If you’ve finally planned to install some composite cladding around your home, but don’t know where on earth to begin, then you’ve come to the right place.
While planning how to clad your home can seem daunting at first, if you have any DIY knowledge, you shouldn’t struggle all that much. If you are more green in that area, then all you need to do is decide where you want it to go, what colour you want it to be, and what type of composite cladding you’d like to use, and you can let our professionals do the rest.
Our comprehensive guide on how to plan a composite cladding project should be able to walk you through the process without any hassles, and we can even recommend a great company to purchase your composite cladding boards from.
Why Choose Composite Cladding?
Composite cladding has become the most popular cladding material in recent years, and for a variety of good reasons. While timber cladding may have been the obvious choice some time ago, this is no longer the case, as composite cladding can do the job better while still looking just as good, if not better.
Composite cladding is made from Wood Plastic Composite (WPC), which is created by mixing recycled wood fibres, recycled plastic, bonding agents, and colourants.
This mixture is then heated and extruded at a very high temperature into cladding boards, and other profiles and left to cool. All of these extra processes make composite cladding extremely durable.
Why is composite cladding better than timber cladding?
Timber cladding was seemingly the main choice for cladding for the longest time but has since been overtaken by composite cladding for a few good reasons.
Wood cladding can be quite high maintenance if you want to keep it looking clean and pristine. You will need to have it varnished, stained, and oiled a few times a year if you want it to last, or you risk allowing it to rot, warp, or become infested with termites.
Composite cladding, on the other hand, is incredibly low maintenance, as you really only need to clean it when you notice it has become particularly dirty.
This can be done with a pressure washer, with the pressure set quite low, or some warm soapy water, a soft-bristled brush and some elbow grease. You will never need to paint or stain your composite decking, although some manufacturers note that you are able to if you want to.
Timber cladding also tends to only last for around 15 to 25 years, whereas composite cladding can last up to 50 years if it is looked after properly and cleaned regularly.
While composite cladding might be more expensive to purchase initially, you will end up saving money over time by not needing to purchase maintenance products or hiring someone to use them.
What Are You Planning To Clad?
The area of your home that you are planning to clad will actually have quite an important impact on the type of composite cladding that you choose to use and the colour that you choose to go with.
If you have a detached building next to your deck or pool, or even just have a detached cottage on your property, then composite cladding can be a great addition. You should easily be able to find a colour of composite cladding that will match the aesthetic of your deck or garden.
Capped composite cladding will likely be best for anything outdoors as it generally has an extra coating of plastic that will protect it from the elements. Composite cladding can also keep the building warmer in the winter and colder in the summer, as composite cladding provides excellent insulation.
Composite cladding exposed to the sun at all times will also take far longer to fade than timber cladding, as its HDPE coating will protect it from the sun better than any varnish or stain that will protect the wood. All Ecoscape composite cladding UV stable and guaranteed.
Just like with any outdoor building, if you are planning to clad the exterior of your home, then capped composite cladding will likely be your best option, as your cladding will need some extra protection if it is going to be in the sun for the entirety of its lifespan.
Our composite cladding is available in two profiles, we have a flat panel and a slatted batten composite cladding board. We have 6 colours to choose from in the panel composite cladding and 3 colours in the slatted composite cladding, some people in the industry refer to our slatted cladding as a castellation composite cladding board. We also have six different finishing trims to cover external, internal, butt joints, end trims and finishing boards.
Composite cladding also only needs to be cleaned annually, so you won’t need to be climbing on a ladder multiple times a year to apply varnish to timber cladding.
If you want to clad the interior walls of your home, then our Forma composite cladding will be a great choice. We have option of both the panel (flat cladding board) or slatted (batten affect). In the past it has been used to clad feature walls, kitchens and media rooms.
Composite cladding can be a great addition to the interior of your home if you want to give it a more cosy look and feel. If you have a bar area inside your home, then you can clad the bottom of your bar or the area behind it to give the area a distinct look that still matches the rest of your décor.
Choose A Colour
Choosing the colour of your composite cladding is actually a rather important choice considering that you will be looking at it for up to 50 years if you look after it well.
If you are unsure of what colour to choose, Ecoscape offers free samples of our composite cladding materials so that you can get an up-close view of what each colour looks like.
If you use a first generation WPC cladding it will likely fade to become a few shades lighter a few weeks after it has been installed if it is on the exterior of a structure; however, the colour should stabilise after this, so it won’t fade all that much more after. This is an important factor to bear in mind. Our capped panel and slatted cladding won’t fade and are UV stable. One of the benefits of going with an Ecoscape capped composite product (Forma range).
If you are installing your composite cladding inside of your home, then it will contract and expand significantly less as the temperature is more consistent, owing to it not being exposed to the sun, rain, cold etc. This means that the composite cladding board will see less expansion and contraction.
Choose A Type Of Cladding
As mentioned above, the type of cladding you choose will depend on whether it is being installed inside your home or on your exterior walls.
You will easily be able to get away with installing uncapped composite cladding on the inside of your home, as it will need far less protection if it is not exposed to the elements.
If you are installing cladding on the exterior of your home, then capped composite cladding will be a better choice, as it will provide an extra layer of protection, which will come in handy if it is being exposed to the elements day and night for years on end. Capped cladding is much better and is anti scratch and stain resistant, you will also be less likely to see mil-drew and algae as there are no wood fibres on the surface layer of the product.
Capped composite cladding may cost you a little more, but it will allow your cladding to last much longer and keep its colour better.
Are You Installing Yourself, Or Will You Be Hiring A Professional?
While composite cladding is considered to be an easy installation, if you have limited knowledge of building and DIY, you might feel rather lost.
This is likely when it will be a better idea to hire a professional to install it for you, as installing your own cladding incorrectly can cause you to void your warranty and damage your composite cladding boards.
Before installing anything or getting anyone else to help you install your composite cladding, you should first see if you will need planning permission. If you live in a freestanding house outside of any estates or conservation areas, then you may not need any planning permission, but it will always be a good idea to make sure of this first.
Measure the Area Carefully
If the idea of climbing up a ladder and dangling a measuring tape down to someone else in order to get a measurement doesn’t appeal to you, then it might be a good idea to hire a contractor to help figure out how many composite cladding boards you will need to clad your home.
Ecoscape sells composite cladding by the board length, so getting a contractor to give you this measurement can help you plan when buying your composite cladding boards.
You should generally always buy slightly more cladding boards than you might need at first, as this will save you from having to order again in case any of your boards become damaged in some way during the installation process. Having some spare boards around will also come in handy if you need to do a repair at some point in the future as well.
The Ecoscape team are on hand to help with estimating. We will scale from architects drawings and provide you with a quotation, detailing out all the components needed. Once we send the quote across, please check to see that everything is in order before paying and arranging delivery as we cannot be liable for any miscalculation of components. We would always recommend allowing a minimum of 5% for waste and if the project involves laying the composite cladding diagonally then we would recommend 10%+.
The Finishing Touches: Accessorising Your Area
It is likely a good idea to leave your composite cladding alone, as decorating it with anything that needs to penetrate your boards will not be a good idea.
This is not to say that you cannot accessorise the area around your cladding, though. If your cladding is on the exterior of your home, then you can accessorise by planting some nice-looking plants in a flower bed next to the side of your home.
By adding LED strip lights into the rebate of the cladding board or small spots can create a cool look and add beautiful lighting to an area.
Safety Advice When Laying Composite Cladding
Any DIY project can be dangerous if you don’t take the correct precautions before getting started, so if you’re planning on installing your cladding yourself, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
You should always refer to the instruction manual when installing your cladding, as this will give you an idea of what tools you’ll be able to use without damaging your cladding and where the best places to install your clips would be.
You should always use safety goggles and gloves if you are planning on doing any angle grinding or drilling; otherwise, you could possibly end up with a nasty eye or hand injury that could have been avoided.
Here are some important things to consider when you are installing your cladding:
- Make sure to leave expansion gaps for when your cladding will inevitably expand during the hotter months of the year.
- Draw a chalk line to ensure that all of your clips are installed straight; otherwise, your cladding will end up with a slope.
- Make sure that when you are cutting your cladding boards, you cut them straight on a flat board with a circular saw; this will leave them with a softer finish.
- Place a waterproof membrane over your exterior wall, so that moisture will not reach the paint of your home.
Why Choose Ecoscape UK for Composite Cladding?
If you have been looking for a company that can supply your composite cladding boards, then you don’t need to look much further, as Ecoscape is the best in the business.
They have excellent warranties on all of their products, a wide range of colours to choose from, and they can deliver your composite cladding boards right to your doorstep.
How long does composite cladding last?
Composite cladding can last up to 50 years if it is looked after properly by being cleaned regularly. Ecoscape’s products come with a 25-year warranty, so you should at least be covered until then as well.
Is composite cladding more expensive than timber cladding?
Yes, composite cladding will normally be a bit more expensive than wood cladding when you initially purchase it; however, you will eventually make your money back by saving on maintenance products. On top of that, your property value might go up if you get high-quality cladding installed. Some hardwood timbers can be more expensive than composite (WPC) such as Oak and even some softwood cladding like Cedar.
Is uPVC cladding better than composite cladding?
This will depend on your preference, but composite cladding has a much more natural look and feel to it. uPVC also tends to fade a lot sooner than composite cladding, so you should also bear this in mind.
While your first composite cladding project may seem daunting, Ecoscape has many professionals at your disposal who can help you get up to speed with the process.
Hire one of our Ecoscape customer service members to discuss all the above mentioned variables, or go to our product page to order some samples to your home and get the process started yourself!