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Cedar cladding is a finish material used to cover the exterior walls of a building. In North America, this product is better known as "siding," though it is referred to as "cladding" throughout much of Europe and Australia. This material is made using wood from the cedar tree, and is known for its rich texture and heavy grain patterns. Cedar cladding is available in a variety of warm natural colors, ranging from amber to deep reddish-brown. It is also known for its unique, appealing smell that can last for many years after installation.
When installing cedar cladding or siding, homeowners can choose from shingles or planks. Cedar shingles are installed in overlapping rows to create a look similar to a tiled or shingled roof. They may be smooth or roughly textured, with rougher cuts and textures of shingles known as "shakes" throughout much of the world. Shingles and shakes are available in many different sizes to meet the needs of any homeowner.
Boards or planks of cedar cladding are overlapped to create a look often known as "clapboard" siding. These boards may be beveled to provide an even finish, or rectangular, which adds a bit more texture and depth to the wall. Some cedar siding products are installed vertically to create a more traditional "board-and-batten" style. Thinner, horizontal beams of cedar known as battens connect the vertical members and add a decorative element. A tongue-and-groove installation can be used to create smooth cladding where planks do not overlap, similar to a hardwood floor.
Cedar cladding offers many advantages over other siding materials. It contains natural oils that help to increase its resistance to moisture and humidity. Unlike traditional wood siding cedar is unlikely to warp, twist, or rot, yet it still offers the rich beauty of wood. Cedar also contains air pockets, which give it a high level of insulation and help to minimize sound transfer through the walls of the home. This material is also very stable and durable, and will last for many years if properly installed.
Like all cladding materials, cedar requires regular care in order to maintain its appearance and maximize its lifespan. Paint or stains must be reapplied every few years, and even unfinished cedar cladding should be sealed to minimize moisture and wear. High wind or extreme weather may damage cedar, especially shingles or shakes. Fortunately, cedar is fairly lightweight and easy to handle, making repair or replacement a fairly simple task.