February 27, 2023 0 Comments

Factors to consider when specifying a coating system

The world of external coatings can be a daunting thought when it comes to specifying the coating system for a project and with so many things to consider, it can be hard to know where to start.  

Coatings are a very popular topic in the timber industry and with so many options to consider such as, timber species, surface finish, colour, coating manufacturer, durability, life expectancy and much more it is hard to separate facts from fiction. 

We’ve broken down the subject to focus on key categories that we believe are vital to achieving a specification that will perform for years to come.

Climate Factors 

The geographical location of a project is the best place to start, is the site coastal or inland? Coastal buildings are usually fully exposed, whereas inland areas are usually subject to less adverse weather conditions. 

Consider the four seasons, winter, spring, summer and autumn, then consider the severity of each season in that location. For example, winter in the highlands of Scotland is usually much more extreme than winters in the south. 

Then ask yourself what the site surroundings are like, is the site sheltered by trees or other buildings or is it exposed and unprotected? Are there any rivers, streams or ponds nearby?

Substrate Factors

There are a range of different timber species available for external cladding that can be coated. Consider the use of modified, unmodified, native and imported timber species, remembering that timber is a natural product and species vary in appearance, density, colour and cost. 

Then consider the profile / style of cladding you would like such as, secret or face fix, tongue and groove, shadow gap or board on board. Section size is another factor, timber suppliers have standard sizes however timber can be machined to specific requirements on request. 

Timber can be provided in a range of surface finishes in order to suit design criterias. Each surface finish differs in its appearance, these range from Planed (smooth), Sawn and Structured.

Coating System Factors 

When discussing coatings and finishes with customers we often ask how would you like your timber to look on delivery, in 3 years and 5 years time? This then narrows down products and allows us to create a range of options based on desired aesthetic, timber species and surface finish. 

We offer a range of coating manufacturers which allows us to offer the most suitable coating system for each project, not just the products that we have in stock. In some cases we can offer products from a range of manufacturers which allows the customer greater control over the coating system applied. 

Transparency varies depending on the product and colour chosen, how much of the timber’s natural colour and grain would you like to see? We offer our Natural Collection, which is designed to enhance the natural beauty of the timber and maintain its appearance. We can also offer coloured translucent systems as well as opaque finishes. 



Maintenance is a factor that should be taken into consideration from the design stage. Factory coated timber offers vast durability benefits when compared to site application, however maintenance will still be required during its service life in order to maintain its aesthetics and allow the coating to continue to perform. 

Take time to consider how you plan to use timber and how it will be maintained when the time comes, we can then work with you to plan and implement a maintenance plan that is sustainable and realistic in order to support the desired aesthetic.

Hopefully you’ve found this information useful and it has given you some points to consider as you begin your journey. If you still feel a little overwhelmed why not give us a call and a member of the team will be happy to offer advice and support to get your specification started. 

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