A striking home extension is one of the first to be clad in an exclusive product from James Latham.
Utilising the Finish Line Collection, a high performing timber cladding developed by Lathams with Accoya Timber, timber engineering company Dresser Mouldings and Canadian coating specialist Sansin, the project saw the addition of a new gable end. Bringing a new balance and symmetry to the property, the sense of arrival was further enhanced with significant landscaping.
Paint it black?
The original brief called for charred timber. It was a material that designer Karl Harrison was familiar with, as he was instrumental in bringing the Shou Sugi Ban® brand to the UK. However, with this project, he had something else in mind.
“I started using black materials a long time ago because they offer a higher contrast with plantings and landscaping. Any other colour and the greens tend to get lost”, said Karl.
“But the market is saturated with black cladding. Many new buildings, whether a one-off home or a new city centre office, seem to be going in that direction, with a range of black uPVC, aluminium and timber options available.
“With that, comes a sense of sameness. With my designs my aim is to take a trend and push it in a different way.”
Looking for something special
When Karl was researching materials for the project he wanted something new and exclusive. Because it was an exterior cladding project, he needed something that would perform well, backed by a quality brand. That was where his relationship with Lathams came into play.
Karl said: “I often work with Lathams and have a great relationship with the team. I knew that there was a new product on the horizon because I’d been speaking to them at concept stage. We had a long discussion about brushing the timbers to change the grain and the kinds of colours that would be most desirable.
“Eventually, this would evolve into the Finish Line Collection. I was keen to use it as soon as I had the right project.”
The perfect Finish
The foundation of the Finish Line Collection is Accoya timber. With a warranty of up to 50 years when used above the ground, the product is a natural fit for cladding. It is well known for its durability due to the natural modification process (acetylation) and its performance rivals hardwoods.
Karl said: “Accoya is as premium as it gets when it comes to timber. Most timbers run the risk of splits or warps when you start to cut or adapt them. With Accoya, you don’t have that worry. With its longevity and quality, it is a material that I love to use.
“Once you add Sansin, with their range of colours and quality of treatment, and the unique machining from Dresser Mouldings, you have something that has the potential to be the market leader in cladding.”
The cladding arrives on-site factory finished, front, back and ends, effectively encapsulating the timber in a breathable envelope. Additional finishing or touch ups are only required if any cuts are made.
The machining process that Karl refers to sees the Accoya wood profiled, surface finished and coated by the team at Dresser Mouldings. This creates a key on the timber’s face, with tiny variations in texture allowing Sansin’s ultra-low VOC coating to penetrate beneath the surface of the timber. The advantage is that this helps to bind it to the cells and prevents peeling and cracking.
“Without this process you’re just painting a piece of timber, which anyone can do,” adds Karl. “That’s fine but you don’t get the texture and tactility. Personally, I like what I call ‘disrupted materials’ – a piece that has been modified to create a new and unique result.”
Designing for the future
“I like to try and stay ahead of the curve, bringing innovative products and ideas to the market”, Karl continues. “Pre-Covid, I travelled the world, visiting trade shows and manufacturers to find materials that I could incorporate within my designs.
“That’s where relationships are important. Working with manufacturers and distributors you can start to look for an edge by getting things created just for you and your clients. You often need materials turned around quickly, so a situation like Lathams buying Dresser Mouldings works very well. You know that they are going to have a good range of stock and the ability to add those finishing touches for you.
“Hopefully, this will be the first of many great products to come out of the workshop as they experiment and have some fun with materials.”
Exclusive to Lathams, the Finish Line Collection comes in 12 unique colours. It can be finished either brushed or sanded and even in a distinctive two-tone effect. For this project, the Brushed Charcoal colour was selected. Finish Line cladding is available as a standard 145mm width at 15mm thickness in LT AC01 and LT AC02 profiles.