Timber cladding is a hugely popular option with garden room designers and buyers. It is a key design feature of both contemporary and traditional garden room designs. Wood cladding also adds an extra layer of thermal insulation to the build-up, and the cladding species chosen for a garden room are highly durable with long lifespans.
While garden rooms clad in Western Red Cedar, Siberian Larch or Thermowood are generally low maintenance due to the natural properties of of the timbers; they will change colour and look aged if left unprotected. If you do choose to maintain the 'new' colour, you are setting yourself up for ongoing maintenance.
Low maintenance timber cladding alternatives
There are other cladding options that you can choose for the exterior of your garden room that are either maintenance-free or only require minimal maintenance to stay looking good. We are seeing more and more buyers choose one of these seven finishes for their garden room building.
A quick look at 7 alternatives to timber clad garden rooms
Plastisol Coated Steel Cladding
Plastisol coated steel panels can form the outer leaf of an insulated timber frame build-up. Plastisol is a PVC finish that comes in a range of colours. The surface of the panels has a subtle leather grain texture.
Plastisol steel coating has a lifespan of 25+ years. This is one of the reasons that Booths Garden Studios use it on their buildings. Each Booths Garden Studio is designed to be maintenance free for 25 years.
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Composite Wood Cladding
Composite wood cladding is growing in popularity. The finsh has improved greatly over the last few years. The colours and finishes are more realistic than when it first came on the market.
Composite wood is a mixture of resins and wood fibres that are pigmented during the manufacturing process. Composite wood will maintain its colour as it ages, and does not require painting.
There are ranges of modular composite garden rooms. They make use of composite wood cladding both inside and out. While a quick, cost-effective option, they do limit your options to personalise the building.
The higher-spec option is to mix composite wood cladding with an insulated timber frame. This gives you the flexibility to specify the internal finishes etc too.
Stone cladding offers character and texture, unlike any other cladding option. There are several finishes to choose from, from contemporary grey slate to characterful cream stone. Some companies offer brick finishes.
Corrugated Steel Cladding
Another steel cladding option is corrugated steel also known as wriggly tin. It has been long used for agricultural buildings and is becoming a popular choice in contemporary garden room design. Often mixed with a timber cladding, it could be used on its own for the whole building. It is available in a galvanised finish or with a Plastisol colour coating in a range of colours.
Tricoya panelling is a highly durable, exterior-grade MDF sheet. It has a lifespan of around 50 years. A few bespoke garden room designs offer it. Being MDF it can be machined to create different joint profiles. It needs a paint finish, so it requires some ongoing maintenance.
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Cement Fibre Boards
Cement fibre boards are a popular low maintenance option in garden room design. As the name suggests, they are a mixture of fibres and cement, that have pigment added during the manufacturing process.
Cedral is a popular brand, and comes in a wide palette of colours and in both smooth and wood grain surface textures. It is fitted in planks to give that traditional cladding appearance. Some companies choose to use cement fibre board in large sheets which they paint with masonry paint.
Cement fibre boards are an integral part of a Building Regulation compliant garden room build-up. For this reason, they are often specified on projects that are built tight to the boundaries of the garden.
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Some bespoke garden room companies offer render either for the whole building or mixed with timber finishes. It is often chosen when a sharp contemporary finish is required.
As lovely as timber cladding is, you can see there are some great cladding alternatives to consider for your garden room.