Cladding is a material that can be fitted to the outside of a building to change its appearance, make it more weatherproof and give better insulation. Wood cladding is a popular choice for garden buildings, and perhaps annexes – it is often used on and around homes. It might also be used on large blocks of flats or commercial eco buildings. If you are carrying out a DIY project to build a shed or garage, you may be able to fit decking yourself. Feather edge cladding is usually a good option for this, as the edges make it easier to line up for a neat appearance.
Cladding that is being installed onto a large building is going to be more difficult to manage and a professional installation process is usually required. This is especially important if the cladding is being fitted onto a large building where working at height could be a risk and trained professionals are better placed to complete the job.
There are different grades of oak that you can buy if you are looking for cladding and different oak products. You will usually hear oak and other kinds of wood referred to in terms of their grades, which will show you whether the wood is going to be suitable for your purpose. It also is related to the appearance of the wood, indicating how it will look so you can choose the kind of timber that will suit your preferences. One of the most popular types of cladding is oak featheredge cladding, which can come in different grades depending on what you would like.
To help you select the right cladding for your requirements, these are the different kinds of oak grades that you can select for your featheredge cladding:
- Character oak. This is a mid range type of oak that can have various uses and that will work very well as cladding. It is especially suited to featheredge cladding, where a more rustic, natural appearance will complement the style. Character oak is so called because it is very natural looking, with grain and knots clearly visible. This gives the oak its character, making it obvious that it is a real, solid wood product. It is popular for cladding as well as for indoor products like oak flooring. The oak will be quite light in appearance, making it look modern and contemporary.
- Prime grade oak. This is a premium oak grade that looks like no other, without the knots and woodgrain visibility. It is also going to be more uniform in colour, so if you don’t want the colour variation, then this is the wood grade for you. Prime grade oak is more likely to be used indoors, and most people wouldn’t choose to have prime oak cladding, as a rustic and natural appearance is perfectly acceptable.
- Select grade oak. This is an in between grade, with some prime oak-quality boards and some lower grade boards. There might be some broken knots and some cracking, and the appearance will generally be more rustic than prime grade oak but less rustic than, perhaps, character grade.
- Classic grade oak. This allows the natural timber look to come through, but it will still have character and distinguishing features. There may be some wood that has very few character features, whilst others will have considerably more. The colour will generally be quite even.
Character grade oak – perfect for wooden cladding
Cladding doesn’t need to look perfectly uniform in colour and in appearance, in the same way that wood flooring might. If you choose character grade oak, it will be perfect for this usage and will complement the featheredge style very well indeed. If you choose wooden cladding for a building or outbuilding, it is usually because you want this building to look natural and go with its outdoor surroundings. Character grade oak will give you the appearance you are looking for, and it won’t be as expensive as prime grade oak. It is the ideal option for your featheredge cladding.
Timber comes in various grades, various appearances and many different shades. You will generally use different kinds of timber for different purposes – for example, you wouldn’t choose premium timber for covering the floor of an outbuilding, but you might use it for a floor covering inside of a home. There can be a great deal of variation in terms of price, even if you have a more premium type of timber like oak.
Whilst there are differences in terms of quality, much of your decision will come down to personal preference. You might choose a lower quality of wood if you are looking for a more rustic appearance, for example, if you are applying cladding to an exterior building. In this instance, it is far more acceptable to have a rustic look and a type of timber has knots and shows the woodgrain up clearly. Get some timber samples and see which ones appeal to you.
Buying decking can be surprisingly affordable, without the need to compromise on the quality of your timber and decking boards. As long as you are a savvy shopper and know what you are looking for in your timber, there are some excellent deals to be done. Here is a brief guide to finding decking that will be affordable for you, that will offer you plenty in return for your money and that won’t require too much maintenance.
Should you choose your decking or your decking supplier first?
It can be difficult to find decking if you have got your heart set on a particular type of board, or a certain timber or material. If you know exactly what you want but haven’t seen it in a specific shop or with a supplier, then the decking look you want might not actually exist. It’s much better to look at what suppliers have available, and from there, choose the type of timber you want. You don’t have to make a decision straight away and buy the first decking kit you see on the internet. You can shop around and make sure you are perfectly happy first – but this option allows you to keep track of what is actually available on the market, and you will know that you are able to get the decking you want.
You should also be careful about the supplier you choose; make sure they offer the kind of service you would expect when buying expensive materials like decking boards. You should select a supplier that has a good reputation in the industry, and if you don’t know the industry, ask around and read online reviews. Make sure they source their decking reputably and that all materials come from sustainable sources.
Deciding on your timber
The timber you choose for your decking is one of the most important parts of the process. You must choose a timber that will be strong and resilient, such as English oak. You might want something lower cost though, or perhaps of a different appearance. You can explore many different options, like redwood or larch. Choose treated or untreated timber depending on what you want to get out of your decking boards, and whether you need any protection for the decking. Much of this will be a purely aesthetic decision.
The practicalities – decking delivery
You need to consider the practicalities of buying decking online. It’s something that you can do very easily, but that will also become increasingly difficult when there is lots of choice, or it isn’t especially convenient for you. Look at the delivery terms and conditions and check that your decking boards can be delivered to you. It’s also worth seeing whether they will come with everything they need to be fitted, as you will need certain components in order to put your deck together. If you would like to have a look at decking before you purchase, you can often get sample decking boards and tiles sent out to you.
Railway sleepers are large wooden beams that get their name due to their common usage on railway lines. You can even get reclaimed sleepers, that have previously been used on railway lines, upping your environmental credentials when you buy them. There are many creative ways that you can use sleepers in your garden and make the space all the better for it.
Have you thought about creating a rockery before? Sleepers could be used around the edges to create boarders. Equally, they could be used as edging for border flowers, or for creating raised flower beds or vegetable growing containers. You can also use them to make furniture – a rustic table made from reclaimed sleepers could make a lovely design feature. You could also use them to improve the accessibility of your garden, using sleepers in the construction of steps, or using them to create pathways and as edging for paths.