Timber cladding coating systems: a comprehensive guide
Timber cladding offers a durable and aesthetically pleasing external finish. Left uncoated, the wood weathers naturally over time to silver/grey which is a popular option for many projects. However, at Russwood, we offer many different in-house factory coatings for you to choose from. Our Head of Technical, Research and Development, Gareth Davies discusses each of these coating systems, detailing the benefits and maintenance that comes with them, to help you choose correctly and achieve your desired performance objectives.
What options are there?
Maintaining timber cladding, like any cladding material, is a necessity. This can span from periodically removing cobwebs and dirt to a more intensive process involving a sandpaper rubdown and whole reapplication. The level of maintenance required will depend on the individual project, and the owner’s preferences. For any project the maintenance aspect should be fully considered when selecting a surface coating. In our experience, we’ve noticed that the appetite towards maintenance tends to reduce over time.
At Russwood, we provide a comprehensive range of coating options, catering to a diverse set of preferences and requirements. We currently offer a film-forming paint system from Finnish firm Teknos, a penetrating oil finish by Denmark based Woca, and the SiOO:X Wood Protection system from Sweden.
Teknos paint system: film forming
We offer a vacuum-coated painted cladding from Teknos which promises a consistent, high quality finish under factory-controlled conditions.
- Colour versatility and UV protection: The high film build paint system can be tinted to a wide range of colours. In opaque colours this offers a high degree of UV resistance, giving longer service life between maintenance cycles.
- High durability: Traditional film forming paints can offer high durability, and last long periods of time with minimal maintenance when used appropriately.
- Protection from weather: The paint film creates a protective barrier over the surface of the wood, protecting it from rain and other weather elements.
- Higher maintenance: While paint systems of this type can last longer than low build oils or ‘stains’, they will require some more time and effort when it does come time to reapply. Painted surfaces should be cleaned and lightly abraded with sandpaper, then coated with 1-2 layers of paint.
- Issues if not maintained: Painted surfaces that are allowed to deteriorate over a longer term can suffer cracking and peeling, leading to more time consuming maintenance.
- Deterioration over time: Film forming paints can deteriorate when subject to movement, and subsequently work best on very stable materials such as our Accoya® or Thermopine®. For maximum service life our Accoya® cladding offers unrivalled paint performance.
Woca oil: penetrating oil finish
Woca Oil is a superior quality advanced water-based formula specifically designed to protect and beautify timber cladding. We recommend Woca Oil coating on our Thermally modified products Abodo® and Thermopine®.
- Enhanced wood grain: Oil-based coatings allow more of the natural beauty and figure of the wood to show through than paints.
- Deep penetration: These coatings penetrate deeply into the wood fibres, providing excellent protection against moisture and a matt appearance.
- Easy maintenance: The re-application of oil-based coatings is relatively straightforward, and involves cleaning the surface and reapplying the coating with a brush or roller. This is a straightforward process, and can often be carried out on a DIY basis without any specialist skill or experience.
- Flexible: Oil-based coatings allow greater flexibility for maintenance time-scales. When oiled finishes are due a maintenance coat they may begin to fade and show wear, but they are not susceptible to cracking or peeling like a painted finish. This means oiled cladding can be refreshed at a convenient time, and cost/effort is not dramatically increased if the cladding is left unattended for a longer time.
- Shorter lifespan: While oil-based coatings offer protection, they can require more frequent reapplication than paints to maintain their appearance and effectiveness. This varies by location, species, colour and surface finish.
- Less UV protection: Oil-based coatings generally provide lower UV protection than opaque film-forming paints, which can lead to the colour fading over time.
SiOO:X Wood Protection
SiOO:X is a unique silicate based surface modification treatment, which can give a consistently weathered look without the wait. We recommend SiOO:X with our Scotlarch®, Thermopine®, Abodo® and Grandis Select® cladding.
- Attractive grey colour: SiOO:X can achieve a light driftwood grey appearance, or a soft muted grey tone that fits naturally into the environment.
- Enhanced wood grain: SiOO:X allows the natural grain and structure of the wood surface to be on full display.
- High durability: SiOO:X can last 10+ years without maintenance.
- Easy maintenance (if needed): Further applications to refresh the cladding is straightforward, simply involving cleaning the surface and reapplying the coating. In our experience the majority of customers choose to leave their SiOO:X coated cladding without maintenance, as the grey effect blends back to the naturally weathered appearance of the wood.
- Colour choice: SiOO:X is currently only available in Original, Light and Mid Grey versions.
- Surface textures: SiOO:X, and particularly the pigmented versions work best on roughened surfaces. For optimal performance a planed finish is best avoided.
Below is a comparison image of boards with SiOO:X applied (left) and without (right) –
SiOO:X (Left) vs uncoated (Right)
Making the right choice
The choice between film-forming paints, oil-based coatings and SiOO:X for timber cladding depends on your priorities. Ultimately, your decision should align with your aesthetic preferences, and be manageable within the maintenance program for the building. This ensures your timber cladding remains attractive for many years to come.
For more information on any of our coating systems, please contact our Sales or Architect Liaison Technician teams here and we will be happy to assist you.