Some of the most important benefits of cladding are easy maintenance and repair. Depending on the material and climate you live in, you might even finish the task with pressure washing. However, real timber can be a bit more sensitive than other materials such as composite cladding, even though it’s also easy to maintain. We want to help homeowners learn how to take better care of their home, so here is everything you need to know about maintaining timber cladding:
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Before you start thinking about maintenance, it is crucial to make sure that the cladding is properly installed in the first place. Without high-quality installation, all the maintenance in the world won’t be of much use. For example, if you make the wrong moves while fixing the cladding, you might end up with an inconsistent, stained look. To avoid such troubles, it’s best to only work with certified and experienced contractors.
Another important aspect of timber cladding maintenance is learning about the materials. Each type of wood has unique traits and different pros and cons. For example, untreated oak develops a silvery patina while cedar can turn black in polluted areas. The more you know about the type of timber cladding you plan to use, the more you will be able to protect it from wear and tear.
Depending on the type of timber cladding, maintenance should be done once every 2 to 5 years. This includes washing, refinishing, and repainting. Every home is different so ask the manufacturers and contractors for the best time to clean and repair your timber cladding. If you do everything right, some types of timber will last over 50 years (western red cedar, larch).
When you wash the timber cladding, it’s best to start with stain removal. Use cleaners, water, and a bristle brush to remove stains from mold or sun exposure. You can also do this with pressure washing. This is a quick and easy way to freshen up your cladding. It will not damage the material and is more practical for cleaning hard-to-reach spots.
Leave the wood to dry for 3 days before you start finishing. Protective coatings are the key to prolonging the lifespan of your timber cladding. Wood is sensitive to weather so you will need to apply UV- and water-resistant coatings. Some experts suggest avoiding installation of timber cladding on North oriented walls. Less exposure to dampness prolongs the lifespan of timber. Refinishing should be done before installation and once every 2 to 12+ years, depending on the treatment product, timber type, climate, and wall orientation (South – a lot of sun exposure or North – dampness).
Timber cladding is a perfect option for creating an original and long-lasting look. The maintenance might sound complicated but everything will become easier once you start the routine. Remember that finishing is the key to quality maintenance. With the right treatment, you will be able to maintain a consistent look even if you install timber cladding on a North-facing wall.
However, if you are not a fan of mold stains, silver patina, and re-coating; you can always use composite cladding as an alternative option. This type of cladding is a mixture of wood fibers and plastic and does not need re-coating. It might not last 50 years (25 years is the expected lifespan) but it will save you a ton of time and energy for maintenance.