New Houses and Wood Cladding


1stAssociated can provide help and advice with regard to building surveys, structural surveys, independent valuations, property surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, home buyers reports or any other property matters. As you can see from this article we use lots of sketches and photos in our reports as the feedback we have from our clients is that the sketches and photos help them understand the reports.

We, of course, like to meet you at the property during the survey and we are more than happy to talk to you about the reports. Please free phone 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat with one of our surveyors.

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Wood Cladding

Problem with timber cladding at high level but can you spot the other problem with timber cladding

You will have noticed that a lot of houses have wood cladding, some of it treated and some of it untreated. In this article we are going to look at wood cladding on newer properties. You need to be aware that if you are buying a house wood cladding can be expensive to repair.


Wood Cladding Falling Off


If you look closely at the house in the photograph on the right hand side, you will see that it has timber cladding from the first floor upwards. You can see that around the second floor level the cladding is starting to come away and the timber warping. You can even see the block work behind the timber cladding. The problem with this is that when timber cladding built like this warps, it allows dampness to get behind the rest of the timber cladding and you very quickly have a problem.

Close up of timber cladding

If you look at the close up of the timber cladding you can see the block work behind. It doesn't take much to imagine how the water can get behind the cladding when it is opened up and twisted in this way. If you look back at the first photograph, there is in the distance another property which has had scaffold erected to the entirety of the three floors, to carry out repair work to the timber cladding. Unfortunately when scaffolding is required to carry out work it can add many thousands of pounds to the problem.

Is water staining the first sign of problems?

We think that water staining to timber can be the first sign there is a problem because it shows uneven discharge of water down the structure. This continual excessive wetting of one area we feel is bound ultimately to cause defects. This photograph is of a block of modern flats. If you take the time to look around you will see it is a very common cladding material. We think that any timber getting this wet is certain to expand and contract and ultimately warp as well as rot.


Rain Cladding

Large Block of flats in a style you could probably see anywhere in the UK

The walls are formed with brickwork and a cladding.

Close up of the wall showing that it is formed in a mixture of brickwork and rain cladding

When you buy a property you may not even realise that you have rain cladding. This is being used extensively on larger properties for example, flats and apartment blocks. We have also seen it used on houses. It consists of a boarding that is open jointed. This is known as a rain cloak or rain cladding as it weathers the first contact with the rain or snow for example, driving rain or hailstones.

Although it is open jointed the outer cladding is not meant to be waterproof. The waterproof layer is behind the cladding.


The Waterproof Layer not being Waterproof

Close up of the rain cladding

Warping rain cladding panel

We have come across two different problems with this type of board cladding. Firstly, the waterproof layer behind it is not waterproof which results in dampness getting into properties. Unfortunately when these problems are four stories high you can imagine the difficulty in first getting up to four stories in height where you will need a cherry picker or some sort of lifting device just to investigate.

You then need to scaffold up to this height and remove the rain cladding board and repair the area that is not waterproof. In our experience, leave for a while just to double check that you have repaired the right area.


Warping Cladding Boards

Coping stone detail above the rain cladding

We would also advise that we have come across warping rain cladding boards. This may be because the case we saw they hadn't been fixed at each of the corners. The example we were involved with had a tiny screw fixing at each of the corners and also through the span of the board on the perimeter. Some of these had not been screwed in however, we have shown you in the photograph an example where the board was secured in yet it still warped. It could be argued that as this board is only a rain cladding board it's the waterproof layer behind but at the very least, it looks unsightly and at best it could be an indication of the general quality of workmanship on the project, with problems to come in the future.

We would refer you also to our various articles on walls and timber. These are:

Wall issues

Woodworm treatment


Independent Surveyor's Advice

If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a surveyor with regard to structural surveys, building surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, defects report, including things such as cracks, dampness, condensation, foundation problems, etc, dilapidations, homebuyers reports or any other property matters please free phone 0800 298 5424 for a Surveyor to give you a call back.


Independent Commercial Property Surveyors

If you have a commercial property, be it leasehold or freehold, then you may wish to look at our Dilapidations Website at and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site .

We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).

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