Choosing the right timber cladding - Thermory

Choosing the right timber cladding

Finding the best solution to clad buildings is important for several reasons – as well as defining the look and feel of your design, it also has a major role to play in the safety and longevity of your building. Choosing exterior wood cladding offers many benefits over alternatives, including sustainability, durability, and visual appeal.

With a vast range of cladding options to choose from, this decision can be difficult to make without the right knowledge. That’s why we’ve created this timber cladding guide.

We have identified the key factors to consider when selecting exterior timber cladding materials, walking you through some of the most popular timber species that you can choose between and the features and benefits they offer.

Why use timber cladding at all?

Before we get into the details of what you should consider when choosing wooden cladding, you might be wondering whether timber is the best option for your cladding projects in the first place.

There are a number of considerations to keep in mind when selecting a cladding material, with multiple options that could be right for you depending on your priorities in terms of looks, quality and functionality, including stone, brick, concrete, tiles, PVCu, glass, and metals such as steel and aluminum.

We firmly believe that timber cladding is the way to go though, and here’s why:

It’s natural

Being renewable, recyclable and biodegradable, timber clad buildings offer numerous long-term sustainability benefits over the alternatives. Despite being a natural material, timber offers quite good quality, weather resistance and thermal insulation.

Wood production also boasts lower carbon emissions than options like brick and steel, and this natural material can also help enhance the wellbeing of inhabitants when it is used in abuilding by reducing stress and enhancing concentration.

As sustainability considerations are more important for building and construction sector, timber is increasingly popular choice.

Thermory Benchmark thermo-pine cladding

Case study

Powerhouse Telemark offers a sustainable model for the future of workspaces. Snøhetta architects built the it to be as energy-efficient as possible, and much of it, including its windows, are covered with Thermory pine boards.

Powerhouse Telemark sets a new standard for the construction of environmentally sustainable buildings by reducing its yearly net energy consumption by 70% compared to similar new-construction offices, and by producing more energy than it will consume over its entire lifespan.

Timber cladding has a timeless style

There is a certain beauty to wood. Simply put, timber-clad buildings look great – and they will never go out of fashion. It is a traditional, high quality cladding option that can be used in very modern ways. Timber cladding works equally well for residential and commercial projects.

There are many creative ways to use timber for your cladding, including using different species, shades or colors to create an accent, laying the panels in an attractive pattern or choosing a distinctive style such as charred timber.

Architects from Contekton Arkitekter Fyrstad AB have mixed Thermory’s Benchmark thermo-ash cladding boards with Shingles for building a schoolhouse in Sweden.

It’s safe, durable and easy to use

Timber is has been used for construction for centuries and the quality stands the test of time. As a material that is natural, familiar and lightweight yet strong, timber cladding is easy to install, repair and replace, and presents no unwanted surprises.

Thermally modified cladding is also highly durable, making it a serious alternative to materials that are traditionally considered to be longer-lasting. As the nutrients in wood are modified during thermal modification, there is less risk of insect attack and no chemical treatments are needed.

It’s adaptable

Timber provides almost limitless customization options, with a vast range of timber species, finishes, colors and profiles on offer.

You can opt for Benchmark by Thermory thermo-spruce for more rustic cladding boards, or choose thermally modified ash for more refined look.

It’s easy to enhance the look of your cladding boards by applying paint or other protective coatings, and the range of looks you can achieve is virtually endless, with options for vertical or horizontal boards, tiled finishes, or install them in any pattern you can think of.

Another advantage is that timber cladding is flexible in its usage, making it equally suitable for both private homes and commercial buildings.

Timber cladding is readily available and affordable

Compared to other options, timber cladding is often cheaper to buy and easier to get hold of, which is a big part of its popularity. With simple fixing methods, it is also easy to install. This makes timber a suitable option also for self-builders.

Choosing a wood type for your cladding

There are many different species to choose between for your cladding, each with its own features to suit your individual needs and preferences. These species offer different options when it comes to color, hardness, strength and resilience.

Types of wood for cladding

Ash

Ash is a light-colored, versatile hardwood that offers exceptional durability and rot resistance, impressive sustainability credentials and attractive grain that will visually enhance any surface.

Thermally modified ash has a beautiful, deep color, making it a great alternative to tropical hardwood.

Pine

There are a number of pine species available for your cladding projects, including Scots pine with its distinctive knots and the relatively knot-free radiata pine. Compared to other similar softwoods, pine offers some of the best rot resistance and durability and as a fast-growing wood, there is usually plenty of supply at affordable prices.

Spruce

Spruce is ideal as a softwood option that offers strong rot resistance and longevity while also boasting a golden-brown tone and a rustic knotted look. Thermory’s Nordic spruce comes with the Nordic Swan Ecolabel, which certifies that it is chemical-free, durable and sourced from responsibly managed forests.

Cedar

There are several types of cedar available. This attractive softwood features a relatively straight grain and is ideal for outdoor use as it is resistant to rot and moisture.

Oak

A popular species across Europe due to its toughness and visual appeal, oak is often used to make furniture. Because it is resistant to moisture, it is also good in outdoor environments, making it a handy option for timber cladding.

Mahogany

Mahogany is a classy wood that is relatively hard with a deep reddish-brown color and a straight grain. It is less popular these days as it is not as sustainable as some other options, but it is ideal for creating an impressive, stately look for your timber cladding.

Birch

Birch is a hardwood that is commonly found in northern Europe. As a fast-growing tree with a hardy timber that resists the elements well, it’s a great choice for outdoor timber cladding boards. Birch also has a unique pale appearance, although the different varieties offer some color variation, with white, yellow and reddish tints to choose between.

Should you opt for thermally modified wood cladding for your project?

Thermal modification is a chemical-free process that enhances the appearance and durability of the timber board and makes it more resistant to rot and insect attack by treating it with heat and steam.

For instance, Thermory’s thermally modified ash offers comparable durability to tropical hardwoods like teak that are often chosen for this feature, but with better dimensional stability due to a reduction in water absorption, a lighter weight, more uniform color and, because many tropical woods are harvested at the expense of endangered rainforest habitats, a production process that is significantly more sustainable.

It’s also worth noting that using thermally modified wood for cladding negates many of the drawbacks often associated with timber cladding, such as being prone to rotting or twisting caused by moisture damage and being vulnerable to infestation from parasites such as mold or bacteria, meaning it doesn’t have to be replaced or maintained anywhere near as often.

In addition, because no chemicals are used in the thermal modification process the timber doesn’t need to be disposed of as hazardous waste when it does eventually come to the end of its lifecycle – instead, the natural material can be repurposed, recycled or composted to give it a new lease of life.

Aging and maintenance of exterior timber cladding boards

Thermory Benchmark thermo-pine cladding aged

As a natural material, timber ages gradually over time whether it has been thermally modified or not. This means that it requires regular maintenance to retain its optimum performance for as long as possible.

Like all timber, the colour of thermowood will change over time, fading to an attractive gray. This process is caused by exposure to rain, wind, and UV light from the sun, the colour of timber cladding may fade unevenly depending on where it is placed.

Some see it as part of the beauty of natural material, however, if preferred, this process can be slowed down by regular treatments such as painting or oiling the surface of the timber– and while standard timber products must be treated in this way every few years, thermal modification makes this interval significantly longer.

If you’re planning a cladding project in the near future, material selection is a really important aspect of finding the right solution, and as you can see there are many factors to consider. By presenting the key benefits of using thermally modified wood for this purpose and comparing the features of different types of timber, we hope this article has helped you in this process.

Related posts

Thermory ash decking

The six elements of biophilic design

The purpose of biophilic design is to create spaces that deliver benefits for both human health and the environment by nurturing people’s innate affinity...

Thermory Benchmark thermo-pine mix and match cladding

Inspiring Exterior Wood Cladding Ideas

Natural wood can be used in many different ways. The beauty and versatility make wood unequalled building material. As both an interior and exterior design...

Thermory Benchmark thermo-pine mix and match cladding

Durability classes of wood

We have often mentioned in our articles that Thermory Ash belongs to durability class 1 and Thermory Pine is in durability class 2. But what exactly does...

Thermory_Benchmark_thermo-pine_decking_D45J 26x118_PaCS_private house_Tallinn Estonia_photo credit Allan Leppikson - Reval foto

Chemical-free wood surfaces in the home

Home is where the heart is – a place where the whole family can feel safe and warm. The building materials you choose should enhance this feeling and...

Thermory_decking_thermo_ash

Sustainable use of wood: thermally modified vs tropical wood

Wood is one of the most common building materials in the world and, with responsible forest management, it is the only renewable building material we have....

Thermal modification

Thermally modified wood – what is it?

How did the wooden Viking ships endure the corrosive effects of salt water? Nordic seafarers used to treat their wood with fire. Our contemporary...

Thermory Pine cladding

Let your creativity loose with the playfulness of Thermory’s mix and match profiles

Choosing cladding for your project is a big design decision, and with a multitude of options available, you may find yourself with more questions than...

Thermory Ignite interior wall cladding Photo: jeffrey a davis photography

Drift and Ignite cladding products – the rebels of the Thermory family

In Thermory’s broad product family, Drift and Ignite could be thought of as the two closest and loudest siblings. They both boast striking looks and bold...

Thermory Benchmark thermo-pine cladding

Thermory in Exterior Design: Cladding

Natural wood feels warm and inviting in both interior and exterior design. Especially in outdoor use, it is important to choose wood that is not only...

Thermory Pine cladding

How sustainable is wood?

With rising concerns about climate change, the world community’s responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint rests with each and every individual and...

Thermory_Pine_Decking; aged & unoiled_Norway_photo credit Moelven Wood Prosjekt

Color evolution of Thermory products

As a natural material, the color of wood alters over time – and there is no exception with Thermory’s thermally modified wood products, which gradually...

The positive impact of wood on health and well-being

Wood is a sustainable and versatile material with an almost limitless range of uses, including construction, tools, paper and fuel to name just a few. But...

Sourcing: not every tree makes the grade

Ensuring the highest quality with the smallest possible ecological footprint and responsible use of resources are all principles that we consider important...

Thermory Benchmark thermo-pine cladding

A closer look at wood as a building material

Throughout the history of architecture, surely no other material has been as influential as wood. It’s rare to see a building that’s been produced...

Thermory Benchmark thermo-ash decking and cladding, Maidla Nature Resort in Estonia

Biophilic design – for what and whom?

A trend is taking root in the worlds of architecture and interior design based on using natural materials and living plants to better connect people with...

Thermory Loo production

Discover four of our favorite thermally modified woods

If you’re considering which wood types to use for a renovation or construction project, there are several considerations that may influence your decision...

Kodiak by Thermory

Haptic properties of wood

The wood-paneled interiors so common to mid-century homes have become sought after again, as many seek the warm, cozy feeling that the natural material...

Viviv_by_Thermory_Translucent_Brown

How to keep your Thermory cladding looking great

To ensure that your Thermory cladding retains its natural warm and authentic character, it’s important to apply the correct maintenance techniques. The...

Thermory Radiata Pine Cladding New Zealand

How does thermally modified wood perform in different climates?

No matter where you live when you’re choosing a decking or cladding material, you’ll have to be mindful of how that material will change over time...

Thermory Benchmark thermo-ash cladding D4 and D4sg2, developer Interfaca

HOME TOUR: modern country house in the Netherlands

The location of this particularly beautiful modern country house is unlikely. Hidden in the forest, you arrive at a clearing with endless views over the...

Thermory_Vivid_Opaque_thermo-spruce_D4_cladding

Why prefer painted thermowood to regular painted wood cladding?

Real wood cladding has many functional benefits as well as a charming aesthetic. But if you are looking to make a bolder statement...

Thermory Benchmark thermo-ash decking and cladding, Maidla Nature Resort in Estonia

Wood in Architecture: Trends for 2022

In 2022, the global megatrend of sustainable architecture and building practices will continue. Architecture trends influence the choice of materials both...

Projects related to this post

Thermory Benchmark thermo-ash cladding

Passive house in Englewood, Colorado by Sterling Builders

Thermory Benchmark thermo-ash cladding
Colorado, USA

Benchmark by Thermory thermo-ash cladding

Home of photographer Sandra Palm

Thermory Benchmark thermo-ash C4J 20x52 mm / thermo-ash D4 sg 20x112 mm / Kyte thermo-aspen 15x60 mm / aspen STEP 27x64 mm / aspen STF 15x120, 15x85, 15x65 mm / aspen SHP 28x42 mm
Estonia

Thermory Benchmark thermo-ash decking and cladding, Nature Resort in Estonia, architect Mari Hunt, photo Elvo Jakobson

Maidla Nature Resort

Thermory Benchmark thermo-ash decking D4, cladding C4J, wall panelling C7J and flooring F3
Estonia

Thermory thermo-pine cladding

Paide State High School by Salto Architects

BENCHMARK THERMO-PINE CLADDING C4 20x115 / 26x 115, DECKING D4 26x115
ESTONIA

Thermory Benchmark thermo-pine cladding

Private house in Poland by 81.WAW.PL

BENCHMARK THERMO-PINE
POLAND

Thermory thermo-pine cladding

Kindergarten in Lithuania by DO Architects

BENCHMARK THERMO-PINE
LITHUANIA

Thermory Kodiak cladding

Birch Le Collaboration House

KODIAK THERMO-SPRUCE
MICHIGAN, USA

Thermory Benchmark thermo-pine mix and match cladding

Gartnerlien I

THERMORY THERMO-PINE MIX & MATCH CLADDING
NORWAY

Thermory Spruce brushed and oiled cladding_ash decking_flooring Villart tiny house

Villart Micro Office

THERMORY BENCHMARK THERMO-SPRUCE BRUSHED CLADDING, THERMO-ASH DECKING AND FLOORING
ESTONIA

Thermory Benchmark thermo-pine cladding

Powerhouse Telemark

THERMORY BENCHMARK THERMO-PINE CLADDING C4
NORWAY

Thermory Pine cladding

Apartments in Wolf Clearing

THERMORY BENCHMARK THERMO-PINE CLADDING AND ROOFING
POLAND

Thermory Radiata Pine cladding

Jack’s Point Home

THERMORY BENCHMARK THERMO-RADIATA PINE CLADDING C3
NEW ZEALAND

Yoki Treehouse Thermory Drift cladding

Yoki Treehouse

THERMORY DRIFT THERMO-SPRUCE CLADDING
TEXAS, USA

Thermory Benchmar thermo-pine cladding and decking, Waterfront Norway

Waterfront by AART Architects

THERMORY BENCHMARK THERMO-PINE CLADDING C3 20X115 MM, ROOFING C10 20X140 MM AND DECKING D4 SG 26X140
NORWAY

Thermory Becnhmark thermo-pine

Taramea Climate House

THERMORY BENCHMARK THERMO-PINE CLADDING C8 26X140 MM
NEW ZEALAND

Thermory Shingles thermo-ash cladding, Pipedrive office, photo Marita Mones

Pipedrive office by PIN architects

THERMORY BENCHMARK THERMO-ASH AND THERMORY SHINGLES WALL PANELLING
ESTONIA

Thermory Benchmark Ash Cladding Noa restaurant

NOA Restaurant

THERMORY BENCHMARK THERMO-ASH CLADDING C5 20X72/140/190MM, BRUSHED AND THERMO-ASH MEDIUM FLOORING F5 18X245
ESTONIA