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Natural Wood in Facade Finishing.

Wood is widely used in various aspects of life. For many centuries, it has been considered the best construction material for various purposes. When it comes to facade finishing, natural wood is the best choice for those who appreciate the natural beauty of its forms, shades, and textures.

We recommend using facade boards made of thermowood from hardwood species in a plank format with beveled edges. Such a choice will not only last a long time but also exude an expensive and luxurious appearance. Speaking of trendy exterior materials, it's best to steer clear of cladding facades with paneling or log siding, as they are no longer relevant in modern finishing materials.

Exterior Finishing with Natural Wood

The durability and appearance of a facade depend greatly on the choice of wood species. It is best to use wood from trees that grow in our region for cladding facades. Pine, spruce, oak, cedar, ash, and beech are the most cost-effective wood species available. Exotic wood species such as cumaru, ipe, zebrano, teak, and others are also offered in the facade materials market, but their practicality, durability, and compatibility with Russian climatic conditions are questionable.

Softwood, such as pine and spruce, contains a high amount of resin that has antiseptic properties, protecting the wood from fungal and mold infestations as well as harmful insects. Pine is ideal for exterior cladding in humid climates, as it is resistant to moisture and decay. While spruce is slightly less durable than pine in terms of resistance to decay, it is still a good option.

Among hardwood species, oak and ash are considered the best for facade cladding due to their density. According to the Brinell hardness test, oak has a hardness of 3.7 and ash has a hardness of 4. Therefore, products made from oak or ash are highly resistant to wear and mechanical impacts. Additionally, oak and ash wood have high viscosity, which gives them flexibility and the ability to withstand various loads, such as compression and tension. They also hold nails and screws well, which is important for long-term use.

The most practical solution is cladding facades with thermally modified wood, which undergoes a thermal treatment at high temperatures (above 180°C). This process alters the cellular structure of the wood, leading to improved properties. Thermally modified wood is more durable, stable in size under changing humidity and temperature conditions, and less prone to absorbing moisture from the air.

In production, all wooden materials undergo special kiln drying and are treated with antiseptics to enhance their strength. The finished products are categorized into grades and classes. For example, siding is divided into 4 classes and marked accordingly: Extra (0), A (1,2), B (3), and C (4). The higher the class, the higher the price of the product.

The finishing materials market offers wooden facade boards in the form of planks, siding, imitation of timber, blockhouse, clapboard, battens, and more.

1. Planks.

Finishing the facade with clapboard

A plank is a board with chamfered edges at all four corners. There are two main types of planks: straight planks (with straight sides, without any slopes) and diagonal planks (one side protrudes forward, with a slope of approximately 45-70 degrees).

For the classic installation of straight planks, they are placed edge-to-edge, while diagonal planks are overlapped. In both cases, the planks are secured in a way that leaves a small gap between the panels, allowing for ventilation and preventing moisture from condensing in the gaps. In high humidity conditions, the wood may expand slightly, but this does not lead to deformation of the entire structure.

The typical dimensions of a plank are as follows: width 80-180 mm, length 1000-3000 mm, and thickness 20 mm.

2. Cladding board

Exterior House Finishing with Siding

Paneling is a cladding board made from natural wood, which, based on its profile (shape), can be divided into Europaneling, imitation of timber panels, blockhouse, and American paneling. It is low-maintenance, interchangeable, and allows for a wide range of staining and painting finishes. During installation, individual components of the structure are joined using a tongue-and-groove principle.

Standard paneling can have a width of 75-200 mm, thickness of 10-40 mm, tongue and groove size of 4-5 mm, and lengths up to 6 meters. Europaneling typically has a width of 80-120 mm, thickness of 13-19 mm, tongue and groove size of 8-9 mm, and lengths up to 6 meters.

3. Imitation Timber (False Timber)

Imitation Timber (False Timber)

Imitation timber is a wooden plank that closely resembles the wall of a house constructed from solid timber logs. Installation of these planks is typically done horizontally onto a framework of logs placed perpendicular to the planks at a distance of 500-800 mm (with the panels oriented with their ridges facing upwards). The planks are secured using a tongue-and-groove principle on top of an insulation layer.

The average dimensions of imitation timber planks are as follows: cross-section ranging from 16 x 136 mm to 21 x 185 mm, length varying from 2 to 6 meters, and a thickness of 20-25 mm.

4. Blockhouse siding

Finishing the house with blockhouse siding

Log house siding is a semi-circular wooden board on the front side, closely resembling the walls of a log cabin made from massive rounded logs. The installation of these boards follows a tongue-and-groove principle on a pre-prepared surface, with the groove fitting snugly onto the tongue. The first board is placed in such a way that the groove securely locks onto the tongue.

The average dimensions of log house siding boards range from 21x96 mm to 45x230 mm, with lengths varying from 2 to 6 meters.

5. Wooden siding

Fascade made of shingles, clapboard, and wattle.

A shingle is a small-sized wooden plank, crafted either manually (hand-split shingle) or through mechanized means (sawn shingle). Shingle installation is carried out on a lath in such a way that it forms two layers, with a gap of 3-5 mm between the planks, and a minimum of 3 cm spacing between adjacent rows.

Average shingle dimensions: length 20-80 cm, width 60-250 mm, thickness 6-15 mm.

6. Louvered facade (louvered panels).

Railing Facades of Private Residences

Rails, as a product made of natural wood, are not commonly used as a facade material and serve more of an aesthetic rather than a practical function. They have gained more popularity in interior room decoration.

The use of a lath facade in exterior finishing implies the presence of the main house insulation with special materials designed for this purpose. The main advantage of a lath facade is its decorative appearance. A lightweight, airy, and stylish facade stands out favorably from standard options. Reeds become the main decorative element, sometimes hiding wall irregularities or other facade imperfections.

Lath facades help "escape" in hot climates, as interior spaces are protected from direct sunlight. At the same time, natural light still enters through the gaps between the slats. Although more tightly mounted slats can protect the house not only from the sun but also from the wind.

The material can be attached to the facade in various ways - vertically, horizontally, diagonally, offering ample opportunities for designers and architects to get creative.

An interesting design solution is the use of shutter-like structures made of reeds as an extension of the facade.

The installation of all facade wood is carried out on a wooden or metal lath, following the principle of creating ventilated facades. This is necessary for natural ventilation of the wooden boards, moisture drainage, preserving the insulation properties of the material, and maintaining a healthy indoor microclimate.

Some undeniable advantages of cladding the facade with natural wood include the ability of wood to withstand significant mechanical loads, resistance to oxidation, resistance to the action of aqueous solutions of salts and acids. Some wood species even possess unique water resistance.

Despite the different forms and types of wood products and wood species, decorative materials made of natural wood have common positive and negative aspects.

Pros of the material:

  • High aesthetic qualities.

  • High insulating properties regarding heat, sound, and electricity.

  • Environmentally friendly.

Cons of the material:

  • Relatively low durability compared to natural stone or facing brick.

  • The need for additional maintenance costs to extend the service life (periodic painting, treatment with antiseptics, and other protective compounds).

  • Combustibility and easy flammability.

Modern architecture with natural wood facade finishing.

Natural wood is one of the most traditional and attractive materials for exterior building finishes. Its natural beauty and unique characteristics make it a popular choice for creating appealing and durable facades. Here is detailed information about using natural wood in facade finishes:

Advantages of Natural Wood for Facades:

  1. Aesthetic Appeal: Wood possesses natural beauty, texture, and a warm appearance that adds coziness and natural elegance to a building. Its natural shades and patterns create a unique facade.

  2. Environmental Compatibility: Natural wood is an environmentally friendly material. Its extraction and processing do not cause environmental pollution, and it is biodegradable.

  3. Thermal Insulation: Wood has natural thermal insulation properties, helping maintain a comfortable climate inside the building and reducing energy consumption.

  4. Easy Processing: Wood is easily processed, allowing for various design elements such as carving and milling.

  5. Individuality: Each type of wood has unique characteristics, enabling the creation of diverse styles and textures. The choice of wood depends on the desired effect and design.

Disadvantages of Natural Wood for Facades:

  1. Maintenance: Wood requires regular maintenance, including painting, varnishing, and treatment with moisture, insect, and fungus repellents.

  2. Susceptibility to Damage: Wood can be susceptible to rot, decay, and damage from pests if not properly maintained.

  3. Cost: High-quality natural wood can be expensive. However, more budget-friendly wood options are available.

  4. Fire Hazard: Depending on the type of wood and treatment, it may be less fire-resistant compared to some other materials.

Popular Types of Wood for Facades:

  1. Oak: Beautiful texture and durability. Oak wood is known for its high strength and resistance to moisture, making it a popular choice for facades. It has a beautiful texture and can be used in its natural or painted form.

  2. Cedar: Resistance to rot and natural oils. Cedar wood is naturally resistant to rot and insects due to its high oil content. Its reddish or yellowish hue creates a warm atmosphere.

  3. Pine: Accessibility and ease of processing. Pine wood has a natural light color and is an affordable option for facades. It can also be painted in various colors.

  4. Merbau: Tropical wood with excellent durability. Merbau is a hard tropical wood with a reddish-brown color and excellent resistance to moisture and decay. It's ideal for harsh climates.

  5. Redwood: Beautiful color and texture. Redwoods like mahogany or South and Central American redwoods have a rich red hue and outstanding aesthetic qualities.

  6. Spruce: Budget-friendly option. Spruce wood is usually more accessible and suitable for budget projects but requires protection from moisture and pests.

  7. Teak: Durable and resistant. Teak wood is known for its strength and resistance to moisture. It's often used in marine construction and for creating long-lasting facades.

  8. Poplar: Environmentally friendly material with a neutral light color and texture. Poplar's light texture and neutral color make it easy to paint and style facades.

It's essential to choose the right type of wood based on climate conditions, budget, and facade design. Regular maintenance and protection measures are crucial to extending the wood's lifespan and preserving its beauty for years to come.

Maintenance of Natural Wood on Facades:

  1. Regular cleaning to remove dirt and dust.

  2. Periodic painting or varnishing for weather protection.

  3. Application of antiseptics and anti-fungal treatments.

  4. Replacement of damaged boards as needed.

Natural wood in facade finishes adds natural charm and style to a building but requires diligent care and treatment to maintain its beauty and durability.

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