The Lifecycle of Timber Cladding

When choosing materials for a building project, durability is always going to be a factor. Whether it’s a deck in your back garden or cladding on a public building, you will want the materials you choose to stand the test of time. Timber is a fantastic choice when it comes to durability, and the lifecycle of timber is fairly long. If installed and maintained correctly, it can last for dozens of years! To look more into its lifecycle and which type of timber is right for you, read on.

The Natural Durability of Timber

Timber is a pretty good choice when it comes to natural durability. However, the lifecycle of your wooden surface will vary depending on the type and species you choose. Softwood timber, which is sourced from coniferous trees such as Spruce and Pine, is generally less durable. Hardwood timber from broad-leaved trees, such as ash and oak, is typically more resistant to wear and tear, making it a better choice for projects that will see higher traffic or need tougher wood, like a public pier. 

There is also the option of impregnated softwood timber, which is a brilliant choice if you would like the durability of hardwood timber but are on a budget. Impregnated softwoods are treated so that their resistance to fungi, insects and fire is increased, helping to extend the life of your wood. 

Installation is Key to Durability

Apart from which timber you choose, one of the biggest factors to extend durability is correct installation. Beautiful and long-lasting timber has a few requirements when you fit it to allow for the natural properties of wood. For example, wood naturally “breathes”, meaning that it shrinks and swells depending on the relative humidity. So you may need to leave a gap when you install your boards (for decking, for example, around 0.25-0.125 inch or 6-3mm is recommended). You also need to consider drainage, with many flat boards requiring a gentle slope to help water runoff. 

Natural Weathering or Protection?

If you don’t treat your timber, it will undergo natural weathering. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as it is installed properly, and you will benefit from a beautiful natural grey colour which only comes with time. However if you stain or paint your wood, you can extend its lifecycle and reduce the maintenance needed in its final service years. Staining can prevent issues such as bugs and water, and reduce the amount your wood moves, making it more resistant to fungal attacks.

Different Types of Timber Age Differently

Different species have different natural durability classes. For example, Cumaru is very durable with a rating of 1, Balau is durable with a rating of 2 and Garapa is moderately durable with a rating of 3. Having an understanding of the characteristics of different species is a must to make the right choice for your project.

Choose the Right Timber For Your Project

When selecting your timber, you need to think not just of how the wood looks now, but also how it will wear in the future. If all of this sounds a little complicated, don’t worry! At EcoChoice we are timber experts and will be more than happy to match you with the right species depending on your needs. Simply get in touch with us today and let us make this process simple. 

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