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. Australia has a long history of using hardwood timbers, it is well recognised that much of Australia’s early infrastructure was built based on hardwoods, mainly of the eucalyptus variety.
Hardwoods are perceived to be more stable and durable, but this is not always the case, particularly in timber cladding applications.
A pros and cons of light weight softwood cladding less than 500kg/m3 include:
- Lower overall weight on the supporting structure, ideal for prefab construction
- Better thermal conductivity characteristics
- Greater design flexibility, can be used for garage doors and other weight contingent applications
- Easier installation
- Can be easily damaged in applications where impact resistance is important
- Generally lower fire resistance
Heavier weight hardwoods, such as Ipe, Ash, Spotted Gum, Blackbutt and other Eucalyptus species heavier than 800kg/m3 have the following pros and cons.
- Good surface hardness and impact resistance
- Generally better fire performance
- Generally better durability
- 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.