Timber clad extensions style guide

Plan your own cost-effective and energy-efficient, timber clad extension with inspiration from these amazing real homes, plus expert advice

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Timber cladding has many appealing qualities. If your house is clad in timber already, then an extension in the same material is the obvious choice, but if your home is of masonry construction, a timber-clad extension can make a striking and contrasting addition.

Wood cladding can be used on a timber-frame extension, for which construction is relatively lightweight, meaning less substantial (and cheaper) foundations could be possible. The timber frame can be infilled with insulation to meet or exceed building regulations.

How much does timber cladding cost?

As with most building materials, there are very cheap options that will neither look as nice, nor last as well, as some of the more expensive choices, but timber cladding boards will typically range from around £2 per metre up to £8 or more.

Click here to find out more about cladding and render options for your project

two storey timber clad extension

However, the cost of the boards is only half the story. Timber cladding boards can be nailed to battens over structural insulated panels or directly to a timber frame, which can often be much more cost-effective to erect than a masonry wall. The ability to put up a frame quickly, without waiting for concrete to cure and render to dry, can save you significant amounts of money.

Use our free planning permission tool to find out if you need planning permission for your timber clad extension

In many cases, planning departments actively promote the idea that an extension should be identifiably different from the original building as it makes the result more legible and honest. There are so many excellent examples of timber cladding employed in this way that can be used as precedent when making a planning submission. I would always encourage applicants to actively make their case in their design statement submission with their planning application.

single storey timber clad extension

A similar project would cost £1,200–£1,440 per square metre for materials and build. By Geoff Sellick Architectural & Interior Design

Will this finish complement my existing house?

Timber cladding is much more common than people think, for both old and new. For centuries, overlapping planks, often known as weatherboarding, have been used as the outside covering of timber-framed structures, and are common in many parts of the country, such as East Anglia and the West Country. A timber-clad design can therefore be an authentic extension to an old building.

If the outside of your home looks like it might need an update, transforming the exterior is a great way to refresh the look and potentially add value

However, the decision to change material is taken more often, in order to emphasise the difference between an extension and the original house. This difference can be played up with very contemporary-style cladding and contrasting colour, or can be more subtle, simply expressing a lighter weight of construction, implying the pre-eminence of the original over the subordinate extension.

Timber cladding can introduce a completely new character, sometimes used in blocks, breaking up a bland masonry façade and creating more depth, modelling and composition to an elevation. Such cladding is often used to great effect in upgrading old council houses.

black timber clad extension

This timber clad project, by Michael Trentham Architects, cost £168,000 for materials and construction.

The classic New England style of house typically featured painted timber cladding, and traditional forms usually involve overlapping boards arranged horizontally. These days, boards can be set flush to form a smoother flat surface with a range of different joint details and can be given a woodstain or be left to silver; they can even be set vertically. There are now so many timber species that have different qualities and appearances to choose from that cladding can result in a huge variety of different effects.

How do I find a good designer?

Although timber clad extensions are less common than masonry ones, the construction details are relatively straightforward. You may, however, want to choose an architect who has designed and gained planning permission for similar projects before. All UK-qualified architects are listed on the Architects Registration Board website, and those who are members of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Alan Cronshaw