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Timber cladding is becoming an increasingly popular option for buildings, bringing a sustainable finish to new properties and renovations. But it is not the only method for building tough external walls. Brick and rendered finishes are common choices too, and all three bring slightly different benefits to finished constructions.

Whether you are undertaking a home renovation or creating an entire fleet of new builds, weigh up your options with our guide to timber, brick and rendered finishes.

The Differences Between Timber, Brick, and Rendered Finishes

Timber cladding involves using sustainable timber boards to cover exterior walls. The boards are placed together to form a tight, protective layer, keeping the structure beneath safe from external threats. Timber cladding is not a traditional option for British buildings in the same way it is in Scandinavia, for example, but it is becoming a staple in modern architecture.

Brick walls are a more traditional option for British housing, but timber is catching up. Older brick buildings are frequently being upgraded with timber cladding, bringing a contemporary look to outdated properties.

Rendered finishes are fairly common in the UK among newer homes (the technique started to gain popularity in the 20th century). They are usually created from cement and leave a smooth, even surface, though they can also be textured or patterned according to the required aesthetic.

Pros and Cons of Different Options

When deciding which walls are right for your building, it is good to start by weighing up the pros and cons. We have taken a quick look at each to make your choice easier.

Timber Cladding

Timber cladding is coveted for its aesthetic charm. Depending on how it is designed, it can bring a contemporary vibe to modern buildings or a natural, rustic look for countryside homes. It is also super versatile, with different timber species bringing different looks, and the option for paints and stains making customisation easy.

It is also good to note that timber cladding brings sustainability points to construction projects. As a renewable, carbon-sequestering material, it is hard to beat from an environmental point of view!

Timber does require some maintenance to stay looking its best. A durable timber species will be pretty tough against external threats, but can need cleaning and staining periodically to maintain that new timber look. You might also need fire-resistant treatments and, if you want to maintain the original colour, a UV treatment or staining.

Brick Walls

Brick walls are not quite as aesthetically versatile as timber cladding. In British design, they are a standard choice for walls which will not stand out from the crowd. But they are strong and sturdy, and they require almost no maintenance. With bricks, you do not have to worry about rot or insect infestation, and they offer excellent fire safety.

However, you are less able to take a DIY approach to building brick walls, and the work involved is very labour intensive. To ensure structural integrity and a uniform wall, you will need an expert bricklayer on hand.


Rendering is applied to external walls, and is pretty versatile in terms of design. It is also great for hiding imperfections in the underlying structure, creating a completely uniform, flawless front which also creates a protective barrier for the building beneath.

It can be tricky, though, to repair rendering when it starts to chip or crack. The surface can also become stained or discoloured, requiring cleaning or recoating to keep it looking fresh.

Which Is Right For Your Project?

In the short term, which wall finish you choose largely depends on aesthetic preference. However, bricks do have the disadvantage of being hard to work with, and rendering will need a professional for a smooth finish. Timber cladding is easier to get to grips with for small-scale projects, such as a small home or even a garden building.

In the long term, all options will require maintenance. Bricks are usually the easiest to upkeep over time, but timber cladding offers the versatility of staining and painting to keep it looking beautiful for decades to come. Just take a look at Scandinavian homes to see how well it wears!

Find Sustainable Timber Cladding at EcoChoice

If you are ready to choose timber cladding for your building project, we can help. At EcoChoice, we supply responsibly sourced timber to clients across the UK, bringing eco-friendly architecture to life. To learn more about our timber cladding species, ask a question or start your order, get in touch with our team today.

Modern timber clad house

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