How to install a durable exterior cladding?

Building a new facade or renovating an old one should be carefully planned. Especially in renovation projects it is advisable to always check the condition of the wall structures and insulation of the house before installing the exterior cladding panels. At this point, it is good to add additional thermal insulation as well. A ventilation gap of at least 20 mm must always be left under the wooden facade. This ensures, that air can circulate behind the wood cladding and that no moisture can condense behind the cladding panels.

If the exterior cladding panels are installed horizontally, the entire house can be done by vertically furring. However, in this area there was a desire to change the direction of the paneling and it was decided to make a cross furring for the whole house, which enables both vertical paneling and horizontal paneling. The lowest boarding was done with the K600 division vertically and the top boarding with the K600 division horizontally. A 22-32 mm x 100 mm board can be used as a stud board.

Remember that the exterior cladding panels are installed at least 30 cm above the ground. This prevents moisture from transferring from the ground to the cladding boards. In renovation projects this is sometimes not possible. In this case, the joint between the plinth and the facade can be covered with sheet metal. Also, be sure to ensure that there is adequate ventilation behind the facade. The starting height of the paneling is always determined by the lowest point of the plinth. This can be measured mechanically. The starting height is then marked on each wall so that all starter hooks start at the same height and there are no level differences in the corner rows of panels.

The appearance of the facade is affected by the shape, width and installation direction of the panel

There are several profile options for cladding panels. When choosing a suitable shape for the panel for your own facade, you should consider whether you want to install the panels horizontally, vertically or both. Of the panel profiles only Topcoat -V and Topcoat -U are suitable for vertical and horizontal paneling. The width of the exterior cladding panels can affect the appearance of the house. The most widely used widths range from 120 millimeters to 170 millimeters, of course there are even wider ones up to 280 millimeters. The wide panels are made of glued blank and have a brushed surface instead of the traditional fine sawn surface. The thicknesses of the exterior cladding panels are usually 20, 23 or 28 mm. A Topcoat -V profile, which is 23 mm thick and 145 m wide was chosen for this project as the same panel could be used for both horizontal cladding and vertical cladding of the tops.

Valmiiksi maalattu UTV ulkoverhouspaneeli


The strength and width of the panel affect the price. In price comparison, it is worth comparing the price per square meter and not just the price per meter, because a wider panel goes less per square than a narrower panel. For example, a Topcoat -V profile panel wears 10 meters per square meter, 145 millimeters wide wears 8 meters, and 170 millimeters wears 6.66 meters. It is also worth remembering, that the effective width of the panels is always less than the bulk width. For example, a 120 mm panel has a coverage of 100 mm.

Topcoat cladding panels provide a completely nail-free façade

Fully pre-painted exterior cladding panel

For this project, the facade panel was desired to be pre-treated as it saves the total renovation time. Fully pre-painted panels are available in opaque shades or durable translucent shades. In opaque shades a suitable shade can be selected from the shades of the exterior paint color maps, while in translucent shades there are 6 different shade options to choose from. The durable translucent treatment leaves the surface of the panel beautifully visible and it withstands the stress caused by the sun’s UV radiation well. The back surface of the pre-painted panels has also been treated to prevent mold staining.

siparila kestokuultava ulkoverhous sävyvaihtoehdot

Panels with hidden fastening

Topcoat ® panels are installed with staples and their own stainless-steel starter hooks are used at the bottom of the start panel. You should always install the starter panel carefully and make sure it is completely straight. In case of small animals, it is advisable to protect the whole house either with a small animal net or with mouse strips.

At this site, 50 mm stainless steel staples were used to fasten the panels. Their advantage is that they do not split the panel during the installation phase as fastening with nails might do. The tensile strength of the hooks is the same as when fastened with nails. The hook nailer is available with its own cursor tip, which is shaped to make it easier to shoot the hook from the right place and at the right angle.

End-matched panels reduce material waste

The wastage of the tongue and groove panel is minimal because the piece left in the previous row can start the next row. However, it is not worth starting with a short piece of the panel. When stacking the paneling it must be taken into account that the joints of the panel do not hit the same spacing between the rows of adjacent panels. Thanks to the pre-painted end joints the joints become almost imperceptible.

If for any reason you have to cut the panel, the cutting surface should be treated with paint before installing it in place. The paint protects the panel from moisture and thereby prevents the panel from cracking. Concealed fastening improves the weather resistance of the facade, as water and contaminants cannot damage the wood from the fastening points. The end result will be clean.

Be careful when storing

Exterior cladding panels should be stored on a straight surface to prevent them from warping. Decent and high enough support trees should be placed under the board packages. This prevents moisture from rising from the ground from damaging the panels. Although the packages are protected with plastic, it is advisable to apply a tarpaulin over them for rain protection.

Pre-painted vs. primed cladding

Of course, a pre-painted panel costs more than a traditional primed one, but when you take advantage of the saved working time and the fact that the installation can be done late in the fall or even in the winter, the difference is not large. Next summer, there will be no need to rent and set up racks again and wait for suitable weathers and painters for painting. It is enough to make possible maintenance after 10-15 years.

Change of installation direction of the panels

Quite often the paneling is done entirely as a horizontal installation. In old houses or in houses where you want to add a look to the facade with vertical stacking the change of stacking direction can be conveniently done with a distribution batten. The distribution batten is pre-painted and comes in two sizes; 38 × 95 mm and 38 × 145 mm. It can be used as a divider for horizontal and vertical cladding, or it can be used to crop or highlight seams or different shades of exterior cladding.

In this project, the distribution batten is used in end triangles, where it is desired to change the installation direction to vertical assembly. The installing of the distribution batten is also done with staples. At the lower end of the vertical panels, for example a suitably sized groove is driven with a circular saw, which goes into the tongue of the distribution batten. The cut end is protected with paint before installation. The top ends of the vertical panels do not necessarily need to be sawed obliquely as the top end is hidden behind the eaves boards. In the case of rafters, the notch is just the size, which is needed. Too large a notch point may appear as a tedious cavity beneath the eaves board.

Straight outer corners with finished corner element

Generally, the outer corners are made with two 100 or 120 mm wide cover boards. The new finished corner element makes finishing the building easier and faster. Finished corners are available in two different sizes; 93 × 93 mm and 133 × 133 mm, both 3660 mm in length. The corners are pre-glued elements that have been primed and once painted.

The corners are cut on site to the desired length. The upper end of the corner is cut obliquely according to the inclination of the eaves boards so that there is no opening at the corner-eaves board boundary point.

Aesthetic window board with aluminum mouldings

Pre-painted window board complete the window moulding and create aesthetic straight lines and tight seams. The basic shade for window moulding boards is white, but they can also be tinted to the desired shade.

Primed and pre-painted window moulding boards are 23 mm thick and 176 mm wide. Window plating is done before installing the window board. It is advisable to dimension the drip of the window damper about 1-2 cm outwards from the facade surface. If a cover board is also designed under the window, this must be taken into account in the dimensioning.

Read more about Fully Finished Cladding