Composite cladding is like other composite materials that expand when you expose it to rising temperatures. That is why when you are installing composite cladding boards, there is a minimum gap you should leave between the panels and any fixed objects, allowing the composite cladding to expand into the gap.
What Is Expansion and Why Does Composite Cladding Expand?
Expansion is the movement, or to be more precise, the growth of material along its edges. Most building materials like composite decking, fencing and cladding will expand if the conditions for expansion are favourable.
In hotter temperatures, the composite cladding will increase in size. When the weather changes from hot to cold, your composite cladding will reduce in size.
Composite cladding is a mix of wood and plastic; both of these materials expand as the temperature increases.
Composite Cladding Expansion Gap
The expansion and contraction of composite cladding can pose a problem if it is not installed with gaps. It is recommended that a minimum of 5mm gap be left at each end of the cladding board and between any fixed objects, such as a wall, house, or fence. This allows the cladding board to expand into the gap in rising temperatures. If your cladding boards do not have the expansion gaps, when the temperature increases, the cladding boards will not have space to expand into, causing them to warp, crack and eventually completely break. They can also burst out of the clips holding them in place.
Best Practices to Follow When Installing Composite Cladding
Put a Batten between the Wall and Your Cladding
Battens should be fixed to the exterior wall of the home. The composite cladding should not come in contact with the wall of your house.
This is because the wall can contain moisture, and the cladding will trap the moisture. When your cladding traps moisture, it will absorb it, and moisture will reduce its durability. You can use treated wood or plastic wood for your battens.
Battens should be fitted spaced a minimum of 300mm. You should pre-drill your battens first so that they are set to the wall.
Always check with the sellers or manufacturer for the installation guide to ensure you are fitting as per their instructions, as they know the material they are providing best. Not doing this can invalidate your warranty.
Always Use the Right Tools
When installing your composite cladding, you should ensure that you use the appropriate tools for the installation process. Aside from having the tools, you should know how to use them. If you are not familiar with the tools, you can go through the manufacturer’s guide. Or hire an installer.
Composite cladding will expand when the temperature rises. To allow for expansion, you must leave a minimum 5 mm expansion gap on each side of your cladding board and against fixed objects. Always check the manufacturer or seller’s guide for installation instructions.