The type of cladding you fix to the outside of your shepherd’s hut is an important decision. Your shepherd’s hut cladding not only plays a huge role in the aesthetic look of your hut – it’s the first thing everyone will notice – but in protecting what’s inside, which is arguably its main job!
The key for you is selecting the cladding that fits the look you want to achieve – traditional or more contemporary – as well as protecting the internal environment effectively.
Primarily, your shepherd’s hut cladding has got to be practical. It needs to be able to protect your shepherd’s hut in all types of weather and elements – wind, rain, sleet, snow and strong sunshine. Your cladding must also be resistant to mould and rot.
To achieve this, particularly in the damp conditions we find in the UK, your cladding will need to be maintained and treated in order for it to be effective over the years, and hopefully, decades. The type of cladding you go far will alter how much maintenance it requires.
There are two main cladding options for your shepherd’s hut:
- Corrugated sheeting (iron or steel)
Timber cladding for your shepherd’s hut
Timber cladding gives a contemporary, attractive and natural finish to a shepherd’s hut. Naturally hard-wearing and durable, the timber provides a fantastic protective layer against all elements as well as adding to your hut insulation. It can also be painted or left in its natural wooden state. If the timber is left unpainted, the colour will generally fade and settle over the years.
To ensure long lasting protection it’s best to clad your hut with timber that has been pressure treated.
Pressure treated timber means the wood has been placed in a pressure chamber that has forced a preservative into the minute air pockets in between the grains of wood. Pressure treating means the timber won’t let water in from the outside and therefore won’t be prone to mould and rot infestations.
If the timber cladding hasn’t been pressure treated, then it’s wise to treat the surface with an eco-friendly wood treatment.
Many types of timber contain natural protective oils, but adding an extra wood protection is a smart choice. A wood treatment will make sure the timber stays healthy, in good condition and effective over the decades – the last thing you want is rot setting in. Some eco-friendly wood treatments will last a lifetime, so you don’t have to worry about applying a maintenance coat every year!
On the environmentally friendly front, it’s important that timber cladding is sourced from a certified sustainable source. Look out for the FSC – Forest Stewardship Council – logo to make sure of this.
Common types of timber cladding
Some of the more common types of external timber cladding for your hut or a garden building include:
- Western Red Cedar
You can get timber cladding cut in a range of profiles depending on the look you’re going for and your budget. These profiles include tongue and groove, loglap cladding, shiplap cladding and featheredge (as shown in the image above).
Corrugated cladding for your shepherd’s hut
Corrugated cladding is the traditional choice for your shepherd’s hut – it’s the one the shepherds and farmers used back in the day looking after their livestock.
Unlike the curved corrugated roof, the corrugated cladding for the external walls is going to be straight. It’ll be fitted in the same way as the roof with a slight overlap between sheets to ensure there are no gaps. The number of sheets needed will differ dependent on how long the hut is.
Galvanised sheeting means the iron or steel has been coated with a protective zinc layer which prevents the sheeting from rusting. Although galvanising leaves a silvery finish, the sheeting can be further finished by painting on top of that.
You can also have your metal cladding powder coated, it can be finished in a number of different colours (potentially any colour you want). The most popular tend to be dark green, blue, grey and black.
The good thing about corrugated cladding is that it needs very little to zero maintenance over the years. This one really does provide a low-cost, headache-free option.
Price for shepherd’s hut cladding
As well as being distinct in their appearances, the prices of these two cladding materials – timber vs corrugated sheeting – can vary quite substantially.
Corrugated iron or stainless steel is a much more cost-effective cladding option. You can pick up good corrugated sheeting that will cover roughly a metre squared for £10-20.
If you’re looking for timber cladding on your shepherd’s hut, you’ll have to be prepared to fork out more. As a ballpark figure, timber cladding can be around three times more expensive than the corrugated sheeting alternative. To clad the whole hut, timber may cost around £1000 more than corrugated metal. Timber is also a very diverse material, meaning cost can differ substantially between different timbers, where they’re sourced from, how they are treated.
What’s worth noting is that the cladding you go for should last you for decades. Will certain extra costs and investments be worth it over the long term? It’s also the first thing you see when you look at the hut from the outside, so choosing the right option for you is important.
Of course, if you’re buying a shepherd’s hut from a maker, they’ll sort out the sourcing and fixing of the cladding with your input. If you’re buying a shepherd’s hut for sale, then the cladding will already be fitted.
If you fancy your chances with a second hand shepherd’s hut, you might want to update the cladding if it’s decades old and showing signs of wear and tear.
Other external shepherd’s hut parts to consider
The cladding for your shepherd’s hut doesn’t just exist on its own of course. The cladding is one part of a number of key features that make up a complete shepherd’s hut from the outside.
If the external walls aren’t clad with corrugated sheeting, then the roof certainly should be. A corrugated roof, either iron or steel, is essential for the look of a hut and also the functionality, protecting you from the elements and allowing any rainwater to slope off. Underneath the corrugated roof will be a fully waterproof membrane.
The cladding will be fixed onto the timber studwork, which is securely fitted to the shepherd’s hut chassis. The chassis can be made from timber itself, but it’s more commonly made from steel nowadays. If the chassis is made from timber it will have steel stub axles and potentially other reinforcements to give full strength when a potential load of 3-4 tonnes is placed on it. The stub axles are to fix the four cast iron wheels that are one of the main distinctive features of a shepherd’s hut.
Read more about shepherd’s huts
Ben is the Creator and Editor of Tiny Eco Home Life. I write and publish information about more sustainable, environmentally friendly living in and around the home.
Alongside this website, I love spending time in the natural world, living a simple life and spending time with my young family (Murphy the dog!) I round up my thoughts and recent blogs on the Eco Life Newsletter.