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Hardwood Versus Softwood Cladding: Which is Better?

Timber cladding systems use both hardwood and softwood, each have pros and cons. Which is best?

The answer is not simple, for many hardwoods can be lighter than softwoods and vice versa. Key drivers for wood siding and cladding are stability, weight and durability.

Softwood Claddings

Pros and cons of light weight softwood cladding less than 500kg/m3 include:

The Pros

  • Lower overall weight on the supporting structure
  • Better thermal conductivity characteristics
  • Greater design flexibility, can be used for garage doors and other weight contingent applications
  • Easier installation

The Cons

  • Can be easily damaged in applications where impact resistance is important
  • Generally lower fire resistance

Hardwood Claddings

Heavier weight hardwoods, such as Ipe, Ash, Spotted Gum, Blackbutt and other Eucalyptus species heavier than 800kg/m3 have the following pros and cons.

The Pros

  • Good surface hardness and impact resistance
  • Generally better fire performance
  • Generally better durability

The Cons

  • Heavier weight on the supporting structure
  • Limited applications in weight restrictive applications
  • Harder to rectify movement in service

At Abodo our belief is that light weight cladding with high stability is the ideal solution, for most timber siding applications. Our Vulcan Cladding is our highest performance cladding board, with light weight and high stability.