As the popularity of garden rooms increases, so does the variety of materials being used by companies to construct them. This is especially the case when it comes to cladding, where there is plenty on offer from celebrated softwoods to exotic natural slate. We think this is great news for customers as it offers greater scope for creativity and individuality.
Environmental impact is another reason why people are demanding the use of different building materials. We are seeing a big increase in the use of eco-friendly products such as wood composite cladding, which is created using the waste timber from the Sawmills, without the use of toxic additives and adhesives.
As well as many other materials, timber prices have been steadily increasing since May 2021. This is mainly due to material shortages and production easing due to the widespread lockdowns. Particularly in Scandinavia, which is where a lot of timber for the construction industry comes from. Other factors influencing material shortages and prices include the infamous blockage of the Suez Canal back in March, which had a major impact on global trade.
All in all, this is bad news for companies and customers alike, as it makes it increasingly difficult to provide up to date pricing, which in turn creates a level of uncertainty from a customer perspective.
What cladding do I choose?
Cladding comes in various profiles, shapes and sizes. Timber cladding profiles be orientated horizontally or vertically to extenuate height. Some popular choices include;
A dense and heavy softwood that is a pale yellow/golden brown, combined with beautiful grain patterns. This timber is naturally resistant to decay and has a service life of 50+ years. The timber is low maintenance which makes it a popular choice amongst customers. At Podhouse we use Siberian Larch cladding as standard, learn more about cladding finishes in the design part.
Cons: This timber species can be quite lively and is required to be face fixed to the substructure to reduce movement. The result is that some fixing holes might be visible.
Western Red Cedar
A popular choice amongst architects and designers and used widely on contemporary building projects. This coastal grown Canadian timber ticks all of the boxes. The colour consists of warm red and brown tones with attractive grain patterns. It’s also extremely durable and naturally resistant to decay. On top of this, it’s lightweight and unlike other species, it isn’t prone to shrinkage. There is zero maintenance required with this timber species.
Cons: Cedar is expensive and can be difficult to source.
This heat-treated Scandinavian pine is extremely durable and resistant to decay due to the very high temperatures it is subjected to. Appearance-wise you can expect a good looking consistent dark brown colour throughout. The timber has a service life of 30 years without any surface coating.
Cons: Thermowood is not as attractive as some of the other timber species available.
As well as having a low carbon footprint, slate is remarkably durable and naturally waterproof. Its aesthetic and technical properties remain unchanged, keeping the elegance and character for much longer. Characterised by its natural colour and texture. Every piece of slate is individual giving a unique and beautiful appearance.
Cons: Slate cladding can be time-consuming to install due to the size of the slates and the cutting involved.
Care and Maintenance
Timber cladding is a natural product that will weather, change colour and eventually decay. The good news is that there are a few tricks that can help to slow this down and preserve your timber for longer.
Whilst some species are more prone to decay than others, it's still
important to clean your cladding regularly. Recent studies say that pressure washing is the most effective way to reduce discolouration and mould build-up.
Another solution is to treat your timber cladding with a UV protected paint or clear coating, which will help to preserve the natural colours of the timber for longer and delay silvering.
If you want a painted finish to your timber cladding, we recommended that you opt for factory coating to ensure high quality throughout. However, be warned that every 2 years or so a top-up coat will be required to maintain that beautiful finish.
If you’re interested in discovering more about Podhouse and the cladding we offer, you can read more in our story or follow us over on Instagram where you can see some of the recent work we have done!