Character Walls in Timber

Natural timber, either in plank form or sheeting, provides a durable and attractive wall surface. This can be fixed in a variety of ways – usually on battens or with adhesive on to a wall surface. The quality of the finished effect depends on the care taken in preparing the wall surfaces and during fixing.

One of the easiest to use and most attractive modern wall finishes is natural wood cladding. All the richness, variation and colour of natural timber can be used to decorate wall areas in any room in the home. Easy to fix, and virtually maintenance-free, wood cladding offers many interesting decorative possibilities.

Types of cladding

Timber cladding is available in two main forms:

• Standard-sized natural or pre-finished panels;

• Solid timber planking or boarding, either square-edged or tongued and grooved.

Both types of cladding are easy to fix, but cladding in panel form is usually quicker.


Wood panel cladding or timber planking can be fixed to any even, dry surface. If the wall surface is very irregular it is best to fix battens to allow for this uneveness.

The space behind also allows less pleasing visual features, such as pipes, to be concealed, yet remain accessible behind the cladding. This space can also be easily insulated. Fixing methods vary according to the surface. Usually surfaces of concrete, brick or insulating blocks are battened. In some cases, cladding may be fixed direct to surfaces using adhesive, provided these are even. Impact or slower-setting adhesives can be used on hardboard, chipboard or plaster surfaces.

New plaster surfaces should not be directly clad for at least eight weeks, to allow the plaster time to dry out.

Damp treatment

Damp walls must be treated before fixing cladding. If there is any suspicion of this, treat the surface with a damp-resistant coating, such as a rubber or asphalt solution, brushed over the area.

Alternative damp-prevention methods include lining the wall with 500-gauge polythene sheeting, to provide a vertical damp-proof membrane, with metallic foil, or with a heavy-duty, bitumen-impregnated paper.

The battens and the back of the cladding should be treated with a clear timber preservative to prevent attack by moisture or fungi. Avoid a coloured preservative as this might bleed through the surface.


Insulation material, such as expanded polystyrene sheeting, mineral rock wool or glass-fibre quilt, can be inserted between the wall surface and the panelling. This will provide thermal and some sound insulation, and help to prevent condensa-tion by raising the touch temperature of the wall surface. In warmer conditions, a layer of insulation material gives a measure of heat insulation.


Wood panelling is available in a wide range of timber veneers and provides a quick way to cover large areas. Panels are made in thicknesses from 4mm-6mm and in sheet sizes of between 2.44m x l.22m to 305m x l.22m.

Surfaces may be pre-finished, usually with a clear coat of alkyd resin, and v-grooved to represent random planking, or simply left in a natural condition.

Wood panelling may also be treated to make it fire resistant. The grooves in panels are usually located to correspond with batten centres at 400mm.

The long edge of each board is bevelled to match the adjoining panel and form a v-groove at the joint; veneers may not be matched for grain and colour.

Natural wood, with veneers of regular width, may be matched for grain and colour.

10. November 2011 by admin
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