Pros and Cons of Exterior Cladding

Exterior cladding, particularly timber cladding offers a range of accountable properties that enhance the aesthetics and durability of buildings. However, it's important to understand both the advantages and disadvantages of this popular choice.

In this article, we will delve into the pros and cons of exterior cladding, shedding light on its benefits and potential drawbacks. By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision and ensure the proper installation, use, and maintenance of your cladding.

The Pros of Exterior Cladding:


Aesthetics and Character: Timber cladding adds a natural and timeless appeal to buildings, enhancing their visual charm and blending harmoniously with various architectural styles. It provides warmth, texture, and character, creating a welcoming and inviting atmosphere.


Sustainability and Renewable Resource: Timber is a renewable resource, making it an environmentally friendly choice for cladding. Properly sourced and managed timber ensures the preservation of forests and reduces our reliance on non-renewable materials.


Insulation and Energy Efficiency: Timber cladding offers natural insulation properties, helping to regulate temperatures and reduce energy consumption. It acts as a thermal barrier, keeping the interior cool in summer and warm in winter, leading to potential energy savings.


Weathering and Patina: Over time, timber cladding weathers and develops a beautiful silver-grey patina, adding to its visual appeal. This natural weathering process gives the cladding a unique character and charm, making it even more attractive as it ages.


The Cons of Exterior Cladding


Susceptibility to Damage: Like any wood, timber cladding is susceptible to insect and fungus attacks. Less durable timber, such as European redwood, requires treatment and may need re-coating depending on its use and location. Additionally, accessing hard-to-reach areas for maintenance can be challenging, especially in inner cities or difficult locations.


Transportation and Sourcing: Consideration must be given to the energy used for transporting timber, especially if sourcing more durable and higher-quality options requires searching farther afield. Balancing sustainability with accessibility can be a factor to keep in mind.


Shrinkage and Expansion: Timber cladding can shrink and expand with temperature and weather changes, going from wet to dry and back again. This movement should be considered during installation, as green oak, for example, can shrink significantly. Proper installation techniques and allowances for expansion are crucial to minimise any potential issues.


Staining and Fading: Incorrect installation of fixings can lead to stains on the cladding surface. It's essential to enlist the services of a timber professional to ensure proper installation and prevent unsightly stains. Furthermore, external cladding exposed to the elements may experience varying degrees of fading, resulting in an uneven appearance over time.



While timber cladding offers numerous advantages, it is essential to acknowledge the potential drawbacks to make an informed decision. With proper installation, use, and maintenance, the benefits of timber cladding can far outweigh its disadvantages. Ensuring professional installation, considering maintenance requirements, and selecting appropriate timber species are key factors in maximising the longevity and aesthetic appeal of your cladding. By understanding both the positives and negatives, you can confidently embrace the beauty and functionality of exterior cladding.