How to Choose the Right Material for your Exterior Cladding

Things to Consider for your Cladding Project

When planning to build your dream property there are many things to consider. From the right material, to your budget and schedule. To get your project under-way in an organised and efficient manner, we have devised some important things to consider when purchasing your cladding for your project.


If you are looking to add a traditional, rustic aura to your project, knottier woods can reinforce this style. For a clean, crisp look, species that are naturally knot free (clear grade) will do the trick.

We also offer a variety of colours to suit your style ranging from charred cladding to more vibrant AtelierClad® compositions.

Lead Times

Your exterior cladding can be fitted once your windows, doors, roof soffits and guttering are in place and while you still have the scaffolding erected if your cladding is above ground floor level. Internal operations such as plumbing, and electrics can be completed whilst the external cladding is being installed. Allowing you to speed up your project schedule.

Due to the variety of products that QTD Ltd. offer and the treatments that they under-go, lead times for different cladding options can vary from 5 days to 8 weeks. Therefore, it is always advisable to plan well ahead as build projects will encounter unforeseen delays and can speed up or slow down from one week to the next.

However, to ease this pressure we are able to wrap and store your material under cover until you require it onsite as we know that space will be limited and the risk of damage can be high. We offer this service at present FREE of charge.


Our variety of cladding options offer durability and resistance to harsh weather conditions. Therefore, your location and its susceptibility to a range of weather conditions should not matter when applying any product from our cladding range to your property.


With any project, no matter how big or small, it generally comes down to budget and dependant on your project we would be able to offer you a variety of products to satisfy your price point.

Our high-end range of AtelierClad®, ThermoChar® and ThermoWood cladding come in at a slightly higher price point. This is reflected in their added durability, stability, eco-credentials, and overall product quality.

At the lower end of the budget spectrum is our chemically Pressure-Treated Softwood cladding in a natural finish or a variety factory coated colours, these timbers have a slightly reduced lifespan of 15-20 years in comparison to our ThermoWood’s which have a lifespan of 25/30+ years.

Product Type

All types of cladding commonly known as rain screen cladding will protect your home from the elements. Some have qualities to improve thermal insulation and as well as offering high fire ratings. Different species vary in terms of grading quality, knot content, colour and graining, service life and upkeep. In fact, timber is one of the few natural materials where in most cases price will reflect quality.

If you are looking for a natural timber product with minimal maintenance, a durable and rot resistant material that is also dimensionally stable, meaning that the product is not prone to cupping, swelling, or shrinking, ThermoWood softwood or hardwoods will provide that performance over others.

Commonly, UV exposure will fade the natural colour of all timber species without exception. However, it’s the natural softwoods with a high knot content that most people see as fading to an unattractive grey colour with black knots most often associated with garden fences. This is because the softwood is of fast-growing low quality and not considered good enough for use as cladding. The more attractive silvery grey colour is more commonly associated with clear grade hardwoods and softwoods of a high-grade quality.

If the penultimate colour of UV fading is not your thing then we also offer four additional options to either have your cladding pre-oiled ready to install, then periodically re-oiled as and when you feel it is appropriate.

You can also have a transparent UV sealer applied that has a slight sheen but protects the natural colour of your cladding and repels whatever the harsh and changeable UK weather throws at it.

You also have the option to factory colour coat the timber in a variety of 11 different colours or you can opt to have your cladding heavily charred on the exposed face. Heavy charring is naturally UV resistant and depending on the timber that is charred will provide you with a ‘Snake-Skin’, ‘Lizard-Skin’ or a ‘Crazy-Crackle’ appearance.

At QTD Ltd. after 6 years of R&D in Charring cladding, we do not advocate the charring of natural timbers like cedar, larch and oak. Instead, we only use Thermally-modified (ThermoWood) hardwoods and softwoods. We will however reveal all in another post.

AtelierClad® and AtelierDeck®

The AtelierClad® and AtelierDeck® range offers boards with a textured brushed grain surface available in 11 different colours to suit your personal preferences. A 100% recyclable, FSC certified ThermoWood Softwood and Hardwood product. The coating applied to these ranges are a flexible, UV resistant and Class 0 fire-rated, providing an extremely stable and durable finish. Our AtelierClad® range offers a 2-coat system with a washable topcoat which will not flake, crack or peel. A composition that will not fade, and due to every board having a different enhanced grain structure, no two boards are the same.


Manufactured by implementing a specialist, bespoke process, QTD Ltd. are the only producers of ThermoChar® Hardwood and Softwood cladding in the UK. This dangerous, labour intensive process of charring the outer surface of the ThermoWood brings out the richness of the different wood species grain structure. Making the wood 30% more fire resistant than standard wood species’ like Cedar and Larch. The ThermoWood process removes all resins, sugars, and tannins and closes the cell structure with only a 7% moisture content within the timber. This ultimately provides a very stable platform to char the boards surface without any surface disruption under intense heat that would otherwise causes long term issues. This heavy charring process allows the wood to become resistant to UV fading.

All charred boards are sealed for external use. A different sealer is used if the charred boards are purchased for interior use. Our ThermoChar® products offer minimal ongoing maintenance, offering you a beautiful, a low maintenance product to incorporate into your project.


Our dimensionally stable, durable ThermoWood’s are 100% recyclable with a low water absorption rate allowing the product to be resistant to decay, fungal growth and insects, which would usually damage other, lower-quality wood species. Its uniform colour takes to gluing, oiling, and painting far better than other woods. Our ThermoWood products are 30% more fire resistant than regular wood with a Class B Certification. With added heat and sound insulation, and a lifespan of 25-30+ years, this product is beneficial to your personal health and the environment. Like our other products, there is minimal ongoing maintenance. The technology used to thermally modify timber causes permanent and structural changes within the cell structure, with an outcome of superior durability and stability.

Timbers that would normally perish once machined and used in an outdoor climate can now be used successfully without having to harvest Amazonian tropical timbers, using our bespoke process to produce ThermoWood. A great environmental benefit! Thus, relieving the pressure on these species by using less threatened and more readily available species. Therefore, allowing you to build a dream property that ticks the environmental responsibility boxes and will last for decades!

Composite Cladding

Our Trespa Pura NFC composite cladding has undergone extensive testing for durability, impact and UV resistance. Coming with a 10-year product guarantee, including colour stability, you can be confident that this cladding option is here to stay. With a variety of colours and compositions available, this composite cladding offers a long-lasting outstanding finish. Our composite cladding withstands harsh weather conditions, allowing the product to stay in great condition for many years. In comparison to timber, this composite cladding will not fade at all, whereas a natural timber would fade to a silvery hue over time. It is down to your preference of how you want your product to age! However, both products have a very similar lifespan. The closed surface of our composite cladding means that there is little build-up of dirt over time, offering you minimal maintenance.

Pressure-Treated Softwood

Produced from slow-growth Scandinavian and Siberian pines and larch trees, our pressure-treated softwood cladding offers a long life-span and a product that is resistant to rot, due to it being chemically pressure-treated. Due to the presence of natural resins and sugars and a higher moisture content of around 15%, softwood cladding has a tendency to twist and cup due to the moisture movement in and out of the timber (dependant on weather conditions). Longer lengths of treated softwoods although popular are more prone to movement than shorter lengths. These boards can be used both horizontally and vertically to transform your outdoor space. We can add a subtle colour tone to this softwood to suit your personal preferences. This product, like our extensive variety of cladding options, offers minimal maintenance. In addition to being very affordable.

Western Red Cedar Softwood

In comparison to other softwoods, Western Red Cedar encapsulates its own preservative oils that reduces the chances of the wood rotting, providing durability and stability over time. Available in a variety of orange and brown shades, this is a hit with nature lovers, offering a warm appeal. To best maintain this colour a Messmers UV Plus Oil is recommended to stop the colour of the cedar from weathering down to shades of silver and grey over time.


It is important to effectively fit and maintain your cladding to fully promote the bespoke qualities of our cladding ranges. QTD Ltd. provide a variety of ad-ons to ensure that you get the best results for your project.

Cladding Battens are BST graded, and machine regularised. These are essential and critical to your project as your cladding will be relying on these battens.

Cladding Corner Trims and Cill Trims in the same material and composition as your cladding adds a seamless finishing touch.

A2 Stainless Steel Screws are also available and recommended when installing cladding and decking.

Insect Mesh is used to close off the cladding cavity at ground level but still allows the cavity to breath.

Cavity Breather Membrane envelopes the building structure that keeps out moisture yet allows the building to breathe.

Messmers UV Plus Oil for Cladding & Decking offers a premium natural wood finish and deck stain that is specially formulated to penetrate the wood’s surface to enhance the natural beauty. With its unique UV inhibitors, this oil helps to retain the timber’s colour. Messmers UV Plus Oil also provides excellent resistance to UV degradation.

Messmers Timber End-Grain Wax Sealer provides high quality protection against end-grain checking in all hardwoods and softwoods. This sealer prevents the ends of the timber from drying out too quickly which contributes to the grain checking or splitting shortly after being cut. This sealer is frequently used by joinery companies and wood turners and offers easy application with a brush. This prevents wasting money cutting off the split ends of expensive timber. This should be used on all deck boards and cladding timbers to prevent the ends drying too quickly.

Blackfriar Wood Preserver is a high-quality wood preserver which offers long-lasting protection to most external softwood timbers. The preserver is specially formulated with powerful fungicides to fight wet rot, dry rot, decay, and mould growth. This should be used on all cut softwood joists and beams that are primarily used when constructing decking framework.

Once you have considered all of the factors stated above, the time has come to contact our dedicated team to get your quotes drawn up, to request samples and get your project planning and finalising underway!

If you get that feeling of being overwhelmed don’t panic, we have all been there! Just give us a call or drop us an email as our technical team can put those fears to rest and guide you through all of your project essentials.

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