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When looking for sustainable cladding options, you have two heavyweight contenders: aluminium and timber. Some projects may use plastic, but for the sake of an eco-conscious battle, we have instantly taken plastic out of the running. When looking at aluminium and timber, though, you have two fairly sustainable options which both work to protect a building. Which, then, should you choose?

To make the decision easier, we have weighed up the pros and cons of each in this no-nonsense guide.

Timber Cladding Benefits

Timber is the most popular choice for both interior and exterior cladding, providing a natural, versatile option for your project. Some of the main benefits of sustainable timber cladding include:

  • A natural aesthetic – Even with a timber-look aluminium, you cannot beat the natural beauty of real wood. For high-quality aesthetics and biophilic design perks, it is the best choice for every cladding project.
  • Incredibly durable – Timber (when maintained) can last for thousands of years. With the right TLC, you will not need to replace timber in your lifetime and it can stay looking fresh year after year with a little maintenance.
  • Design versatility – Easily cut, profiled and moulded, you can make your timber boards look the way you want. From sizing to carving details, create a bespoke style easily for your dream cladding look.
  • Renewable and biodegradable – Timber wins major sustainability points thanks to being a natural, raw resource which will never run out, and being biodegradable at the end of its life. It is also carbon sequestering, absorbing CO₂ from the atmosphere earning plenty of green points.

Aluminium Cladding Benefits

Aluminium is a smart alternative to timber if wood does not meet your needs. The benefits of aluminium cladding include being:

  • Easy to maintain – As a corrosion-resistant metal, aluminium needs very little maintenance to stay looking its best.
  • Fire resistant – It boasts great fire resistance, making it a smart choice when safety concerns are an issue, such as in areas prone to wildfires or buildings with strict fire safety measures in place.
  • Uniform in appearance – Unlike timber boards (which vary in colour and knots from board to board), aluminium boards can be made with a uniform appearance for a more polished, timber-like look.

Timber Cladding Disadvantages

Though timber comes out ahead in terms of benefits, that does not mean it is perfect. There are some factors to be aware of before making your choice, including:

  • Maintenance – Timber requires more maintenance than aluminium, with some species needing coatings to prevent rot. Other species with high durability might not need these coatings, but could benefit from finishes (e.g. oils and stains) to keep them looking their best.
  • Fire risk – Unlike aluminium, timber can pose a potential fire risk. However, it is not quite as much of a danger as some people think, and there are plenty of treatment options out there to bring it up to fire regulation standards.

Aluminium Cladding Disadvantages

When looking at the disadvantages, how does aluminium compare? Aside from lacking the natural beauty of real timber, you should be aware that aluminium:

  • Scratches and dents – Aluminium is known to wear when used as cladding, with both scratching and denting common problems which you do not see as frequently with timber cladding.
  • Can cost more – For a fake timer option, aluminium can be pretty costly. It often comes with a higher price tag than other faux timbers, and can even be more expensive than some real timber species.

Timber Cladding Comes Out Ahead

Though aluminium cladding can be great in situations where you cannot use timber, if you can, then it is always best to opt for the real thing. You cannot beat the look of a beautiful timber species, and with so many sustainable perks to this natural material, it will keep your construction in line with the growing eco-conscious building movement.

For sustainable timber, be sure to check out our wide range of cladding products at EcoChoice. If you have any questions or would like to start an order, get in touch with our team and we will be happy to help.

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