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Timber Cladding Maintenance: Tips for Keeping Your Cladding Looking Great

Have you ever looked at your old, worn-out wall and thought about making a change? Perhaps you've considered using timber cladding, a stylish yet effective solution for injecting warmth and character into your home. But then you hesitate. You remember how quickly the beauty of natural wood can fade if not properly maintained.


Fear not DIY enthusiasts and homebuilders, this blog post is here to dispel your worries and guide you towards perfect maintenance. 'Timber Cladding Maintenance: Tips for Keeping Your Cladding Looking Great' is all about addressing your concerns on the care and preservation of timber cladding - this marvellous material that's become an essential component in contemporary construction and renovation.


Don't forget that timber cladding that colour fades due to UV exposure will vary depending on the elevation its on. I.e. South gets the most and North gets very little exposure. This has no bearing on the durability of the timber if you have chosen a good quality in the first place..


Here’s what we'll be discussing:


  • Importance and benefits of Timber Cladding Maintenance.

  • Common problems and their effective remedies.

  • Essential tips to keep your timber cladding looking fresh and lively.

  • Preventative measures to protect your timber cladding.


By the end of this post, you will not only realise the beauty and versatility of timber cladding but also be equipped with valuable knowledge to ensure your timber cladding stays in top shape.


We aim to foster a love for timber cladding that extends beyond its initial aesthetic appeal. This is just the beginning of transforming your living space and creating a home that stands the test of time and shines with unyielding elegance. Let’s dive into the world of Timber Cladding Maintenance.

 

Understanding the Importance and Benefits of Timber Cladding Maintenance


There is an undeniable charm to wood - its natural graining, the warmth it exudes, and how it effortlessly brings together any architectural design. But like any material, the longevity and aesthetic appeal of timber cladding depends on periodic and effective maintenance.


According to a study by the International Journal of Conservation Science, timber is highly valued for its sustainability and low environmental impact. However, due to its organic nature, some woods can deteriorate over time due to exposure to the elements (source: International Journal of Conservation Science, 2019).


Periodic maintenance will:


  1. Maximise the lifespan of your timber cladding

  2. Preserve its natural look and feel

  3. Protect against weather-related deterioration

  4. catch and rectify any damage early


By ensuring proper maintenance, not only will your cladding continue to look attractive, but it will also stay structurally sound for years, saving you considerable time and money in the future.


Navigating Common Problems and their Effective Remedies


Timber cladding, though a fantastic choice for your home, can come with a few challenges.


Here’s how to solve some of the most common issues:


Discolouration: A common issue for most timber owners is discolouration, mainly caused by repeated exposure to sunlight and rain. While it's impossible to completely avoid natural weathering, periodic application of UV-resistant finishes once or twice a year will help keep the discolouration at bay.


Moisture Damage: Moisture that is retained on the timber surface through poor drainage or ventilation can become an issue. Luckily, this is a completely avoidable issue if the cladding has been installed correctly and a good quality timber has been used. Usually this issue only occurs when a low quality cheap softwood has been used without any surface protection like a water repellent solution.


Cracking and Splitting: All natural woods have a tendency to shrink and expand due to temperature and humidity fluctuations. This can lead to grain checking. However, using stable woods like ThermoWoods can minimise these effects, especially if you apply a wax end grain sealer to all cut board ends prior to installation. Also, applying suitable exterior oils can maintain the wood’s flexibility, reducing the risk of grain checking. (This is when the grain on the timber’s surface opens up to expel any excess moisture). ThermoWood hardwoods and softwoods only have about 6% moisture content so this is less likely to occur than in natural softwoods.


Decay: With today's technology, this should not occur if the correct timber is used for external applications.


Every timber-related problem has a solution. All that matters is to diagnose it accurately and to react promptly. Remember that the key to effective timber cladding maintenance is regular care and early prevention.


Always make sure that stainless steel fixings have been used, as these will not rust or react to the timber you choose.


Essential Tips to Keep Your Timber Cladding Looking Fresh and Lively


The key to keeping your timber cladding looking its best is adopting a proactive approach towards maintenance.


Here are a few tips that will help you maintain your timber cladding in top-notch condition:


Regular Cleaning: Keeping your timber cladding clean can significantly lengthen its lifespan. A soft brush and mild soapy water are usually enough for this housekeeping task. Remember to rinse afterwards to prevent soap accumulation.


Inspection: Carry out regular inspections for any signs of damage or surface mould growth from nearby trees that shed pollen etc. Soapy water and a soft brush and hose off will solve this and will also apply to composite cladding as well.

Being vigilant can save you from having to tackle larger issues down the line.


Re-applying Protective Finishes: The protective coating diminishes over time. Hence, it's advisable to re-apply timber finishes every 2-5 years, depending on the type of finish and exposure to weather conditions. As mentioned before some elevations may not require any work.


Ventilation: Ensuring a good flow of air and reducing the building’s moisture content can protect your cladding from damage. Moreover, ventilated cladding can improve thermal insulation by approximately 15% and ThermoWoods can increase this percentage. (source: National Building Specification, UK), thus saving energy costs.


Preventative Measures: Protecting Your Timber Cladding


Preventing damage is much more cost-effective than repairing damage.


Here are some preventative measures to safeguard your timber cladding:


Selection of Timber: Using naturally durable and very stable wood is a must in the variable UK climate.


Timber Treatments/Finishes: This can be applied at the point of purchase by your supplier, thus eliminating as much ongoing maintenance as possible.


Design Considerations: Be thoughtful when designing corners and junctions. These sensitive areas need care, as poor design can lead to moisture trapping. Suppliers can provide Corner Trims, Drip Cills and window and door Reveals in matching timber and finish.


Proper Installation: Wrong installation can lead to a plethora of problems. Relying on legitimate professionals with experience installing timber cladding can save you a headache later.


Remember, quality timber cladding is an investment! Currently, the UK timber cladding market is expected to witness a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 2.1% during the analysis period of 2020-2027 (source: Mordor Intelligence LLP), indicating its increased popularity and demand. To reap maximum value from this burgeoning trend, an informed approach to timber cladding maintenance is crucial.


 

To conclude, timber cladding can truly transform your home if you know how to maintain it properly. By following these tips and preventative measures, you can ensure that your timber cladding will stand up to the elements, providing you with a beautiful and durable exterior for years to come.


Maintaining and caring for your timber cladding doesn't need to be a daunting task. With a little patience, knowledge, and the use of quality materials, your cladding will continue to capture the eye and remain resilient.


Remember the four critical steps we’ve explored today for optimal timber cladding maintenance:


Understanding the importance of timber cladding maintenance – it’s not a mere task; it's an investment in your cladding's longevity and beauty.


Addressing common problems early on – be it discolouration, weather damage, or decay, timely action can save you from costly repairs.


Implementing essential maintenance routines – regular cleaning, inspection, and re-application of finishes will maintain your cladding’s aesthetics and structural integrity.


Pre-emptive measures – choosing the right timber species, employing correct design techniques, and if necessary, seeking professional installation can go a long way in saving time and future maintenance costs.


So, let’s gear up, roll up our sleeves, and give our timber cladding the TLC it needs. After all, a well-maintained timber cladding is not just about longevity; it's about creating an ever-lasting impression of beauty and elegance that stands the test of time.


Remember you spend more in time and cost on cleaning the outside of your vehicle each year than you will on your cladding, and your vehicle will still depreciate in value as apposed to your property that will increase in value over its lifetime.


Invest in timber cladding maintenance today, and let your home shine tomorrow.


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