Oak’s use as a material has a long pedigree in the British Isles, and its current popularity, for use around the home in both furniture and cabinet making, as well as a constructional material, has probably never been greater.
The reasons for this popularity at the moment are many and varied, but like all commodities, the main drivers are the laws of supply and demand. The trend for high quality natural material finishes has led to an upsurge in Oak’s popularity.
It’s natural warmth of colour, not too light, not too dark, it’s longevity in the face decay from moisture and sunlight, as well as it’s constructional stability (being so strong, Oak tends not to warp as much as other timbers with similar properties), means its use is not only limited to the traditional areas of Oak framed housing and kitchen/bedside tables. It is now being used more and more as a cladding material in the garden rooms sector.
The popularity of the ubiquitous Western red cedar cladding (such as that used in our Woburn building) is undiminished, but it does have its drawbacks. Cedar is fantastic for holding up to moisture decay, and will last for many decades without treatment (which also applies to Oak). It does however suffer from UV decay from natural sunlight. The fantastic hues of freshly seasoned cedar are stunning to look at, but when left in natural sunlight it turns within the space of a few months into a silvery/grey. Although this weathered colour can help a building blend in to its natural surroundings (if in a wooded area), after 5 years the cladding can appear very worn and tired. In the case of a garden room, coloured treatment can easily be applied, however the natural appearance of the cladding, so prized at first, often is lost to unnatural woodstain. Even high end finishes currently available, to protect timber from discolouration, will flake off after a few years, leaving you at the mercy of a paintbrush and treatment regime.
Oak holds up much better to UV light than cedar, and although natural weathering occurs (leaving a soft grey/silvery tint), it does not look as worn and weather beaten, especially in a small garden setting.
The increasing popularity of Oak is further driven by supply side factors. Better managed sustainable forestry means that slow growing species such as Oak are now sustainably grown, whereas in the past no replanting took place. This means there is much more temperate timber such Oak on the market, and prices (although affected by exchange rate volatility) are very completive when compared to other cladding options for a garden room.
The end result is, should you want your garden room cladding with Oak, in order to give that traditional old English feel, we can help. The pictures shown are of a building constructed earlier this year, clad in beautiful European green Oak. It has a 35mm thick featheredge profile, and looks stunning in most settings.