When was the last time you took a walk around your local area?
Did you notice a fast-growing predominance of timber cladding appearing on brand new builds and renovation projects? If so you’re not alone – wood cladding systems are big news right now. There’s even a growing demand for traditional wood soffits and wood facias rather than the everyday champion of recent decades, UPVC.
Cedar is a favourite here and abroad.
The best advice seems to be this: if your cladding needs treatment, treat it before you fit it. Use a protective coating that’s both water and UV resistant, and one that lets the wood breathe. As a general rule opaque coatings need more frequent maintenance.
It’s best to avoid paints, which form a film on the surface and tend to bubble up. Use a penetrating product where all you need to do is clean the wood first. Wood protection comes highly recommended. Although it’s far from cheap, it penetrates the wood and leaves it UV protected, free from rot and mould for around a decade, and neutralises tannin acids.
Your number one task is to keep your eye on the cladding and act the moment you spot something going wrong. No natural product is entirely maintenance-free, after all. On the other hand some cedar-clad buildings have lasted since World War Two, and cedar has considerable natural resistance to decay. There are even so-called ‘modified’ timber cladding products available, designed to cut maintenance and minimise rot, warping and splitting, which can deliver a maintenance-free finish for up to three decades.