If you’ve tried to buy timber cladding lately, you’ll know it is in short supply – but the solution may be closer than you think, says Tom Barnes of Vastern Timber.
Timber products, including roof battens, structural timber and cladding, are in high demand, but as we all know, supplies are not keeping up. Finding external cladding timber continues to be challenging. Favourites such as Canadian cedar and Siberian larch are in very short supply, while prices for these products have risen by 50 –100% so far this year. The good news is that many locally grown timber species are well suited to external cladding, and these are often cheaper and more available than imported alternatives.
There are many timber species grown in the UK that are suited to exterior applications. Native western red cedar, larch, oak and sweet chestnut make excellent cladding due to their natural durability. What’s more, at Vastern Timber we use thermal modification to transform locally grown ash, poplar and sycamore, which wouldn’t normally be suitable for cladding, into a durable cladding that we call Brimstone, an increasingly popular alternative to imported hardwoods.
Thermal modification is a toxin-free process that involves heating timber in controlled conditions, resulting in a very stable and durable cladding material. We use the process to transform British poplar into Brimstone poplar, a beautiful, long-lasting timber cladding that’s a more affordable and more available alternative to Canadian cedar. Best of all, it’s grown here in our own woodlands.
Locally sourced timber to reduce our carbon footprint
Long and short term factors impact timber supply chains. Over 80% of the timber used in the UK is imported, and this year global demand hit a record high in a post-lockdown housing boom. In the years to come an increased focus on the carbon footprint of construction will lead developers to specify more sustainable materials, leading to yet more demand for wood.
Minimising the use of carbon-intensive materials such as concrete and steel and using bio-based materials like timber could be key to a low-carbon economy. With these pressures affecting the whole planet, we in the UK cannot rely on importing 80% of the timber we use.
I believe that we must aim to be more self-sufficient, which means planting more trees and using more locally grown wood.
Let’s use these timber shortages as an opportunity to start making the switch.
Find out more about Vastern Timber’s range of locally sourced timber cladding products on our website. Call or email us with your timber cladding query.