Timber cladding for building refurbishment

Date Published

17 August 2022

Document Type




Refurbishment of buildings that are structurally sound is increasingly popular. Timber over-cladding is often chosen to refresh elevations, in order to improve their appearance or weather resistance or protect additional insulation applied to the exterior of a building.

This Wood Information Sheet (WIS) describes cladding over existing masonry-clad buildings where the masonry will be retained. In the case of existing lightweight cladding (such as timber boards, shingles, render etc) it is preferable to remove the existing cladding and install a new insulated timber cladding system using these principles.

The choice of cladding material is just part of the solution. Designers must also consider various issues that arise when a new cladding system is installed, particularly insulation and weather protection standards that are certain to have increased since the building’s original design.

Key Information

As a lightweight system, timber over-cladding imposes little increased loading.

Timber, as a sustainable material, can improve the environmental rating of any building.

Cladding can improve weather resistance or appearance even if it does not involve insulation.

Self-supporting systems can be prefabricated.

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Case studies

Most timber used in buildings today is machined, glued and fabricated, creatingstandard products from what was a very
non-standard element, a tree.

The architect James Wyman has designed and built a small live work studio in an Oxford garden. It is distinguished by the careful detailing of its timber elements, winning the Small Projects category of the Wood Awards in 2014.