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
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.
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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
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