Cladding is a contemporary solution to providing your home with a new look on your exterior walls while at the same time protecting it against the elements and providing efficient insulation in the wake of rising energy prices.
Wood cladding has long been the most popular option when it comes to cladding materials, as it is relatively affordable and versatile in terms of finishes. In recent years, however, composite cladding has become a favoured alternative to wood or other cladding materials, and you might be wondering why.
There are many benefits to composite cladding, and its popularity might make you wonder whether affordability in price compared to wood is one of them. In this article, we will discuss the actual price of plastic-wood cladding and why it may not be cheaper than timber cladding initially but can provide a better return on your investment in the long run.
The Difference Between Wood and Composite Cladding
To understand the difference in the price of composite cladding and traditional timber cladding, it is important to understand the difference between these two materials and their properties.
Timber cladding is probably one of the most commonly used cladding materials in the UK market and has been favoured by many house owners for years.
Timber cladding boards come in a variety of finishes, and customers get to choose from a wide variety of wood, such as softwood, for instance, pine or cedar, or hardwood, such as teak. It protects the property from external influences, specifically the weather, while charming owners and passersby with a traditional and very neat look.
Wood siding or cladding does require to be treated, either pressure-treated or sanded and sealed, as well as painted on occasion. This process needs to be redone, sometimes several times a year, which is an important fact to keep in mind, as we will get back to this a little later.
Composite is a material that has grown in popularity for all kinds of outdoor projects such as cladding, decking and even fencing. It is made of recycled materials such as reclaimed wood fibre, such as scrap wood or sawdust, and recycled plastic from plastic bags or bottles, for instance.
Based on the composition of materials and the manufacturing process, composite cladding is an extremely durable material that requires low maintenance. On top of this, the materials are usually extremely lightweight and weather- as well as water-resistant.
Now that you have a rough understanding of the two different cladding materials, you will take a direct look at the price of the materials.
Please keep in mind that these prices do fluctuate with the market availability as well as the supplier you are going for.
The average cost of timber cladding per square metre lies at about £40. Keep in mind that hardwood such as teak can be much more expensive than your average timber house cladding. So you generally look at an average price range of £20 to £60 per square metre when it comes to timber.
Our composite cladding boards are sold for £55.88 per square metre, but generally, the average price range lies between £40 and £75 per square.
This direct comparison of material costs already shows you that timber is, in fact, cheaper to purchase in the majority of cases. But this is only the initial price you will be paying when it comes to installing cladding on your home. There are plenty of other costs to consider, and not all of them are completely monetary.
When it comes to the installation, both materials are very similar in the way they can be handled. As composite cladding is also partially made of organic material, it can be cut and sawn similar to wood.
This means that the installation price of composite wall cladding and timber cladding remains relatively the same. The daily rate of labour costs for wood or composite cladding lies between £150-£200.
Prices can vary greatly depending on the region you’re in as well as based on the square metre coverage you are going for.
If you want to save some money in this department, you can try to DIY the installation, given that you have some handy skills and the necessary tools available to you.
However, when it comes to mounting it onto your exterior walls, you should note that you shouldn’t drill or screw into a composite cladding board, unlike wood cladding. This can damage the structural integrity of the material.
This is likely where you will find the biggest price difference when trying to figure out whether your composite cladding is going to be cheaper than timber cladding for your house cladding project.
As mentioned earlier, not all costs are always considered to be monetary, and time is a big factor when it comes to valuing the actual house cladding cost of the material of your choice.
Wood Siding/ Cladding
Wood siding or cladding boards need to be sanded, potentially painted and sealed in order for them to withstand the influence of the elements and to protect your house effectively again extreme weather.
You will need to repeat this at least once, if not several times per year if your wooden cladding is exposed to extreme temperatures. On top of that, wood tends to warp and rot or splinter a lot faster, which will require you to replace some cladding boards after several years already.
The amount of time spent maintaining your exterior cladding if it is made of wood is definitely worth considering. Plus, the materials required to sand and treat your wood exterior cladding will eventually end up costing you quite a few quid as well.
As mentioned earlier, composite cladding is extremely low maintenance and only requires to be cleaned with warm soapy water and some elbow grease, or a high-pressure cleaner (if you own one), ever so often.
There is no need to seal or treat your composite cladding in any other way, and depending on which range you choose to go with, you will have a 20 to 25-year warranty and, thus, a long service life of your exterior cladding material.
Our composite cladding does not warp or splinter and is completely rot resistant, which means that you might never have to replace a board in your lifetime.
These facts make composite cladding a lot more cost-effective than wood and will save you a lot of time as well as money in the long run!
In recent years, people have started to consider the environmental impact of materials as a cost factor as well. The cost might not be carried by the consumers directly, but it can be seen as a cost to the environment.
The UK has been actively supporting environmentally friendly building projects and encourages residents to make their homes more energy efficient and eco-friendly.
Cladding, either wood or composite, is an amazing measure to do so, as it provides your home with vital insulation properties which keep in heat in winter as well as cool air during summer, making you save on your energy bill.
But the materials differ in their impact on the natural world.
Wood siding is most times FSC certified, meaning it comes from sustainably managed forests. However, your timber might have travelled quite a significant amount of kilometres on its way to your UK home, which has definitely caused a lot of CO2 emissions. Making it less environmentally friendly than you might think.
On top of that, the resources you require to maintain your timber cladding also require intensive manufacturing processes and sometimes carry harmful substances.
Our composite cladding, on the other hand, is made from 95% recycled materials and reclaimed wood from waste material that also came from sustainably managed forests. The fact that composite timber cladding is made with recycled plastic speaks for itself in terms of its CO2 footprint.
The fact that it lasts so much longer than timber is another indicator of the higher sustainability of composite cladding and thus makes it less taxing on the environment when compared to wood siding.
Here are some further important facts to know about composite cladding vs timber, which will likely give you some better insights as to why composite cladding is a bit more expensive in the initial purchasing phase, but so much more worth your money in the long run.
Does composite cladding last longer than wood?
Yes, it does. Our composite cladding comes with a 20 or 25-year warranty and will last you several decades, whereas wood will likely only last for about 20 years and has a way shorter warranty than that as well.
Does composite cladding warp?
No, composite cladding will not warp, unlike wood. Composite cladding does expand due to extreme temperatures (thermal expansion), but if you leave enough space between the boards (expansion gap), your boards will never warp or deter from their shape.
Wood can absorb moisture very quickly, which will make it expand much more than composite cladding and can lead to warping.
What are the main benefits of composite cladding?
Composite comes with a lot of benefits, starting with an easy installation all the way to low maintenance, but here are some of the best benefits of composite cladding as an overview:
- rot and mould resistant
- weather- and water resistant
- UV resistant (does not fade)
- high durability
- does not require paint or any other treatment
Composite products have become increasingly popular in the UK, and a high demand does definitely have certain effects on the prices of products, which is why it is fair to ask whether composite cladding is cheaper than wood cladding.
As this article has shown, as an initial purchase, composite cladding is not necessarily cheaper than wood. However, when taking into account that you will spend less maintenance money and time as well as costs on installing cladding and repairing your composite cladding, then this is a worthwhile investment which will end up being cheaper in the long run.
Invest in composite cladding from Ecoscape today and provide your home with a long-lasting and contemporary look, which will likely even increase your property value and definitely is worth every penny in the long term.