Western Red Cedar Cladding

Date: 14/08/2015

Western Red Cedar cladding is beautiful and naturally resistant to environmental damage. This removes the need for toxic chemical preservatives whilst creating a stunning maintenance free exterior for your garden room. All of our garden room cladding is sourced from sustainably managed forests, offering alternatives on request.

Cedar CladdingThere are various reasons why we choose to use Western Red Cedar in our garden rooms. The wood contains natural oils that increase its resistance to moisture and humidity, making it less likely to warp, twist, or rot. It also contains natural air pockets which improve the insulation and can minimise sound vibration throughout the building.

The garden room cladding provides stunning design as well as being extremely eco-friendly which is why we supply it as standard. If you prefer something different – please just ask! Here is a list of alternatives.

What is Western Red Cedar Cladding?

Cedar comes in two varieties – British White and the Red Northern American variety. Although they are that same species, they grow very differently due to climate contrast. The warm natural colours will vary depending on the source, but can range from amber to a deep reddish-brown, and over time the colour usually changes to a lovely, silvery grey. This is in addition to the appealing smell which is often retained for many years following installation.

Historically, it was used in its natural state but technological advancement has now transformed this material. It can be produced as luxurious planks or shingles profiles which are overlapped to create a unique look. Tongue-and-groove installations can also be created to give a smooth even finish or installed vertically.

Shingles are narrow slices of wood squared off to standard sizes or if required they can be cut to different shapes, which are used to create patterns on the side of buildings.

Both types of Cedar are very durable but each have individual qualities such as:

  • Red Cedar tends to be more resistant to decay but ages to a darker colour. In up to 96% of cases it has a clearer grading with few to no knots in the wood. It’s tone variations range from beautiful pinks to browns.
  • White cedar grows faster and is locally produced. This garden room cladding is much cheaper to obtain due to the lack of shipping costs and is also environmentally friendly. In terms of appearance, it’s a knottier wood but still as stunning as the Red Cedar.

Maintenance and appearance

As with most natural materials, Cedar will require minimal maintenance to maintain its appearance. Western Red Cedar is a superbly durable and elegant form of sustainable timber cladding and as such can be left untreated with no additional maintenance for over 20 years. However, it will begin to fade in colour within a few months, gradually taking on a lighter appearance until it eventually turns to a silvery-grey finish. For most of us, this is an attractive ageing process of oxidation, a natural occurrence as the external face of the Cedar fades under the impact of UV light.

To ensure this garden room cladding maintains its durability and longevity, we recommend that you follow these simple steps:

  • Every 3-4 months, brush the Cedar when it’s dry with a soft sweeping brush to remove any debris, notably dirt particles which can splash onto the surface.
  • To minimise such splash-backs, we recommend that you install a 30cm wide margin of gravel around the full perimeter of the building (a small size gravel, such as pea shingle, or other small stone is ideal). Without this, each time it rains onto bare ground or lawn, small dirt particles will splash onto the Cedar.
  • Never bank up soil against the side of your Studio. Always maintain a gap of at least 5cm (2 inches) around the structure to ensure that adequate air-flow can be maintained. Your timber structure needs to breathe in order to stay dry and prevent the ingress of any moisture.
  • Similarly, keep all neighbouring shrubs well-trimmed and away from the structure so that there is no opportunity for water ingress.
  • If you want to further preserve the Cedar and prevent the oxidation process (turning silvery-grey), Green Studios can advise you on further treatments which may be applied to properly seasoned Cedar.

Safety Aspects

Cedar garden room cladding can be a very attractive option once it’s treated with a fire retardant. Only a few companies provide ‘fire proofed Cladding’ but it’s essential for safety. Once it has been treated it will be as resistant to fire as any other building material.

British regulations stipulate that any garden building with over 15 square metres internal floor area, must comply with a 1 metre boundary gap to control any possible spread. Alternatively, it must have been treated with a specialist fire-retardant coating, as part of a package of additional fire-safety measures. This is to ensure that the building can be considered to be constructed of largely non-combustible materials.

Fire-proofing Cedar is a specialist process – it’s difficult to achieve, labour-intensive and costly and only one element of a package of measures. These are used to ensure that a timber building, which is primarily constructed of combustible materials, can be transformed into a non-combustible package, to comply with fire-safety requirements under building regulations.

It is often simpler and less expensive to simply leave a 1m gap between the building and all garden boundaries. However, Green Studios has the expertise to ensure that beautiful Cedar Cladding can be used on larger buildings, in close proximity to garden boundaries.

Real life examples

western red cedar claddingOther leading edge architects and designers use Cedar cladding – take a look at Kew Gardens who are using native British grown Cedar – they’ve created a huge extension to the existing Herbarium using Red Cedar wood. To-date it’s still performing well and you can view it here.

“Our own test” – we use Cedar Cladding on 99% of our garden room installations, either tongue and groove profiles or the more contemporary open-boarded option now in use.

To date we have only used North American Western Red Cedar as it’s the most attractive “clear” (knot-free) option with a wide tonal variation. However, we recently adapted our small showroom facility located at our production premises in Hertfordshire with a single wall of British White Cedar, added in September 2013, in order to assess its suitability for future use.

The Kew example has proven its durability and attractiveness on a large scale installation. We are now trialing its use and early signs indicate we’ll likely begin to offer it as an alternative, equally durable, though, less costly option alongside our usual Canadian Cladding.

We can clad our buildings in any number of alternative Cladding materials, such as man-made boards, other timbers, render finishes and brick slips – If you want to find out more about Western Red Cedar Cladding or any other garden room cladding materials, just arrange an appointment with a Green Studios designer to chat further.

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