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How to install timber cladding

Updated: May 7, 2021

So, you're thinking of cladding your property in some shape or form! Amazing, you’ve made the right choice! Now, you need to think about how you’re going to install your material and what extras you may need. Overwhelming right?


Don’t panic! We have set out all you need to know in this guide.


Our ThermoWood cladding materials are 100% natural and extremely durable, with the absence of chemicals and resins, over time our ThermoWood range has proven it’s quality and durability over time and throughout changing weather conditions.


Please note: this blog post serves as an overarching guide for how to install your timber cladding. However, every project is different, so please consider all aspects of your build in case you need to change anything!


To consider before installing your cladding

1. Choosing charred cladding: It is important to consider that a charred, blistered surface will always be more delicate than un-charred timber surfaces if being exposed to knocks and brushes if people are walking past or leaning against the surface. Our ThermoChar® materials are treated with a flexible UV Class 0 fire rated QFlex® sealer to avoid any knocks, scrapes and residue. If you are looking to use our ThermoChar® range indoors, we can apply an appropriate indoor sealer to help protect your timber!


2. Vertical or horizontal cladding: If you want to emphasise the height of your building, such as a gable end, we suggest running your boards vertically, since the long lines will accentuate the height of the façade. In turn, horizontal boards will soften the height of your façade. So, whatever your desired look, we can find the perfect profile for you!


3. Different cladding board widths: Traditionally, UK buildings were clad horizontally, with boards that were all the same width. However, this doesn’t have to reflect the style of your cladding. Many of our customers opt for alternating board widths of the same profile to add a heightened element of visual interest, as well as a bespoke design, unique to your property, adding monetary and sentimental value.

SAFETY FIRST: before starting work, always make sure you have the correct safety equipment for the task at hand. This includes a helmet, gloves, safety glasses, protective footwear etc.


Installing your timber cladding


1. Preparation before installing the timber cladding: Before installing your cladding, you will need to cover the structure of your building with a suitable breather membrane that is water-resistant and controls the moisture level changes between the building and the exterior climate. Once you have tacked this onto your building, make sure that the membrane joints are overlapping and have been taped up. Once this has been tacked onto the building, making sure that the membrane joints are overlapping and have been taped up. You will then be ready to install the cladding battens.

2. Cladding battens: We would recommend using our pressure treated Blue British Standard graded cladding battens for your installation. The minimum batten thickness should be 2mm x 38mm wide to ensure that there is a sensible air gap between the breather membrane and the back of the cladding board. It is vital to ensure that your cladding battens are of high quality as they are responsible for holding your cladding in place, no matter what the UK weather throws at it.


3. Batten spacing: Typically, your cladding battens would be screwed to the substrate at 400mm centres, and run at right angles to the direction of the cladding boards. For example, horizontal cladding fixes to vertical battens and vice versa for vertical cladding. However, horizontal battens have been known to trap moisture running down the membrane, which eventually affects the longevity of the battens.


In this case, we would recommend setting a vertical batten first, at 600mm centres, followed by horizontal battens at 400mm centres. This provides a cavity gap of 50mm. It is important to also remember to run the battens around the perimeter of window and door openings as these will be used to fit the closure boards.


4. Treat cut ends of boards: When you cut and fit your boards, we would always recommend that you wax seal the cut ends. This is to control and slow down moisture uptake and loss which happens a lot faster through the ends, which can result in end-grain checking. This can occur in all softwood and hardwood timbers; however, our Messmers Timber End-Grain Wax Sealer virtually eliminates this from occurring.


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Image: Woodrow Architects