding applications due to its stunning natural aesthetics and long-lasting properties that make it simple to maintain.
Cladding: Hardwood Vs. Softwood
When selecting external wooden cladding for your project, the first thing to consider is whether hardwood or softwood is more suited to your needs.
Softwood cladding is generally thought to offer more advantages than hardwood cladding. Moreover, softwood is frequently less expensive while giving more strength and resistance to the elements, bacteria, fungi, termites, and dampness.
Additionally, softwoods are easier to work with and polish and are typically lighter in color, though this can turn to a silver/grey color with time if the surface is not well handled.
On the other hand, hardwood cladding provides a significantly darker color, with oak being the most popular choice. However, if not properly maintained, hardwood cladding materials will weather into a silver/grey color, similar to softwood cladding.
After selecting whether you want to use a hardwood or a softwood, the next step is to select the specific type of wood. Below is a list of some of the most popular options:
Softwood: Western Red Cedar Cladding
Time frame: 40-60 years
Western Red Cedar is often regarded as the best wood for exterior cladding projects, and its popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. Again, whether utilized for larger-scale projects or to create a fashionable garden environment, this is mostly due to its inexpensive cost, easy-to-work features, and spectacular aesthetics. Furthermore, this type of wood is lightweight, inherently warm, and is resistant to decay and weathering. Because of this, it has a natural longevity, making it one of the best woods for external cladding.
Hardwood: Oak Cladding
Time frame: 40-60 years
If you choose to go with hardwood, outside oak cladding is the best option. European Oak’s grain is often golden-brown, making it a popular choice for people seeking a more classic aesthetic. Despite this, oak is popular because of its adaptability; it comes in a variety of colors and staining possibilities, allowing you to create a unique cladding design that exudes personality.
Moreover, oak is naturally sturdy, but it will turn silver with time, as you’ve obviously noticed, and this will happen faster if the wood is left untreated. It works well, but it is more difficult to deal with than softwoods, making nailing and screwing more difficult. However, because oak reacts with iron, steel screws should be used.
Softwood: Siberian Larch Cladding
Time frame: 30-50 years
Despite its hardwood designation, Siberian Larch is actually denser than many hardwoods, providing plenty of strength and durability. If you want a historic look, it’s one of the best timbers for external cladding because it has a “knottier” aspect that many people like. Moreover, the color of this wood may range from light yellow to a dark shade of brown.
Furthermore, Siberian Larch wood is easy to stain and paint, so it could be the perfect option if you want an exterior cladding material that you can customize to your own taste and style. Moreover, Siberian Larch is another wood that can be simply fastened and screwed, making it an excellent choice for any home repair. The wood will once again weather to a silver/grey color over time, but this will not take away from its rustic beauty or character.
Softwood: Thermowood Cladding
Duration: 30 years or more
Thermowood is another adaptable option with a strong resistance to moisture and decay, making it good for outdoor applications such as exterior cladding. Moreover, Thermowood is a straight-grained softwood with a density that lies between Cedar and Siberian Larch. It is likely the best choice of wood for individuals searching for darker-colored softwood.
Furthermore, Thermowood is a type of wood that has been thermally treated to promote stability and resistance to shrinkage, swelling, and distortion. The wood is simple to deal with since it readily accepts nails and screws.
Softwood: Yellow Cedar Cladding
Time frame: 40-60 years
Yellow Cedar cladding is a great alternative for individuals who love everything about Red Western Cedar except the color. It comes from the northwest coast of North America. Moreover, Yellow Cedar cladding is exceptionally long-lasting and resistant to decay and most insect attacks, making it an excellent choice for cladding.
Furthermore, Yellow cedar is denser and heavier than Western Red Cedar, and it will weather to a pale silver/grey color. However, due to its durability and wear, it should be able to keep its vibrant yellow color for a long time. Also, Yellow cedar has a fine texture and a straight grain, and it has a lot of stability and shrinkage resistance.
Hardwood: Vacoa Cladding
Duration: up to 40 years
Vacoa Cladding is known for its ability to keep its shape. It may be used both indoors and outdoors and in any weather. Also, wood that comes from Nordic forests has been recognized as sustainable. This means you can rest easy knowing that sustainability was a priority when acquiring this wood, as well as knowing that it is built to last.
Furthermore, the heat treatment has eliminated all resins from the Vacoa Cladding. Thus, there is no tannin leaching. In addition, Vacoa is an excellent choice for any indoor or outdoor cladding design because it is easy to cut and work with.
Vacoa can be used in a variety of situations. Timber cladding, ceiling lining, and timber screening are the most common.