The natural beauty of wood makes it an attractive cladding choice for a wide range of projects – from full self build schemes through to garages and other outbuildings.
Lightweight and easy to install, it offers a quick route to finishing your scheme externally. Plus there’s a huge range of species, colours and profiles to choose from to ensure you get a bespoke look that suits your tastes and your property’s setting.
Softwood products are the reference point, with untreated versions starting from as little as £8 per m2. But these will need finishing on site – so whilst they’re cheap up front, you’ll need to do the painting or staining yourself to make real savings.
“Pre-painted boards pay dividends in terms of the longevity of the factory-quality finish, which will resist UV degradation for longer,” says Adam Pulfer from Hoppings. “We hold a small stock of untreated products just in case people want to select a bespoke colour, whether through preference or due to a planning condition.”
Naturally-durable species, such as oak, larch and cedar, can be left untreated to weather to a silver-grey finish, reducing the need for upkeep – or opt for a preservative if you wish to retain the original hue. Some suppliers offer the likes of elm, sweet chestnut and Iroko. These give a highly individual finish, but carry a pricetag to match.
The timber grade will impact on the price, too. Knotty boards tend to be cheaper, but some projects require a clear, unblemished finish (particularly contemporary schemes).
You need to pick the right profile, too – although this has a limited effect on prices. Options include shiplap, halflap, tongue-and-groove, splayed and waney-edge.
Choosing a product that blends into its setting – whether for a new build, renovation or extension – can be helpful if you need planning consent. “In East Anglia, for instance, there are a lot of agricultural barns finished with black featheredge boards,” says Adam.
When it comes to calculating your order, the key measurement is how many square metres (m2) of walling you’ll be covering. As a rule, you should add 5%-10% on top of this figure
to account for cutting and wastage. Lead times can vary from a few days for standard products from specialist suppliers and DIY sheds, through to several weeks for bespoke boards.
Many suppliers list their prices per linear metre rather than per m2, so it’s important to work out the coverage to ensure you’re comparing like-with-like and achieving good value for money.
When your cladding arrives on site, be sure to store it properly. Use bearers to raise the pack off the ground, cover the stack and leave the sides open to allow air to circulate.
You should ideally fit the boards as soon as possible after delivery, so be sure to get your project schedule right.
“When you check out our products online, there’s a table indicating what the coverage is,” says Adam. “The differences are down to the size of the boards and how they interconnect. For instance, depending on its overlap a 175mm featheredge version might cover anything from 135mm-155mm.”
So if you wanted to cover 5m2 of walling with 120mm Q-Clad in a shiplap profile, you’d need to order 45.5m of product and approximately 30 fixings per m2. Switch to the 174mm rebated featheredge version, and you’ll need 32.5m with around 22 fixings per m2.
Timber cladding is mechanically fixed to battens for support and ventilation (typically at 600mm centres), but the exact setup will be project-specific.
Some boards come pre-drilled for easy installation, while others can simply be nailed or screwed through. Stainless or galvanised steel fixings are generally recommended as these won’t rust or leech stains onto the boards.
As a guide, you can expect to pay from around £35-£40 per m2 on the labour element of large projects, such as a fully-clad self build. This could rise to £50+ per m2 for smaller jobs or where the work involves complex detailing.
In terms of pre-finished boards, prices start from around £14 per m2 for Hoppings’ Q-Shades range of colour-washed products (supply-only) or from £16.75 per m2 for its Q-Clad painted range (both featheredge profile).
Naturally durable materials such as cedar are likely to come in at £40 per m2 or more, but they offer long lifespans and if you leave them untreated, you won’t incur maintenance costs further down the line.