Timber iQ April - May 2019 // Issue: 43 | Page 34

FEATURES Cedar was used for cladding on this house. The art of timber cladding While timber construction has been around as long as civilisation, in recent years we at Rare Woods SA have seen a huge surge in the popularity of timber cladding for building facades. By Rare Woods SA Y ou only have to drive around in the rarefied atmosphere of Cape Town’s Atlantic seaboard, visit one of the many luxurious wine farms in the Stellenbosch or Franschhoek valleys or stay in any of our country’s picturesque beach-side towns to know that this trend has taken South Africa by storm – and rightly so. BENEFITS OF TIMBER-CLAD FACADES The benefits of timber cladding are numerous. Firstly, it provides a warm and natural aesthetic, bringing built structures into greater harmony with the surrounding environment. This is particularly true when timber cladding act in contrast to other modernist elements like steel and concrete, which allow for striking and creative structures but can sometimes be a little brutal without the softening influence of timber. Architects and designers now have a wide range of species and profiles to choose from, including shiplap or open jointed construction with the striking use of shadow lines. This, along with the option of using varied widths and even thicknesses gives endless flexibility in surface structure, inspiring enormous creativity and the opportunity to make very bold architectural statements. 32 APRIL / MAY 2019 // In addition, timber acts as a natural insulator, keeping buildings warmer in winter and cooler in summer. In this regard wood is four and a half times better than brick, and 15 times better than concrete, and far higher than steel or aluminium. As an example, a 25mm timber board has a better resistance to the loss of heat than a single brick course. Timber is also increasingly recognised as having a much lower carbon footprint than most other building elements. In part this is because trees absorb one tonne of CO 2 from the atmosphere and produce three quarters of a tonne of oxygen, for every cubic metre grown. When this timber is felled and used in construction, this carbon is trapped for the lifetime of that timber structure. Natural forest regrowth continues, removing more carbon from the atmosphere. The production of timber boards also has a much lighter carbon footprint than heavy industrial processes involved in the production of steel, aluminium and concrete. Many timber cladding species can also be used completely un treated, meaning that there are no potentially harmful chemicals that are used as part of the production process. Finally, timber cladding is a sustainable choice. Most timber cladding is made from fast growing softwoods that www.timberiq.co.za