Composite vs wood. Composite cladding is a synthetic material made to look like a natural material, most commonly wood or stone. When you are choosing an exterior material for your building you want a balance between an attractive material and a weatherproof surface. The facade of a building is the most visible part and as such you want it to look its best. Cladding is an extremely simple way to do this. It can be applied quickly to lift the look of a building. Once it's erected it can insulate your house better and make exterior walls last longer.
Composite cladding is made of plastics and timbre off cuts. While it is less sustainable than using wood, some cladding companies produce their product from recycled plastic to reduce its impact. Wood was the traditional material for cladding. While most sources of wood cladding are sustainable the material relies on careful forestry. Cedar has been farmed in North America for half a century and is proven to be sustainable.
Composite cladding, like most plastics, is extremely durable. It doesn’t rot, is watertight, and is hard to break. Weatherproofing wood cladding is done in two ways. Softwood is pressure treated with chemicals to provide the correct firmness while hardwood doesn’t require a surface treatment. Coatings can increase the waterproofing of timber without maintenance; there is a chance of rotting, chipping, or swelling.
The solid structure of composite cladding means it can be cleaned and its surface requires little maintenance. Wooden cladding like most outdoor wooden furniture requires cleaning. Seasonally brushing, cleaning, reapplying any wood stain or coating,
If you’re looking at breaking up large stretches of brickwork or render, wood cladding gives a warm natural appearance that tends to be what people want. Most composites attempt to replicate a wood texture because of this. While some manage it very well it’s always going to look a little fake compared to the real thing. Wood cladding can be painted, stained, or otherwise coloured into a variety of natural and unnatural shades. This process can be repeated with old paint being sanded off and replaced to provide a new appearance to the facade. Colouring over composites is possible but a little more difficult. Certain outdoor paints adhere well to the cladding but some peel away due to the sealed surface texture of the material. Paints that can adhere to composites are likely difficult to remove. This makes changing the colour of the material less practical than with wood cladding.