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Cladding Installation - Tips and Tricks

Installing cladding yourself can be a rewarding project, transforming the look and feel of your building while providing protection against the elements.

However, to ensure a successful and long-lasting installation, it's essential to follow some key tips and tricks. Here are some expert recommendations to help you get the most out of your cladding installation.

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Acclimatise Your Cladding

Before installation, cladding should be left laying flat on bearers with spacers in between, in a sheltered area. This allows the timber to acclimatise to its new environment, reducing the risk of shrinkage, warping, and cracking once installed. Proper acclimatisation ensures that your cladding will maintain its appearance and structural integrity over time.

Moisture Management

Timber is a porous material and can allow moisture to penetrate, potentially affecting the materials behind it. To prevent this, use a sealant such as OSMO UV along with a breathable vapour membrane.

This combination provides an effective barrier against moisture while allowing any trapped moisture to escape, preserving the durability of both the cladding and the underlying structure.

Fixing Methods

Hidden Fixing

Hidden, or secret, fixing involves using a smaller fixing, such as a cladding screw or brad nail, through the tongue of the cladding. However, even when using hidden fixing, it's crucial to face fix both end boards to prevent lifting. This ensures a secure installation that can accommodate natural expansion and contraction.

No cladding over 100mm coverage should be "hidden fixed." This is because timber cladding can expand or shrink by up to 10% with changes in moisture content.

Face Fixing

Face fixing is another method where a screw or nail is used through the covering face of the cladding to secure the board. This technique provides a strong and visible fixing, making it easy to inspect and maintain.

For optimal results, ensure that your fixings are appropriately sized. Fixings should be 2.5 times the thickness of the board you are securing. For instance, a 14.5mm board requires a 36-38mm nail or screw.

Battens and Spacing

When installing battens, they should be spaced no more than 600mm apart. Proper spacing of battens provides adequate support for the cladding, preventing sagging and ensuring a neat, uniform appearance. Consistent spacing also helps distribute the load evenly, enhancing the overall stability of the installation.

Annual Maintenance

To keep your cladding looking its best and to protect it from UV damage, we recommend applying Osmo oil or another water-based UV protection product annually. Regular maintenance not only preserves the aesthetic appeal of your cladding but also extends its lifespan by protecting it from the elements.

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By following these tips and tricks, you can achieve a high-quality cladding installation that is both beautiful and durable. Remember, careful preparation and proper maintenance are key to enjoying the benefits of your cladding for years to come!