Thinking of cladding? What’s best for you.

Wood, PVC & Fibre Cement

 

When you are searching for different types of cladding solution for exterior application you will stumble upon the following:

  • fibre cement cladding 
  • Wood cladding 
  • uPVC (PVC or vinyl) cladding 

Wood being the more traditional product to use, uPVC and fibre cement solution claddings are often a more modern choice to use. Modern in the design choices and fibre cement especially in regards to the high safety. 

Each cladding type does have plenty of customizability, especially in regards to textures, colours, sizes, densities, and finishes. 

From horizontal ship-lapped fibre cement weatherboards or vertically installed painted wood, through to diagonally installed uPVC cladding we at the Facade corporation aim to highlight the best choices for you and give you an fair view. Our experience comes after many years of consultation with homeowners, architects and builders, we think that ultimately, the choice of exterior cladding type will come down to the following variables: 

  • Ease of installation 
  • Cost of project
  • Design aesthetics and choices available 
  • Maintenance and durability 
  • Safety characteristics: in particular the fire resistance of the cladding
fibrecement modern cladding construction

Aesthetics 

which type of cladding looks better? Wood cladding (most often made from western red cedar wood or larch) can be painted with stain, oils, or even left untreated for a totally natural look. 

Planks are available in several different styles, including chamfered channel cladding, beveled edge cladding, tongue and groove interlocked or ship-lapped effect. 

This allows for both traditional and modern design aesthetics. You can achieve a modern, seamless look with tongue-and-groove panels, or a rural look with board-and-batten. Vinyl/PVC/UPVC cladding comes in a variety of colours and sizes and offers both smooth and wood grain effect finishes. Despite the variety of more traditional effect finishes on offer, UPVc cladding is best used for a modern design as in our view, the wood effect and more natural finishes are easily seen through even when inspected from a curb-side distance. Up close, wood effect vinyl is fooling no-one. A unique combination of cellulose fibre and cementitious material, fibre cement cladding comes in long, horizontal strips, just like wood cladding planks. It is available in a wide range of colours – FASSCO offer endless choices in regards to painted or digitally printed boards.

Fibre cement does an extremely good job of replicating the look of painted wood. We are set up so that we can scan in high definition surfaces to then imitate these on the fibre cement substrate. This allows you to have the material you love but at a fraction of the cost. 

So decision wise on aesthetics, your choice of material really should come down to the look you want to achieve. Do you have your heart set on natural, untreated, unpainted wood? If so, there is really no substitute for cedar wood cladding. It can look very beautiful immediately after installation, although you should take into consideration the way the facade will date, and the likely maintenance and repair issues that will arise. If however you love the idea of a traditional or contemporary painted wood finish, but would rather pass on the ongoing heavy maintenance, a convincingly realistic fibre cement cladding such as FASSCO Desire fibrecement boards might just be the right solution for you. 

interior wall installation

Installation

which is the quickest & easiest? All three types of cladding form part of what’s known as a ventilated rainscreen facade. 

Rainscreen systems are designed to protect your home by offering a ‘double defence’ against the elements. Typically, houses are built using either timber frame or blockwork construction, and typically weatherboard cladding is mechanically fixed – with either nails, screws or clips – to timber battens over the substructure. 

Cladding allows rainwater to permeate the system, but is ventilated to dry out after adverse weather conditions. 

The installation of fibre cement, wood and UPVC cladding is similar. They are all affixed in the same way and there is no real winner here in terms of ‘speedier fixing’. 

Labour costs are approximately the same per square metre. Cladding installation can be made simpler and more efficient though through use of specialist tools; in the case of FASSCO Fibre cement panels we have a set of battery powred tools to our teams disposal making the installation an easy task no matter the location of height of the building.

Maintenance and durability

how long can I expect my cladding to last? With proper maintenance, wood cladding can last for many years. 
Cedar in particular is a very durable species of wood that resists rot and pests much better than other type of wood. 
With wood, the most important thing is to minimize exposure to moisture which can cause rot. 

This means you should maintain a finish coat of either paint or stain to seal the wood against the elements. Painted wood will need to be prepared and repainted every 5 years, while stain needs to be re-applied every 3 years. It’s important to upkeep maintenance on wood cladding as moisture movement can cause paint to crack and peel, leading to deterioration of the planks underneath. 

Fibre cement is extremely low-maintenance and requires (only if and when needed) a simple washing with a hose and soapy water. The FASSCO CLP-Shield on our fibrecement panels guaranteed not to crack, peel or chip for 20 years, with a life expectancy of 60 plus years. 

Fibre cement is also very durable. Because of its cement content, it is impervious to termites, woodpeckers and other pests. It resists rotting, warping, and cracking and will withstand extreme weather including rain, snow, hail, hot sun, and even hurricane-force winds. uPVC cladding, like fibre cement, is also low maintenance and has a similar life expectancy. Aesthetically, the finish tends to look more pristine for longer than natural wood, although unlike fibre cement, it can be susceptible to fading, warping, cracking and sagging over time. It also becomes brittle and susceptible to cracking in very cold or hot weather conditions.

Safety Characteristics

fire resistance of the cladding In the event of fire, your choice of cladding may make a difference to the amount of damage to your home. 

Wood cladding will add fuel to the flame, unless the cedar has been specially treated to be fire-retardant. 

Unfortunately in the event of a fire vinyl cladding does not perform well. Here you can see a side by side fire test of all three materials. FASSCO fibre cement panels are fire resistant and will not ignite when exposed to direct flame or extreme heat; it is non-combustible with a fire classification of A2, s1 d0 – the highest possible fire rating for a coloured facade board.

The verdict 

If you are looking for a durable, safe and aesthetically unique construction material for you facade cladding needs fibrecement is an ideal choice due to its many properties.
FASSCO panels in particular offer an endless choice in top surface decoration possibilities.
We would be thrilled to explain this closer to you and invite you to schedule a call with our sales team via the contact page on this site.

Get in touch! 

For more information about the application of fibre cement for your construction project please visit our product page. We look forward to hearing from you. 

Explore our Products

Interested in Fibrecement? Explore our Product Categories below.
classic coated fibrecement board

Classic

Monotone Acrylic top-coat

pearl iridescent fibrecement board

Pearl

metallic & iridescence coating

touch product group FASSCO fibrecement

Touch

acrylic spray-paint effect

printed fibrecement board

Desire

digital inkjet printing

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