How Do I Fix Composite Cladding?
Composite cladding is a fantastic substitute for many more traditional materials such as timber. Whether used on a shed, garage, or extension it is versatile, reliable, and highly resilient in the face of extreme weather and temperature conditions. You’ll also find it user-friendly, making installation a breeze in many cases. However, you may not know where to start when it comes to installing this product, you may not know what equipment you’ll need, or which area of your project to start on.
This handy guide has been devised to give you a better idea of how best to go about fixing your cladding to your walls. We’ll briefly review composite cladding, some of the benefits, and of course the fixing process itself. Note that you will need multiple tools to carry this task out efficiently – to find out more, read below.
What is Composite Cladding?
Composite cladding is a relatively recent creation that makes use of more modern materials and production methods to offer an alternative to traditional timber wood cladding, which often doesn’t age particularly well unless given a lot of care and attention. It is a more economical, user-friendly, and versatile alternative. Boards are usually lighter in weight, more uniform, and can come in a wide array of colours, shapes, and sizes.
These features also mean that composite cladding is often more versatile, and boards can be used on many different structures. They require less maintenance and boast lengthy lifespans. If/When they finally do wear out, they are also much easier to replace than timber boards as they are more resistant to rot and less likely to break apart.
Why Do I Need Composite Cladding?
Composite cladding, unlike many elements of a structural wall, isn’t necessarily critical to the wall’s security and reliability. After all, you need to have secure battens and a waterproofed substructure (such as brickwork) beneath it to even be able to begin installing it.
Composite cladding – while offering several practical benefits – is mostly used to improve the look of your walls rather than increase their durability or resilience. However, it can also help to protect anything underneath from direct contact with rain or snow, boasting a design that still allows for effective ventilation.
How Do I Fix Composite Cladding?
To install composite cladding, you will need:
- Your Chosen Brand of Composite Cladding
- Any cladding accessories you may need per manufacturer guidelines, including fixings
- Protective Equipment – gloves, goggles, helmet, safety mask
- Carpentry Square and/or Tape Measure
- Chalk line
- Impact Drill
- Hand Drill
- Spirit Level
- Circular Saw
Before we begin – it is important to note that certain composite cladding models are installed differently. We are going to be using a method that requires fixing clips/fasteners, as this is a slightly more detailed process than simply drilling your fixings into the cladding board (another valid method of installation). If your boards don’t include fasteners, simply ignore this addition to the guide and install your cladding according to your chosen manufacturer’s method of fixing (which may well be covered in step 8).
So, to fix your cladding boards, simply follow these 12 easy steps:
- Ensure that your substructure is adequately prepared, this will include – perhaps most importantly – a waterproof membrane or coating, as well as your battens in preparation for your cladding boards. Some cladding manufacturers produce composite boards to match your cladding – a great idea for those looking to keep their build consistent.
- Use your tape measure to make sure your battens are an adequate distance apart. Distance between batten boards will vary depending on the make of your cladding. 500mm – 800mm is the usual range, with 600mm being a common distance for many battens.
- Install your bottom row of fasteners. These usually come with the cladding boards themselves or may be sold by the same manufacturer. Make sure the bottom is around 2cm from the ground and even – use a chalk line to confirm this.
- Add your first board – with the edges facing upwards/downwards by tucking it neatly into the clip/fastener. Now is a good time to make sure, once again, that your fasteners were installed correctly by using a spirit level to confirm that your board is sitting flat within the clips.
- You can then screw in the row of fasters just above the board. This set will not only secure the current board further but will also be used to support the next one you add.
- Have a butt joint? Ensure both ends are securely installed with clips. Leave room for expansion – a natural process where the boards increase in size slightly due to environmental conditions.
- Having trouble fitting your boards? Simply cut them to size using a circular saw. Most cladding boards can be cut length or widthways, but make sure you check manufacturer manuals or guidelines to confirm that this is the case for your specific brand.
- If you have cut your boards, you may want to screw the cladding board directly into the batten below. Make sure to pre-drill the hole, as well as oversize the screw (again, to accommodate for expansion). Note that this method is another common way to fix batten boards that don’t use the fastener/clip system, so be sure to keep this step in mind.
- Repeat steps 4 – 6 to install the second board, along with any following clips and boards until you reach the last row of boards at the top of your wall/project.
- Ensure your last boards fit, as this is where size problems tend to occur. If they don’t, simply return to steps 7 and 8.
- Finally, once all boards are in place, you can get to installing the detailing, such as trims for the side edges of your cladding walls. These are usually fixed by drilling screws straight through the trim and cladding and into the substructure below.
- Clean up your workspace and check over/admire your handiwork.
Have More Questions About Composite Cladding?
And with that, you now know how to fix your composite cladding. And just as well too – as an eco-friendly alternative to many more traditional cladding materials, composite cladding is fast becoming a popular addition to sheds, garages, extensions and more.
We stock multiple different shapes, sizes, and shades of composite cladding, including those by industry specialists EnviroBuild. And don’t forget – if you have any more questions about any of our ranges, don’t hesitate to contact our stellar customer support team on 01295 56565 or via our online chat below.