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11 Dec, 2012/ by Surveyor Local /News

Weathered and deteriorating timber cladding is a common sight among mock Tudor properties. These homes will usually have seen some upkeep and repair during their lifetime, but the work is often superficial, and can hide more serious defects, including wet rot and structural weakness.

The buyers of this semi-detached South London house were pleased to learn that this was not the case with the property they intended to buy. Other than some signs of decay, the timber cladding and rendered elements of the upper front elevation of the property were in good condition and had been recently treated with suitable weather-resistant coatings. The fixings used with the cladding on this property were wooden pegs, but buyers should be aware that rust staining will often occur where metal pegs are used. Appropriate weather protective paint is usually sufficient, but if the rust is occurring as a result of water is seeping behind the cladding and failing to drain away, it is likely a symptom of a more serious problem with the cladding and wall structure.

Contemporary use of timber cladding

Architects of contemporary commercial and residential property have increasingly included timber-clad elevations in their designs. The perceived value of timber from renewable sources as an environmentally sound building material has increased its popularity, but buyers of very modern  timber-clad homes should consider the potential for costly maintenance. As with any unfamiliar material or construction technique, there can be unexpected consequences of its use. Innovative design, particularly if corners are cut with the execution, can result in significant repair costs. Worse, these can arise soon after construction. If there is a "fatal flaw" in the manner the timber cladding has been applied, such as ineffective drainage behind the cladding, or use of a non-breathable render, the cladding may require wholesale rebuilding or replacement.

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