Gardeners across the UK have been taking to their gardens over the past few weeks, to make the most of the glorious sunshine. One feature of the garden that’s also seen lots of use is the shed. This can leave those questioning whether it’s time to invest in a new and improved option. Even if you’re not an avid gardener, the shed can provide an attractive, yet practical feature to your outdoor space.

Equally important as what you put inside it, is the wood from which your shed is made. It can be hard, however, to decide which direction to go in. When making important garden choices, it’s always good to weigh up your options before committing to one. Timber 2 U Direct are here to discuss two popular types of cladding for sheds: shiplap cladding and tongue and groove cladding.

What is cladding and why do I need it? 

Simply, cladding is the covering on the outside of something. Typically used in construction, its purpose is to provide protection and thermal insultation to the other materials it conceals. When we talk about cladding in the context of sheds, we’re referring to the planks of wood covering the outside of the structure.   

The main difference between the types of cladding available, is how the panels fit together. It may seem like something you can overlook but choosing the wrong option can impact both the overall strength and end use of your shed. Cladding isn’t just used to improve the aesthetic of your outbuilding; it also protects the contents of your shed from getting damaged by weather damage or penetration. 

Option 1 – Tongue and Groove cladding

Tongue and groove cladding is by far the most popular option for shed cladding. It’s specially shaped so that the panels of wood interlock with one another. Not only does this prevent water damage and rot; this also makes a shed incredibly strong and durable. This type of cladding is useful for sheds housing heavy items, large gardening tools or furniture. It also means that the structure of the shed is more secure. This is perfect if you are storing valuable items inside. Tongue and groove cladding is most likely to be used in the construction of much larger sheds, as well as other large outdoor buildings. 

It creates flat walls and makes the overall appearance sleeker. If a sophisticated and stylish shed is something you’re aiming for, tongue and grove cladding may be the best option for you! This type of cladding is the most time-consuming to produce and may come at a higher price point. When budgeting for this project, therefore, make sure you take this into consideration. 

Option 2 – Shiplap cladding

This option provides the best resistance to weather, due to its overlap construction. The timber panels overlap each other and interlock, creating a structure almost like a slide for water to run off when it rains. Shiplap cladding can also protect against draughts. If you’re using your shed for more than just storage – as a workshop for example – this may be the best material option for your cladding. 

Unfortunately, shiplap cladding is expensive to produce. It does, however, act as an excellent barrier between your shed’s contents and the weather. It can enhance the overall look of your shed, whilst simultaneously making it less likely to rot and warp over time.

Other available options on the market

There is a third type of cladding that can be used when constructing garden sheds. This is called overlap (given its name due to the way the wooden slats overlap each other). It is easy to produce and the cheapest to make. Most commonly found in domestic gardens and allotments, you have probably seen a shed or two with this type of cladding before. Overlap cladding can be useful if your shed is simply for storage; it wouldn’t be suitable should you want to use it as a workshop though. Although rain can run off it with ease, it’s not an airtight structure and therefore will cause draughts and trap damp. You also wouldn’t be able to fix shelves on the walls inside. 

So, which is the best option for my new garden shed?

Well, this all depends on the type of your project and the budget available. If you’re not looking to spend a lot on your shed and this is your first garden venture, you may want to go with overlap cladding. This option is also the best suited for those only looking to use the shed as storage. Tongue and groove cladding is perfect for larger sheds that are intended to house heavy and bulky items. It may be a slightly more costly option due to its production time but if your budget allows for it, why not go for the strong and sturdy option?

The alternative; shiplap cladding, provides similar benefits to that of overlap with good weather resistance, but can be a more costly route. This type of cladding is perfect for projects with larger budgets. It is also great for sheds that you want to use as a workshop, as it keeps out draughts and gives you the ability to put in internal shelving.

Timber 2 U Direct concludes 

When all is said and done, choosing a type of cladding for your shed is dependent on many factors – there is no single default. Overlap may be the most common option, but you might find that shiplap cladding or tongue and groove cladding better suits the needs of your new garden feature. Whatever option you decide to go with, be sure to buy your timber from a trusted supplier, so you know you are receiving the highest quality product.

Here at Timber 2 U Direct, the online trading arm of the leading UK timber supplier and trader Brooks Bros LTD, we offer a wide range of timber supplies for outdoor projects, including cladding for sheds. All materials can be cut to your required measurements and delivered direct to your door. If you are ready to start building your shed ready for summer, contact our team today!