The rise of timber facades

Danny Phelan, sales manager at Panel Systems, looks at why timber cladding is now the preferred cladding material with an increasing number of specifiers and developers.

Visit any new retail park or office development these days and the chances are somewhere you will see timber being used as a cladding material. The aesthetics of timber are widely recognised, as is the way it helps buildings to blend in with their natural environment and gives a warm, welcoming ambience to an urban structure.

Timber cladding when used as a building material, has many environmental benefits. The main one is that it is a completely renewable resource. This means that using sustainable wood products can help to mitigate climate change. Timber is seen as one of the most environmentally friendly building materials, making it suitable for a wide range of sustainability building projects.

Timber insulated cladding panels are much in demand for a wide variety of projects, including apartments, offices and schools. Siberian Larch is particularly popular as it offers durability and resistance to decay, giving an anticipated 60-year service life. It is also very stable, has low movement, is lightweight and offers good insulation properties, which makes it an ideal material for cladding.

It is little wonder that Siberian Larch is so highly sought by architects and contractors, as it is suitable for most external timber cladding applications. It is also very durable and, when weathered, the colour changes to a muted silvery grey tone, which is desirable in many cladding projects. It also provides a clean and relatively knot-free contemporary look.

Siberian Larch offers a variety of colour tones that weather to a silvery grey, placing it at the premium end of the cladding market in terms of aesthetics.

A great example of how Siberian Larch can enhance a project is a new office and warehouse facility in Wells, Somerset that is the headquarters for oral hygiene manufacturer TePe. Here, we fabricated Siberian Larch boards with Styrofoam insulation to give insulated timber panels that complement their semi-rural surroundings.

The panels were incorporated into the aluminium glazing on the TePe building, which accentuated the beauty of the Larch boards. We pre-fixed the square edge Siberian Larch to the panel face in factory controlled conditions prior to delivery to minimise installation costs on site. The Siberian Larch was integrated with a high-performance insulation core that offers exceptional thermal performance, high compressive strength and low water absorption, making them highly suited for the application.

These panels offer the best of both worlds – being both stunning in appearance while offering a high level of thermal performance. The facade of the building perfectly blends in with its surroundings, yet it has a contemporary appearance, which is fitting for a modern, thriving business.

Timber cladding has truly come of age, helped in part because of the move towards creating buildings with character. In addition, modern buildings are now expected to have minimal impact on their environment and a high level of thermal performance and that has really helped timber cladding make a resurgence.

As a material, timber is completely sustainable and, with its strength and lightweight properties, it offers huge scope for creating interesting and unique buildings.