While there are several types of timber that can be used for cladding, European oak is the premier choice for consumers seeking a hard-wearing and attractive material. Its naturally warm, natural look requires no additional decoration or treatment and will naturally silver over age for a rustic, aesthetically pleasing appearance.
It may initially seem less cost-effective than other timbers, but the versatility and longevity of oak cladding provides far greater value for money in the long run. It is naturally weatherproof, resistant to infestation and will not need to be replaced over time due to environmental damage. This also makes it a far more environmentally friendly choice as no man-made chemicals need to be used to protect the timber.
Oak Cladding Types
There are four main types of European oak cladding, each with its own strengths, mainly in terms of cost and construction.
Tongue and Groove Cladding
Tongue and Groove construction is familiar to most consumers due to its near ubiquity in domestic laminate flooring and vertical oak cladding. One side of each board has a lengthwise recess (the groove) and the other has a thin lengthwise ridge (the tongue). When these are clipped together the resulting connection ensures a strong join along the length of the board, without the need for adhesives or nailing or tacking together. This ease of construction makes Tongue and Groove attractive to many consumers as it can be easily assembled without the need for professional help or additional materials. While Tongue and Groove can be an expensive option compared to other types of cladding its high structural integrity, especially in the case of oak, is a justifiable payoff. Tongue and Groove is the ideal choice of oak cladding for beams, flooring, or oak cladding interior surfaces.
Tongue and Groove with V
This is almost identical to standard Tongue and Groove, but the side of each board has a chamfered edge on the top and bottom. This accentuates the edges of the boards so that once connected the join has a ‘v’ shaped recess along its length. This gives a more rustic appearance to the construction favoured by many without the need for further decoration. As both sides are chamfered the boards can be used either side up, giving a more flexible product. Some consumers avoid Tongue and Groove timber, as with softer woods, it can be prone to warping over time. In the case of Oak, the strength of the wood itself makes this highly unlikely. Both these types of cladding can be used internally or externally and as horizontal or vertical cladding. If used externally it should be assembled with the tongue facing down to prevent rainwater from seeping into the join and penetrating the structure.
Feather Edge Cladding
Also known as Weather Boarding, feather edge cladding consists of lengths of timber with a groove cut into the side of one edge of each board. When assembled the boards overlap along their length with the groove allowing the upper board to sit securely on the lower. This is the style most often used for exterior cladding such as timber cladding for sheds. Unlike Tongue and Groove, the boards do not clip together without the need for extra securing and the panels must be nailed or similarly secured together. While this can lead to extra work for the individual erecting the cladding it is offset by the lower cost of feather timber edge cladding.
The simpler design of feather edge cladding means there is less need for complicated and costly machining of the timber. This saving on construction is then passed on to the consumer as a lower price for the timber itself. The overlapping construction makes it perfect for external cladding as the sloped overlap encourages water runoff due to the effect of gravity. Combined with the natural water resistance and minimal shrinkage of oak this ensures little impact from the effects of the seasonal cycle on the cladding. Oak feather edge cladding also has a traditional, rustic look that many consumers prefer.
Shiplap is generally seen as the next step up in terms of build quality and strength after Tongue and Groove cladding. The boards clip together in a similar manner but there is an added overlap at the top join in the case of horizontal construction, providing extra strength to the join. In addition, the underlying board has a curved chamfered edge under the overlap. While this is often selected for aesthetic reasons it also serves a technical function. When used externally, the curve prevents rainwater from gathering in the recess between boards and the curved construction encourages runoff. This means shiplap cladding provides an extra level of protection against the elements, giving it optimum water resistance compared to other types of cladding. It is thought that this was originally used in shipbuilding, hence the name. In terms of water resistance and durability, it would be hard to find a greater endorsement for the reliability of oak shiplap cladding. Like feather edge cladding, shiplap must be secured in place with nails or screws, but the superior construction makes this a small price to pay.
Waney Edge Cladding
Waney edge is a term used to describe timber that has been cut with a layer of tree bark along one edge. When used for cladding this gives a pleasingly rustic, natural look to the finished product. Larch and Elm are the most commonly used wood types for waney edge cladding in Britain but compared to oak they have poor resistance to the elements and must be regularly weather proofed. They are also more prone to shrinkage and warping by comparison. As a result, thinner overlapping cladding was traditionally viewed as a temporary, short term solution. However, due to the natural hardiness of oak, if it is used instead this is not an issue. As waney edge cladding usually consists of thinner boards that are simply cut from the timber with no need for machining, it is the cheapest option for cladding. Since the boards do not interlock like the other types of cladding discussed, their use involves more work for the consumer, but again their economical nature offsets this.
Hardwoods Group supply various different types of timber cladding to choose from, so you can get the desired effect you are looking for, whether for internal or external use. For more information visit our oak cladding page or get in touch with our friendly staff who will be glad to help with any orders or inquiries.