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Cladding Timber Guide

Find the best choice of timbers and cladding styles for your next project right here in our complete guide to all things timber cladding.

House with timber cladding on exterior


What is timber cladding?

Before we kick things off, let’s delve into exactly what timber cladding is. Cladding is additional material that can be layered on the outside of a building wall.

It is commonly used to enhance the thermal insulation of a property, to provide additional weather resistance or simply to improve the general appearance and visual effect of a building’s exterior. Cladding materials commonly include composite, metal and vinyl, but for the purposes of this guide, we’re focusing on timber cladding.

And why? Because timber cladding is one of the most effective ways to brighten up a building and protect it from the elements. There’s a wide range of timber cladding products available on the market, varying in style and cost, giving great choice and flexibility when it comes to finding something that works with exterior design ambitions. We’re here to provide a full insight into what’s available to you, so you complete your next cladding project knowing that you’ve got the best materials for the job!

Where can cladding timber be used?

Timber cladding has been used across a wide range of domestic and commercial properties for years. In the domestic sense, timber cladding is typically used on the exterior of houses, either around the entire property or to create eye-catching feature walls.

Cladding can also be installed on garages and outbuildings, offering a fantastic way to brighten the look of older and tired-looking buildings. Equally, many housing developers are now installing cladding on new builds, to provide a fresh, modern look.

Choosing the best timber cladding for your project

When it comes to installing exterior cladding around your property, the first step is choosing a material that fits the bill. There are plenty of options to choose from, with different finishes, profiles and timber materials available.

Whether you’re looking to achieve an ultra-modern, new era look or going for something a little more quintessential and rustically charming, find everything you’ll need within this cladding timber guide.

Type of timber cladding

vertical timber cladding profile

Cladding profiles

The term ‘cladding profile’ is used to describe the way in which each timber cladding panel fits together. Of course, each profile offers its own unique look and varies in what benefits it offers as a cladding choice. It can be a little confusing when it comes to deciphering the difference between cladding profiles. Here are a few of the main cladding profiles that you’ll find here at Equestrian Fencing.


Tongue and groove cladding

tongue and groove cladding profile

A smooth profile that presents a flat surface, with no overlaps, tongue and groove is also often referred to as ‘V-groove’, ‘V-jointed’ or abbreviated to ‘TG&V.

It’s commonly seen on the outside of houses, where homeowners and builders are trying to achieve a contemporary look. It can be fitted either vertically or horizontally for a striking, attractive finish.

Each cladding board has a machined, interlocking edge that slots into one another similarly to floorboards, which is what gives this cladding profile its flat, clean surface finish. There is very little shadow line between each cladding board and it offers superb weather protection and durability.


Shiplap cladding

shiplap cladding profile

Shiplap is a particularly popular cladding profile. It’s the sort of style you’ll often see on the outside of sheds and outdoor dog kennels and that’s because its interlinking structure offers superior water protection.

Whilst it has a particularly smooth finish, shiplap cladding has a subtle lip that is partially covered with an overlapping edge. This lip plays a key role in its water-tight facade. Because of this, it makes sense that this style of overlap was used as an early approach to shipbuilding, hence the name.


Shadowgap cladding

shadowgap cladding profile

Shadowgap cladding is fairly similar to shiplap in the way that it is fitted together and its lip feature. However, it’s the subtle difference in the way that the lip is machined that gives it a slightly different appearance.

Rather than a smooth, curved lip found on shiplap cladding, the shadowgap has a 1cm square lip, which gives it a stylish, shadowed profile. It’s a popular choice amongst architects and landscapers alike.


Feather edge cladding

featheredge cladding on a barn

Featheredge cladding is one of the most traditional cladding profile choices for homes, garages and outbuildings such as barns and sheds. It offers a natural finish and is ideal for complimenting buildings within the countryside or within a woodland area. Unlike waney edge, the boards have a straight, uniformed finish.

It is designed to be laid horizontally, with each individual board being cut in a diagonal to provide a tapered board. When installed, the boards are overlapped, usually around 25% of the overall board width.


Waney edge cladding

waney edge cladding profile

Waney edge is very similar to feather edge cladding in the way that it is installed and the properties that it offers. However, unlike feather edge, it has a waney edge with bark, rather than a sawn edge.

It offers a far more rustic appearance and is particularly favoured amongst those looking to give buildings a more natural look as well as barn conversions and renovations on protected and listed buildings. It’s a timeless cladding profile that can be painted, stained or left to weather with the elements.


Loglap cladding

Loglap cladding profile

Loglap is a cladding profile that has been specifically machined to mimic the look of log chalets and huts. It is certainly a superb option if you’re looking to add something a little different to your outside space. Each loglap cladding board interlocks with one another, providing a water-tight, durable finish.

Different cladding timbers

So, which timber cladding is best? Well, this all depends on the look you’re going for, your budget and your commitment to maintenance. The most popular timber species are Western Red Cedar, Siberian larch and European Oak, all of which offer their own unique look and finish.


Douglas Fir

Douglas fir cladding

Overview: A strong and durable softwood
Style and look: Warm, natural rustic appearance that can be painted or left to weather to a silver-grey
Ideal for: Barns, houses and garage
Price range: £
Popular profiles: Feather Edge


European Oak

European oak

Overview: Strong and durable European timber
Style and look: Light in colour, offering a natural, sandy coloured wood finish
Ideal for: Barns, houses and garage
Price range: ££
Popular profiles: Feather Edge and Tongue and Groove


Sibearn Larch

Siberian Larch cladding on a house

Overview: A slow grown timber that offers superior strength and durability
Style and look: A striking, warm natural wood colour that if left untreated will weather to a silver-grey
Ideal for: Modern-looking homes, offices and buildings
Price range: ££
Popular profiles: Tongue and groove and Shadowgap


Softwood cladding

softwood cladding

Overview: Treated softwood timber cladding natural in appearance
Style and look: A smooth, warm natural wood colour that if left untreated or unpainted will weather to a silver-grey
Ideal for: A range of uses including cladding of homes, garages and summer houses
Price range: £
Popular profiles: Treated feather edge, loglap, shadowgap, shiplap, tongue and groove and waney edge


Western Red Cedar

Western Red Cedar cladding close up

Overview: A dense, long-lasting, naturally durable, low maintenance timber that can be fitted horizontally or vertically
Style and look: Red, orange and salmon tones that offer an ultra-modern, bright look
Ideal for: Cladding homes, outbuilding and commercial buildings
Price range: ££- £££
Popular profiles: Tongue and groove, PAR and shadowgap


Frequently asked timber cladding questions

Like all timber products, weather, UV light and other outdoor elements can affect the long-term wear and tear of cladding. Hardwood cladding generally requires less maintenance than softwood cladding boards, however, to keep your timber cladding in good condition and to retail the original colour, you’ll need to take care of it.

Without staining or painting, the timber will naturally weather, changing its appearance. Some timbers, in particular softwoods, will change to a silver-grey over time. Stains, oils and of course paints will help to slow this process. Equally, if it’s a silver-grey colour that you’re looking for, which in itself can be very visually appealing, you’ll need to wait for this gradual colour change.

It’s not a bad idea to brush and wash your cladding from time to time. This will help to remove any cobwebs and dust as well as debris and moss, which in the long run could cause decay and damage.

The extent of waterproofing that your cladding provides will depend entirely on its profile. Interlocking cladding profiles have far superior waterproofing properties than those that are not fixed together on both edges of the cladding board’s profile. You can also install a waterproof membrane to reduce any issues associated with moisture build-up.

Typically, you do not need to apply for planning permission if you wish to install timber cladding on the outside of your home, however, it is always advised that you check with your local authority before beginning any works.

There are a few circumstances, however, where you would be required to obtain persimmon to install cladding on your home. For example, listed properties need specialist approved permissions before cladding can be installed. As do properties within conservation areas, national parks and of course, if you do not own the property, you should always seek permission from your landlord before installing cladding on a property and its outbuildings.

You may also require building regulations approval if you’re intending to replace cladding on your home or if more than 25% of the external property surface is going to be cladded or re-cladded. Again, this is something you should check with your local authority

The lifetime of timber cladding will depend on a number of factors including the tree species from which the cladding boards originated, its exposure to sunlight, wind and weathering as well the maintenance input. Of course, as with anything, the more you maintain it and look after it, the longer it will be expected to last. Typically, well-maintained timber cladding would be expected to last anywhere between 25 and 65 years.

Installing eaves overhangs that help protect the surface from moisture and ensuring good ventilation and a drained cavity wall behind the cladding are two simple ways to protect your timber cladding. You should also use stainless steel fixings and seal the end grains of exposed timber to reduce timber rotting.

The cost of your next cladding project will depend on a number of factors: the amount of cladding you require, the type of timber and cladding profile you choose and whether you choose to install the cladding yourself or bring in the professionals.

Thankfully, here at Equestrian Fencing, we offer a wide range of cladding options so there’s something for every budget.

Check out our timber cladding products here.

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