When you set out to start a project, it can be quite overwhelming, you may feel lost in the sea of options and tasks that you have to complete to get it right! Here at QTD Ltd, we’re always striving to make your life easier, so have devised a To-Do List for you to follow to ensure that you achieve the full potential of your project.
1. Do your research
It is really important to understand what type of cladding you are looking for and the benefits and maintenance that comes with your choice. For example, our ThermoWood cladding materials offer 30+ years of durability, low maintenance and resistance to rot, decay and fungal growth. On the other hand, our cheaper softwood cladding options offer less durability and a higher level of maintenance.
It is important to understand what species you want and what would look best with the other elements of your project. With this, it would be advisable to go for a thermally-treated material so that maintenance and durability are not a worry for you.
2. Order samples
Now that you’ve got a feel for what type of material you are looking for after browsing our range. Order some of your favourites as samples. To make that big decision a little bit easier. Delivered in bespoke, hand packaged boxes or small golden bags (depending on the number of samples you choose). You will be able to get a feel for what to expect when you finally decide on the right composition for you. Get an idea of the grain structure and light-weight feel of our ThermoWoods in your own hands, test how this may look against other materials being incorporated into your project, and seek expert advice from our sales team to get the ball rolling!
3. Decide on your material
After testing out our bespoke samples, you should be well on your way to picking your final choice by now! It is okay if you want to order more samples, to be confident with your choice. However, our customers usually experience ‘love at first sight’ when they receive their selected samples in the post. We hope you do too! This would be a great time to decide on what you like so that you can obtain an accurate quote for your project.
4. Measure up
Before you go about obtaining quotes and potential planning permission, it is so important to measure the area that you want to cover with cladding or decking (make sure to take into consideration your windows and doors). We suggest allowing for an extra 10% on your measurements for any wastage/extras you may need down the line.
5. Get a quote
After deciding on your material and measuring up, you’re ready to obtain your quotes from us! We can provide a range of quotes that compare the prices of different materials (if you are stuck between a few) so you can get a real feel of what to expect, and to ensure that this ties in with your budget. If your quote comes out a little too expensive, do not panic! Our sales team are always able to offer alternatives to achieve competitive prices. Whether this is selecting finger-jointed boards, opting for random lengths or choosing a different yet similar (in appearance) timber species, we will try our utmost to form a quote that fits both your desires and your budget.
6. Get planning permission
As a general rule of thumb, if you live in a conservation area, national park, or an area of outstanding natural beauty, then you will need to apply for planning permission before cladding the outside of your property, and in some cases, before incorporating decking to your property. Outside of these areas, you will also usually need to apply for planning permission, if the materials you are planning to use are not of a similar appearance to the materials used on the initial construction of the property.
It is really important to check with your local council regarding what permissions you will need to obtain. As there is nothing worse than getting set back before you’ve even started. We suggest obtaining this before ordering your materials to be sure that your building work is legal and approved. You certainly don’t want the law banging on your door in your newly clad property because you didn’t seek the right approvals and permissions!
It is also important to consider Building Regulations Approval. This is different from planning permission, and in most cases, you may need both, depending on the extent of work that you plan to carry out. These regulations cover the building and extension of properties. It is vital to check how your work can and will comply with the 2010 Building Regulations legislation as you could face prosecution and fines if it turns out that your project does not. Again, it is important to talk to your local council about this approval, to ensure that you receive adequate and sound legal advice.
This is a guide, and not sound legal advice. It is always advised to contact your local council to understand which permissions and approvals you may need.
7. Devise a schedule
With different species of timber, board widths and lengths and profiles, comes different lead times. This could be down to a variety of factors such as available stock in our warehouse, available stock in our suppliers’ warehouse, raw material shortages and delays at borders (currently due to Brexit, Covid-19). It is important to grasp an idea of your lead time before you place your order so that you can adequately plan for when building work will commence. Of course, in an ever-evolving world and industry, circumstances are sometimes subject to change. It is vital to understand these circumstances and plan for any changes. We will, of course, keep you updated if your lead time is subject to change!
8. Decide on your profile
Once you are ready to place your order, it is vital to decide on the profile you want for your boards. Orders cannot be factored without this, due to the cut of the board, so please do not forget to decide on your profile when you order to avoid any delays (we, of course, will remind you!).
Your profile won't just influence how your cladding or decking looks. It will also impact the ease of installation, as some profiles are easier to install than others. For example, tongue and groove cladding is easy to install, possesses a professional appearance and creates very strong structures. The interlocking joints provide an effective shield from harsh weather conditions and are a good insulator (if you are unsure on the profile you want, we can send you your samples factored in different profile options, so you can see how the boards will appear once fitted).
9. Ensure you have the extras covered
Of course, you may have covered these with your builder, architect or contractor, but it is really important to ensure that you have your extras covered. This includes corner trims, window and door trims, Fascias and edging, battens, screws, oils and breathable membranes. You may not necessarily need all of these extras, but be sure to check this with your designs to make sure that you do not need to panic-buy when your cladding or decking is being installed. The aim of the game is to make sure your project runs as seamlessly as possible!
10. Order your material
Once you have fulfilled all of the above, you will be ready to place an order! The best way to do this is to contact our Sales team and give the fine details a once over, adding any extras you may have thought of, or been advised to purchase.
You also must consider whether you will be collecting your materials (free of charge) from our warehouse, or whether you would like your material delivered to you. If you would like your material delivered, please specify this and we will ensure that this is reflected on your quote. If you require a forklift to offload, please also mention this, to ensure that offloading is as seamless as possible!
Once your final quote is drawn up, you can pay over the phone or via BACS transfer. You will receive an email with your order confirmation and any next steps you need to take to prepare yourself to receive the materials.
11. Get your delivery date
As aforementioned, it is important to stay up to date with your lead time to ensure that your building work can go ahead as planned, and is flexible to changes. Our sales team will do their utmost to update you, however, if you are worried, feel free to chase! We are here to help after all!
12. Ensure you have people on-site to offload your delivery
When your delivery date comes around, you will be notified with a time and date of when to expect to receive your order. If you have not previously specified any additional extras such as forklifts to offload your material, please ensure that you have an adequate amount of people to offload your material.
13. Acclimatise your timber
Once you have received your timber, it is really important to acclimatise the material before fitting it. This is because natural materials will respond to the environment, and regardless of the species and profile, will be susceptible to swelling and shrinking as moisture is absorbed and lost. As the timber acclimatises, it will reach an equilibrium moisture content with the surrounding environment, which means it is then suitable for installation. We suggest leaving your timber to acclimatise for 24 hours before installing to ensure that it will not later warp and swell once it is installed, which will cause you problems later on down the line.
14. Fit your material
Once your timber has acclimatised, and you have your construction team onsite, you’re ready to fit your timber! Ensure that you are well equipped with the right screws and fixings to adequately fit the material according to your chosen profile.
15. Apply oils if necessary
If you have chosen to not let your timber weather naturally, you may have selected to purchase some of our Messmers Oil, which will stop your timber from ageing and changing colour over time. Once your cladding or decking has been installed, apply your first coat of oil to ensure that the material is immediately protected from weathering.
16. Take pictures and leave a review
Everyone loves to show off once in a while, and we at QTD Ltd love seeing our clients project transformations, so please do take some images of the finished result and send them over! If you’re satisfied with your product (which we can almost always guarantee that you will be) please leave us a review! It will be greatly appreciated!
The work is finally complete! So, sit back, relax and take it all in, and be proud of yourself for what you have achieved! I know that we definitely will be!