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Installing composite cladding is an easy and straightforward process. Whether you are a landscaping veteran and have been in the trade for years, or you simply like to dabble with DIY from time to time, you will not have an issue completing a basic cladding project.

Pre-Installation

If you have purchased cladding, there is a good chance that you are not going to be installing it the minute that it comes out of the delivery van. You will probably find that you have to store the cladding beforehand. When storing the cladding, ensure that a suitable and flat area is cleared. You can lay the cladding boards on batons/joists or posts in order to slightly raise them off the ground. This will help avoid any sitting water or the accumulation of dirt. If the cladding boards are installed directly on the floor, they could be scratched by small stones and grit.

When storing your boards outside for an extended period of time, make sure that they are covered with a layer of plastic sheeting.

When moving boards, ensure that you carefully lift rather than drag the cladding boards.

Ensure that you keep your area as tidy as possible. Keep the floor clear of any debris in order to make sure the construction area is safe.

Do I need to allow my cladding boards to climatise?

Composite materials are receptive to changes in temperature. Your cladding boards should be left for at least 24 hours in the outdoor environment before installation.

Subframe Options

Similar to decking boards, cladding boards must have a framework in place so that they can be installed. Decking boards are fixed to joists, whereas cladding boards are typically fitted onto batons. The batons used for cladding projects are generally smaller (50mm x 50mm) in contrast to decking joists that are 100mm x 50mm. You can use plastic, composite, timber or metal batons. The choice is yours. However, we always recommend that you check the fire rating of all building materials to make sure that they are in accordance with modern-day building regulations.

There is no set requirement for the specification of the framework. You have a variety of options available for the subframe. You can choose your specification and material.

Ventilation Requirements

Ventilation is a very important factor when avoiding moisture absorption. There should be at least a 40 mm space between the cladding boards and the wall. This space is determined by the size of the batons that you purchase. For example, if you purchase batons that are 50mm in height, then the ventilation gap will be 50mm.

Required Equipment

Relevant PPE

Spirit level

Carpentry square

Tape measure

Impact driver

Hand drill (3 mm) and countersink drill bits

Jig Saw

Power mitre saw for bevelled edges and overall efficiency

Circular saw

Standard woodworking tools

Calculating what you need

Measure the length and width of the area where you would like to install the cladding

If you are installing the boards horizontally, you need to divide the wall height by the width of the board (147mm once installed)

Multiply the width of the wall by the number of boards high. Divide this number by the length of the board (2.5 or 3.6 m)

You will now have the number of boards required

If the calculation from point number 3 gave you a decimal, you must round that up to the nearest whole number

We advise adding an extra 5% onto the material to account for waste.

You will also need battens, L-shaped corner trim and screws for installation.

No. Out of shaped corner trims = length of exposed edges / 3.6m

No. Of battens = 9 linear metres for every 5 square metres

Fixing screws = 5 for every cladding board

Subframe Installation Tips

Your baton layout will be related to the direction in which your cladding boards are laid. Your batons should run perpendicular to the direction of the boards. Our cladding boards can be installed horizontally or vertically; it is just a matter of preference.

Double joisting is a necessity where two cladding boards meet at the butt ends.

Consideration of wall features. Ensure that adequate batons are added around features such as doors or windows. Batons should be added around the perimeter of these features.

The steps that are given will work for basic projects. If you have a more complex design with other features, it is best to seek advice from an experienced and knowledgeable tradesman.

Fix either treated timber or composite battens to the wall. Ensure that the width between the battens is no wider than 600mm

The initial batten should be installed at a minimum of 20mm from the floor

If you are laying your cladding vertically, it is recommended that you use cross battening to aid proper airflow

Install the first board at a minimum of 15mm off the ground surface

Make sure to pre-drill the screw holes roughly 2mm wide over the thread of the screws to allow for expansion

Screw the cladding boards into the battens through the pre-drilled holes

Now that the first board is installed, you can repeat the process whilst checking the level

You can use the L-shaped corner trim to border the windows and corners

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