In the last section of this guide we looked at the different materials used for garden office cladding, but the profile of cladding you choose can also influence the final look of your garden office. In this article we look at the popular cladding profiles and see how each affects the look of a garden office. We also look at cladding detailing and fixing.
Tongue & Groove Boards
Tongue & groove cladding is very popular in garden office design, it can be fixed vertically or horizontally it gives a flat finish with ‘v’ grooves, boards come in varying widths and in our opinion the narrower the board the more contemporary looking the finish. Tongue & groove boards with a ‘v’ joint up to 150mm wide are normally fixed with a secret nailing technique; this hides the fixing in the joint rather than damaging the face of the board. The nail is driven into the tongue/V joint of the board at an angle and the head of the nail sunk into the wood with a nail press, a small 2mm gap is left between each board to allow for movement. Tongue & groove cladding is available in many finishes the popular ones being Western Red Cedar, Redwood and Thermowood.
Shiplap has a lip at the bottom of the board and a scooped area at the top of the board, these two profiles lock into each other to form a secure joint. two nails are normally driven through the face of the board at 90o. Shiplap should be fixed horizontally from the bottom of the wall to the top. Shiplap comes in Western Red Cedar, Redwood and Thermowood and gives a garden office a traditional feel; shiplap garden offices are often painted.
Featheredge cladding comes in several finishes from treated softwood to oak, this type of cladding gives a garden office a traditional ‘barn’ like finish. Featheredge boards taper from around 18mm at the bottom to 6mm or so at the top. Featheredge boards are fixed from the bottom of the wall to the top, a strip of wood is normally placed at the bottom of the wall to ‘tilt’ the first board, each board laps the one below by about 50mm. Featheredge boards are normally fixed horizontally but can be fixed vertically.
Batten & Board Cladding
Batten & Board cladding is normally fixed vertically, a wide board is fixed to the wall with a narrower board fixed over the joint. Batten & Board cladding has a substantial feel and is available in all finishes from cedar to oak. Fixings are made through the face of the boards.
Open Joint Cladding
Open joint cladding is exactly that, the boards have a space between each joint, this type of cladding is normally fixed over some sort of waterproof membrane so that moisture doesn’t get into the building through the joints. Open joint cladding can be fixed vertically or horizontally, the narrower the board the more modern the building looks. This type of cladding looks great combined with smooth metal cladding and glass. Open joint cladding can be made of any wood as its simple planks; fixings are normally made through the face of the board.
If you are looking for a smooth finish for your garden office consider plywood sheeting, large 8ft x 4ft boards are fixed to the walls with a 2mm gap between each board. Exterior grade plywood should be used for this type of cladding as it has waterproof glues and it should have a decorative finish.
The final appearance of your garden office will be dictated by how good the detailing of the cladding is – it’s easy to fix straight lengths but what about the corners, eaves detail and around the windows. You would expect the corners to be neatly mitred or for corner posts to be used, corner posts come in two types one where the cladding butts into a square post and another where a ‘L’ shaped cover is fixed over the ends of the cladding. Look closely at the cladding detail on show buildings and in photos of previous builds, a good tip is to look at a garden office from an angle to see if the cladding lines are all level.
Softwood and hardwood claddings require different fixings, ring shank nails are used to fix softwood cladding as they provide more grip than normal wire nails. Nails are generally twice as long as the thickness of the board they are fixing. Stainless steel fixings should be used on woods such as Western Red Cedar whose natural oils can corrode other types of fixing. With hardwood cladding screws are normally used to fix boards rather than nails, boards should be pre drilled with oversized holes to allow for movement in the boards and its good practice to countersink the heads of the screws. Stainless steel screws should be used as hardwoods have high tannin levels which can corrode other types of fixing.
Cladding is normally fixed into treated battens, vertical cladding boards have horizontal battens whilst horizontal cladding will have vertical battens, battens should be no more than 600mm apart. Battens create a void behind the cladding which means any moisture that travels through the cladding runs down the back of the board and away from the building rather than travelling into the garden office wall structure.
As you can see there’s quite a lot to think about when it comes to your garden offices external cladding. In the next chapter of this guide we look at garden office insulation.