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Many cladding materials on the market can be installed on the exterior wall of your home, shed or garden room. The most common materials used are composite, timber and PVC. It can become overwhelming when choosing the best material for your outdoor space. Therefore, it is beneficial to weigh up the pros and cons of each material prior to investing. 

This article will help you answer the question, “What is the best-rated cladding material?”. 

Composite Cladding 

Composite material is the superior choice when it comes to cladding in your outdoor space. This is due to the many benefits it has to offer, such as durability, low maintenance and ease of installation. Key benefits of composite cladding include: 

Durability 

On the whole, composite cladding is more durable than other materials, such as timber, as it is made up of both wood and synthetic fibres bonded together, providing it with resistant properties against moisture. This, in turn, will extend the lifespan of the cladding boards, as they can withstand the various elements and climates outdoors for decades. Not only is composite cladding resistant to moisture absorption, but it is also more resistant to damage caused by termites and wood-eating insects. This is because of the synthetic composition that makes up the boards.  

Improved surface texture 

Composite cladding’s improved surface texture ensures the board’s surface won’t absorb as much rainwater as other materials. Thus, preventing swelling and rotting, which can distort the board’s appearance. This makes the cladding surface harder to stain, which is ideal for homeowners.  

Easy installation process 

Composite decking is quick and convenient to install. All that is required are starter clips when initiating the installation process. The boards are then easily slotted together to effortlessly enhance your outdoor space. You can cut composite cladding easily with a saw if you need to, ensuring maximum safety throughout the process. It is easy to carry around due to its lightweight nature, meaning it is simple to install and won’t require experience.  

Minimal maintenance required 

Composite material is renowned for its low maintenance. This improves its appearance and longevity. The only maintenance necessary is simple cleaning, which can be completed with warm, soapy water and a soft bristle brush. All you have to do is lightly scrub any stains or marks off the surface. You can also use a pressure washer on a low setting, not too close to the cladding surface, to quickly clean off any dirt or debris. Additionally, there is no need to paint or seal your composite cladding, as you would need to with wood, which can be costly and time-consuming.  

Aesthetically pleasing 

Composite cladding has the benefits of both plastic and wooden materials. Therefore, it can achieve the natural appearance of wood cladding that compliments your outdoor space while retaining the advantages that a synthetic material has to offer. The colour of composite cladding won’t fade as much as timber will, ensuring a beautiful, timeless aesthetic for decades. Although it is an improved colour retention board, composite cladding will fade up to 20% in sunlight. This is important to note in the colour selection process prior to installing your cladding.  

PVC Cladding 

PVC cladding and plastic cladding contain 100% plastic, a synthetic material.  

Durability 

Plastic cladding is one of the most durable options for your outdoor project, with a service life of up to 15 years. Similar to a composite material, plastic decking is synthetic and will therefore possess resilient properties such as resistance to moisture absorption and termites. Termites are wood-eating insects that cannot penetrate synthetic materials; therefore, you will not have to worry about insects damaging your cladding boards if you choose plastic material.  

Easy to install 

Similar to composite, PVC cladding has a simple installation process that only consists of cutting your panels to size and moving the boards together.  

Minimal maintenance 

The cleaning process of cladding is quick and convenient, usually only resulting in using a cloth to wipe down the board surface or lightly hosing down the board with a hose. Thus, plastic cladding is a good choice for busy homeowners who desire a low-maintenance option.  

Aesthetics  

PVC can be aesthetically pleasing for your garden, as it has several colour options that can best suit your area. However, through research, many consumers have reported that plastic cladding is less natural or beautiful than other materials.  

Timber Cladding 

A commonly installed cladding material among consumers is timber cladding, also known as wood cladding. Despite the ample advantages composite cladding holds over timber material, some consumers still opt for timber cladding.  

Durability 

Wood cladding is effective at both heat and sound insulation, meaning it is perfect all year round in any season. Wood cladding, when using untreated wood, will require staining and painting in order to protect the surface of the material and ensure it lasts longer. Treated wood will last a lot longer than untreated wood and will be able to withstand more in terms of climate change and moisture.  

Installation process 

The installation process of timber cladding is slightly more time-consuming than composite or PVC and will require more tools, as you will have to screw the boards to the wall before attachment. However, using an adhesive is an option, especially if the wall is very even, but this method is not recommended as it negatively impacts its longevity. 

Maintenance 

Wooden cladding will need to be painted and sealed in order to retain its appearance and reach its lifespan. Thus, it is a less-than-ideal option for busy homeowners who don’t want to have to annually complete this process. 

Aesthetic 

Wood cladding is naturally beautiful and compliments any outdoor surroundings or landscape. It can be painted any colour to suit your personal preferences and enhance your garden space dramatically.  

Conclusion 

In conclusion, composite cladding is the best-rated material for your outdoor space. It only requires low maintenance and minimal cleaning while retaining the natural and beautiful aesthetic of timber cladding.  

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