Best Types of Wood for Cladding

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When we talk about cladding, we allude to a material covering an external structure.

You will see wooden cladding on various buildings as an exterior finish. Wooden cladding adds value to any space, and it imparts natural beauty, adds to durability, and has a great practical value. So, wooden cladding may allude to a new structure or adding wooden cladding to existing buildings.

Out of the over 60,000 species of trees globally, some are durable, and it means that such trees yield wood that has sufficient resistance to rot, decay, insect resistance, and moisture.

Other types of wood are not as durable. When you select wood for cladding, you need to choose wood the most durable wood that will last a long time. Cladding can be made of different materials, but wood is the most typical material that we use when it comes to buildings.

Function of Cladding

Anatomy of Grenfell Tower cladding
Image Credit: Phoenix7777 via Creative Commons

You might wonder what benefit cladding offers to a building or a structure, and cladding provides multiple benefits.

The primary function of cladding is to provide thermal insulation. But then, we usually choose the cladding material very carefully with aesthetics in mind. Cladding can add a beautiful touch to a home or an office.

Benefits of Exterior Wooden Cladding

Nowadays, we also put a lot of emphasis on the environmental factor of wooden cladding material. So, let’s look at what benefits we are looking at for exterior wooden cladding for a building. There are several benefits as given below:

Natural Beauty

Brown Wooden cladding in dappled sunlight

Instead of having a concrete structure stuck amongst beautiful natural surroundings, you can create a transition between a building and its surroundings by adding cladding.

In the middle of an urban area, a building with well-chosen natural wooden cladding can add aesthetic value to the surroundings.

The Sustainability Factor

You may want to use eco-friendly wood. If you do, there are many sustainable types of wood that you can use. You can buy FSC or PEFC-certified wood from reputable timber merchants. The wood that these traders sell will be planted, harvested, and produced 100% sustainably and renewable.


Wood for cladding tends to be simple and easy to use. You have to consider here that if you need to customize or change out the cladding at any time in the future, you should do it.

A time may come when you may like to change the design. In such a case, you should replace the wood with a different type or species of wood. It should also be easy to apply or reapply a finish if needed.

Budget Considerations

A semi close-up view of the wooden cladding of the Kyrkbod.
Image Credit: Staffan Lagerstedt via Creative Commons

Sometimes you may want to spend a lot of money on a wooden cladding project. But at other times, you may need to cut on the costs, but it still needs to look good.

You can get different types of wood for cladding, for example, Siberian larch or western cedar. Both these types of wood are easy to work with, look good, and are also cost-effective.


When we consider the cellular structure of wood, we have to consider that it has pores, and it is these air-filled pores give wood its natural insulating properties. Wood can keep your interiors warm in the winter and cool in the summer days.

It has been estimated that the insulating power of wood is 15 times more than concrete, 400 times more than steel, and 1,770 times more than aluminum! So, ultimately, whichever material you compare wood to, it is finally wood with infinitely better insulating properties.

Acoustic Insulation

A lesser-known fact about wood as a cladding material is its excellent acoustic insulation. Therefore, any room or house with external wooden cladding will be well insulated from external noise.

Best Wood for Cladding

When selecting wood for cladding, we need to look at the various factors mentioned above. The wood needs to be dimensionally stable in addition to being naturally durable.

The best wood for external cladding should stand up to the vagaries of nature but should also resist fungus, rot, mold, and insect attack. From the durability aspect, softwoods are an excellent choice because they are good insulators, look good, and are highly durable.

With this in mind, let’s have a look at some of the best wood that you can get for cladding:

Western Red Cedar

A refurbished 1960's bungalow clad with external western red cedar

This wood is pinkish-brown to reddish-brown, but you also get darker brown streaks. The wood grain of western red cedar is straight with a medium to coarse texture. It has a high resistance to rot and is easy to work with, easy to machine, and you can use nails and screws on it quickly as well.

The warm, reddish-brown hue of western red cedar is gaining popularity at a fast rate. The wood is light, making it easy to handle and install. Whether you use this wood for a small house or a large mansion, western red cedar suits exterior cladding.

Siberian Larch

Siberian larch has a rather curvy grain with some straight sections, and it has a medium to fine texture. This wood comes in pale yellow or light brown, and it is moderately resistant to rot and easily workable.

As the name suggests, Siberian larch is native to Siberia. It is relatively harder than cedar despite being a softwood, and it has a reasonably high density significantly higher scratch resistance than many hardwoods.

Siberian larch is also fairly cheaper, making for a cost-effective cladding project. It also takes nails and screws quite well, making it an easy wood to install. You will find two grades of Siberian larch, A-grade (fewer knots) and B-grade (more knots).

European Oak

Oak House is a magnificent black and white timber

Here is another straight-grained wood, but it has a rough texture. It is golden-brown and highly resistant to rot. European oak is easy to work with, and you can drive screws and nails into it quite easily. This wood is native to France.

Even though it has a pleasant appearance left on its own, you can further enhance the looks of European oak by applying a suitable stain or finish. You can get sections of this lumber already kiln-dried, machined, and ready to assemble.

European oak is one of the longer-lasting claddings. Therefore, if you install this wood, you can expect it to last a long time.

Thermo Wood

Thermo wood is a thermally-treated type of pinewood. It comes from the Baltic region. Thermo wood has a straight grain with occasional waviness and knots. It is moderately resistant to rot, and you can machine it easily. It also takes nails and screws well.

Thermo wood is slightly darker; it is denser than western red cedar but less dense than Siberian larch. Due to the thermal process of producing this wood, it is more dimensionally stable, and you can find it in various profiles.


cladding of a house made of wood and decorative brick.

There are many other types of lumber that you can use for an exterior cladding project. But in this post, we have featured the most widely-used types of wood used for this purpose.

It is essential to identify the best wood for exterior cladding. Your project depends on many factors discussed here, like budget, aesthetics, durability, sustainability, etc.

You can and need to apply wooden cladding to various homes, barns, farmhouses, and even ultra-contemporary structures.

There is vast scope for creativity when you work on an exterior wooden cladding project. You can decide on the final look by planning the type of wood you want to use and the style you want to adopt.

Working on exterior wooden cladding is a serious business. But if executed well, it can define your skills as a master woodworker.