Timber is one of the oldest building materials in the world, and remains one of the most commonly used construction materials in the world. While it may be an incredibly popular choice, is it the best choice for your new home? In this article, we’re examining the pros and cons of timber facade, taking a closer look at what you need to be aware of, and helping you decide if it’s the best material for your new home.
What are the benefits of a timber facade?
Strong and lightweight Material: Durability is obviously a desirable trait in any building material. Timber exterior cladding is long-lasting yet lightweight, making it easier to transport and install than heavier materials.
Suits a variety of budgets: Many building materials fall into a specific price range, which can eliminate them from being an option. Timber is a building material that is used on budget houses and for some of the most expensive homes on the market.
Sustainable material: Timber can be a sustainable source, depending on where you source the material. Talk to your builder or supplier about the type of timber species they’re using and their manufacturing process to get a better idea of how eco-friendly your options are.
Aesthetics that suit various buildings: Timber cladding is available in a wide range of styles to suit various tastes. From traditional home designs to something more contemporary, for those looking to resell down the line, timber is often well-received by potential buyers.
What are the drawbacks of a timber facade?
Requires ongoing maintenance: Timber facades require a lot of ongoing maintenance. Along with needing to touch up your paint from time to time, you’ll need to clean and reapply treatment. The amount of maintenance you’ll need will vary depending on the type of timber you purchase.
Vulnerable to fires, termites and rot: Timber cladding can be vulnerable to fire, pests and water damage if not treated or installed properly. Depending on the severity of the damage, it can cost thousands of dollars to fix. It is also a flammable material in comparison to other building materials. Fire performance can be improved through treatment.
Requires a skilled professional: Like any facade, you’ll want someone who knows what they’re doing to install it.
What are the different types of timber facades?
There is a wide range of timber facades available, so many that’s difficult to list them all. Here’s just a sample of what’s available on the market:
- Oak cladding
- Western red cedar
- House Cladding
- Sweet Chestnut
- Yellow Cedar
- Larch Cladding
- Accoya Cladding
- Pine Weatherboard
- Spotted gum
What are the different finishes for a timber facade?
As a general rule, timber finishes can be separated into four main categories which are:
- Only for interior costs
- Easy to clean
- Great for busy areas with a lot of foot traffic
- Ideal for both interior and exterior use
- Penetrates into the wood to help with hydration and dimensional stability
- Helps prevent warping, cracking and splitting.
Penetrating Oil/Surface film hybrid
- Best suited for eaves and exterior applications
- Helps prevent mold growth
- Weather naturally without peeling, flaking or blisters
- Minimises maintenance needs.
- Best suited for eaves and interiors
- Helps prevent mold growth
- Minimal maintenance
How much does a timber facade cost?
Of all the building materials, timber cladding has one of the widest ranges when it comes to potential costs. There are a few factors to take into account when trying to estimate how much your timber cladding will cost, such as the type of wood you’re using, whether it’s locally sourced or imported and the size of the board you’re purchasing.
On average, timber cladding that is 18mm will cost anywhere between $100-$350, depending on the above factors. Depending on the size and quality of the wood, timber cladding is available for as cheap as $50 per square metre.
How does a timber facade perform?
Timber is a durable substance, but it does require painting, staining, and general upkeep to avoid negative effects from the weather. A potential issue that can occur with timber is warping and cracking over time. Condensation can also be an issue in certain environments, which can lead to severe issues such as mould, wood rot and water damage. However, when treated and maintained properly, timber cladding can last for 40-60 years or more.
Sound and thermal insulation
Timber cladding can provide excellent thermal and sound insulation, trapping home heat during cold months. In fact, in the right environment, timber actually performs better than either steel or brick when it comes to retaining heat, which is great when you’re looking to cut down on your energy bills.
Here is where timber has a potential disadvantage compared to other building materials. Timber cladding, like any wood product, can be vulnerable to moisture if not treated and maintained properly. Moisture is the biggest issue, so it is important that your home is properly ventilated and your wood is correctly treated.
Timber can achieve a long lifespan when cared for and installed properly. The key to long-lasting timber is to avoid issues such as rotting, mould, and termites. If these issues do arise, it’s important to treat them sooner rather than later, as any of these problems can cause serious damage quickly.
How much maintenance and cleaning is required for a timber facade?
Timber requires more maintenance than other materials. Along with cleaning and repainting, you’ll need to ensure your timber’s treatment is still working. It’s important to be aware of any water damage, rot, or mould and address the problem sooner rather than later.
Are timber facades sustainable options?
Usually, yes. However, like many materials, some timber cladding is more sustainable than others. Timber can provide quality insulation which reduces your heating costs during the winter.
What are the key differences between timber facades vs other material options?
- Timber is more affordable than brick and has more flexibility when it comes to design choices.
- Brick however tends to be more durable.
- Brick will likely fetch a higher resale price than brick, though this depends on the house design and other factors.
- There is some debate as to whether timber or brick is more environmentally sustainable. A lot of this will come down to where you’re sourcing your timber from.
- Timber is more vulnerable to moisture damage, fire and pests like termites. Brick isn’t impervious to vermin like rats and cockroaches.
- Concrete is stronger than timber and less vulnerable to fire, pests and mould.
- Timber is more affordable.
- When it comes to sustainability, there’s some debate. Concrete does last longer on average but takes a lot of resources to produce.
- Timber is more readily available and easier to transport.
- Though concrete is more durable, when it does experience damage, it’s more expensive to fix and could be a serious safety issue.
Our tips for choosing a facade for your new home
- Consider the environment you’re building in. Different materials excel in certain climates while having their weaknesses exposed in others.
- The house design you’re choosing could help narrow down the best choice of cladding for your home. Not all materials best suit every style of home.
- Except for a lucky few, budget is going to be a huge influencing factor. Some materials are noticeably more affordable than others so try to find the best material that won’t blow your finances.
- Hire a building consultant who can help guide you through these decisions.
Buildi is here to help throughout your building journey!
Still wondering whether timber cladding is the best option for your new home? Building a new home is full of these types of decisions and there are times when the whole thing can seem overwhelming. Buildi is here to help! We’re here to give power back to the consumer. In the construction industry, most of the power is with the builders, and we’re here to help ensure you get the best deal. We’ll also guide you through all the hoops you need to jump through, make sure you avoid some of the most common (and pricey) mistakes home builders tend to make. From finding the ideal builder for your new project to making sure your dream home is everything it was promised to be, Buildi will save you time, stress and money throughout your building journey!