How To Install Cladding

 

Choosing the right cladding material for your home will depend on the type of building, what it is being used for, budget considerations and the type of environment the structure is standing in. Whether you opt for timber, fibre cement, wood, uPVC or anything else, the next stage is getting ready to install it onto the exterior walls of the building.

While there are some variations involved in installing exterior wall cladding, the fundamentals remain the same in the vast majority of cases. Below we go into more detail about how to install cladding, so you can get the desired look you want for your property.

 

Before You Begin…

There are a few things to get organised before you start putting up the cladding. This preparation will make the job much easier while also keeping things organised.

  • If you are installing timber cladding the material will need to acclimatise before being installed onto the exterior wall. Unpack the timber and store it safely for a couple of weeks as this will allow enough time for the material to shrink to its right size.
  • Any existing cladding that is on the wall this will need to be removed before installation.
  • Clean down the side of the wall with a brush and make sure there are no loose pieces of brick or plaster hanging off. If there is then these will need to be removed.

 

Measuring

In order to know how much material will be required for the exterior of the building, the surface area will need to be measured correctly. This will involve getting the full length and width dimensions of each wall that is going to be clad and measuring them separately. Measurements of doors and windows will also have to be taken into account so the trims and channels being used can be prepared.

 

Ensure all the sheathing is complete

Before any type of cladding can be fixed onto the outside walls, the fibre or wood sheathing has to be completed first. These boards are meant to be applied to the outer rafters, studs or joists of the structure to strengthen the building and act as the base of the cladding.

Sheathing boards can be installed quickly and easily and ensure that water and wind cannot enter the interior of the building. The material also adds another layer of insulation and are usually put in place on new builds when the floor frame has been constructed.

 

 

House wrap and foam insulation

Two important stages of the project include adding two additional layers of protection around the building. These will help improve energy efficiency and increase weather protection. The first of these is house wrap which prevents mould, moisture and drafts from getting into the property. If the building is located in an area with a lot of rain and wind then including this is of particular importance.

Foam insulation should also be included as yet another layer of protection and to provide insulation for the building. This helps to lower thermal bridging – which are areas experiencing a break in insulation – and increase overall R-values.

 

Starter row

The starter row is the most important part of the cladding process and this first part is installed along the entire length of the wall at the bottom. This won’t be the case for every kind of material and will depend on the requirements of how it needs to be laid.

Getting this right will set the tone for the rest of the installation process. By making sure the first row is straight, it makes the subsequent sections much easier to fix into place.

 

Overlapping subsequent rows

For anyone using fibre cement board, vinyl cladding, timber cladding or metal cladding you must remember that every row has to overlap the top of the row underneath. This is essential because it is a layer of weather protection that prevents water from penetrating the rear of the cladding material. When you purchase the material and unpack it you will notice a declination line on the back of the cladding which is purposely put there by the manufacturer as a guide to help you get it right.

 

Finishing the wall

Once the cladding has been fixed securely and accurately in place, there will be a need to add a finish that will create the final aesthetic touch and provide an extra layer of protection. A good example of this is vinyl cladding which requires both J channels and corner pieces. In this case, the channels will have to be installed first before the trim and corner pieces are added to the wall once it has been finished. This also applies to other materials such as cement, brick and wood.