Timber cladding and panelling
Timber cladding and panelling
Timber cladding and panelling
Timber cladding and panelling
Timber cladding and panelling
Timber cladding and panelling
Timber cladding and panelling
Timber cladding and panelling

Timber cladding and panelling

Wear and tear and bad weather, which leave their mark on all materials, seem to have a particularly elegant effect on wood: different shades due to the sun or rain, traces of a previous construction, relief of the wood vein accentuated by wear, etc. It is also possible to appreciate the mechanical stability of wooden elements that have already been used.
The reusable timber sector offers a wide range of solutions for exterior cladding and interior panelling, which come from different sources: the disassembly of former agricultural, industrial or residential buildings, the recovery of maritime developments (pontoons, mooring piles, ships’ decks) or the diversion of timber products from industrial applications (beds of trucks or train carriages, old scaffolding and panels used to dry concrete blocks). The same diversity can be found in the species of wood encountered with dealers, which range from the most local (such as oak) to the most exotic (such as azobé).
It is also possible, albeit on a less regular basis, to find reconstituted wood panels on the reuse market, which are also suitable for use as cladding or panelling. For example: high pressure laminate panels (like Trespa), or plywood panels with a coat of veneer.

Common products

The most common products are:

  • European barnwood: from dismantled barns in eastern European countries (Austria, Poland, Hungary, etc.). Planks recovered in this way are often over 50 years old, and sometimes as much as 70. Having become particularly stable and resistant due to its long exposure, barnwood is well suited to exterior cladding applications. The planks can be placed vertically or horizontally. Categories in the inventory are sometimes composed of planks of different widths. The implementation then has to be adapted by grouping identical widths together in a single line.
  • American barnwood: from dismantled barns in the USA and Canada, these planks are usually older than their European counterparts (sometimes more than 150 years old). Some suppliers have an FSC reclaimed label awarded to this product. Otherwise, it has similar characteristics to European barnwood.
  • Cut oak beams: Some operators cut up old oak beams to make planks of more manageable dimensions and more varied applications. Oak duramen is excellent for use as exterior cladding.
  • Old truck beds, and sometimes the boards from marine containers and train carriages: These exotic wood elements (like keruing, for example) can be found in one-off batches on the market. They have a rougher appearance and can be treated or left in their original condition for a stronger effect. In all cases, however, their strong resistance makes them well suited to a variety of applications, especially as wood floors in public buildings.
  • Ship timber: from disassembled pilings, pontoons or boat decks, these are often components made from azobé, in the form of planks 3 to 4 cm thick. This wood is very heavy (>1000 kg/m³). Azobé is suitable for outdoor use, e.g. on a terrace, although it has a risk of deformation, which limits its potential for use as façade cladding.
  • Planks from the cutting of mooring piles: Usually exotic species (e.g. basralocus), which are ideal for exterior uses. The planks have small holes and cracks in places, which betray their reclaimed origins. These elements are present in one-off lots on the market.
  • “Steenschotten” panels: these were originally used to dry concrete blocks in the production chains. There is currently substantial demand for them on the reuse market. Usually sold in full panels of Douglas pine or azobé, with a steel edging, some operators also offer to dismantle them and sell the planks individually.
  • Scaffold timber: another example of a decommissioned material (wooden scaffolding has been replaced by aluminium modular systems) that has found new uses as a building material. Often made of low-quality pine, the long-term use of this material, untreated and outdoors, is not recommended. The very low price of this product is its main quality and makes it good for interior or temporary developments.

Recorded prices

The recorded prices are as follows:

  • Barnwood (price varies in line with the size of the order)
    • European: ~55 €/m² excl. VAT
    • American: ~100 €/m² excl. VAT
  • Cut oak beams. ~1.8 × 10 cm planks of variable length: ~45 €/m² excl. VAT.
  • Old truck beds: variable prices, sometimes very low.
  • Ship timber:
    • Planks 3 cm thick: 29 to 35 €/m²
    • Planks 4 cm thick: up to ~50 €/m²
  • Planks from sawn mooring piles: ~50 €/m².
  • “Steenschotten” panels:
    • Douglas pine panels 140 × 95 × 5 cm: ~12.5 €/m²
    • Azobé panels 140 × 110 × 3.5 cm: ~11 €/m²
  • Old scaffolding planks (Steigerhout):
    • High quality, sanded planks 3.2 × 20 × 500 cm:  ~25 €/m²
    • 3.2 × 20 × 500 cm untreated planks of secondary quality: ~15 €/m²

Available treatments

Specialist operators in the sale of wood cladding offer a wide range of treatments. Depending on the specifications for each project, batches can be delivered untreated or treated in advance. These operations do have an impact on the sale price but make it possible to obtain a product that is perfectly suited to the requirements and specific characteristics of a given project.
Some examples of possible treatments:

  • Resizing: some operators offer to resize the planks to a standard thickness.
  • Sawing: panels and planks can be sawn to obtain regular dimensions (in one, two or three dimensions).
  • Finishes: panels and planks can be treated (sanding, brushing, etc.) or they can be left untreated.
  • Drying: Some operators offer to have the elements dried, up to a humidity level of 12%.


If you suspect that the elements have been in contact with harmful products during their previous use (hydrocarbons, formwork oil, paints containing lead, creosote, etc.), research their origin. For borderline cases, there are tests that allow you to check whether the product is suitable for the intended use.

Impact of transport

Some reusable timber elements travel great distances before being put to use. Is there not a danger that these journeys could be sufficiently harmful to the environment that this would outweigh the benefits related to reuse? This is a question to be considered when opting for products like American barnwood, steenschotten from far-off factories or barnwood coming from Hungary by truck. The answer to this question will of course depend on factors such as the distances actually travelled, and the means of transport used. As an estimate, we can consider the following orders of magnitude:

  • Reusable timber extracted locally (<50 km) / ~35 kg of CO2/t
  • Reusable timber from eastern Europe (travelling by truck) / ~300 kg of CO2/t
  • Reusable timber from the USA (travelling by truck and boat) / ~370 kg of CO2/t
  • New timber produced locally / ~380 kg of CO2/t
  • New timber produced in eastern Europe (travelling by truck) / ~650 kg of CO2/t

Compared to new cladding, even produced locally, reusable products therefore broadly remain interesting alternatives in environmental terms.