When it comes to cladding in construction, the numbers of uses are only outweighed by the numerous types of cladding available. The most widespread use of cladding is an extra layer of protection for the building from the elements, giving another barrier against the effects of wind and rain. It also, depending on the material, thickness, and design can provide thermal and sound insulation from the exterior of the building as well as a measure of fire resistance. Being the outer layer of a building, it is also often used to improve the appearance of the building it’s fitted to, giving a more uniform and shapely look than simple concrete.
What Are The Different Types Of Cladding?
With the myriad types of cladding available and the various materials that make them up, below you’ll find a shortlist of some of the more popular types of cladding in construction as well as when they are most commonly used.
Curtain Wall Systems
Curtain walls are an external cladding style that are usually found on larger buildings with multiple floors. Normally associated with the use of glass, they can actually be made out of a large number of materials depending on the style and function that it’s required to have. Recently the majority of panels are made of a composite with the outer material being bound to an insulating core, adding to the resistance to the elements that the cladding provides.
Structural Insulating Panels
Structural Insulating Panels (SIPs), also known as ‘sandwich panels’, are another type of cladding that builds heavily on the idea of combining materials to provide more complete protection. Consisting of a lightweight core with a more rigid material bonded to either side, the structural insulating panels provide a highly durable and resistant outer layer while still retaining its shape and adding insulation thanks to the lightweight core. Often found on industrial and storage buildings they are most well suited to applications that require very large area coverage without compromising on strength and integrity.
Rainscreen cladding is a three-piece cladding construction that employs two walls separated by a ventilated cavity. This setup is most commonly used as a layer of protection against water damage with the first panel being an outer line of defence, the cavity adding insulation, and the final wall being an airtight backing wall. The outer panels won’t prevent all rain from getting through but the cavity allows the water to drain or evaporate before it ever penetrates the building’s interior. Owing to the lightweight and reasonable pricing of the rainscreening method, it is often used on new-build and renovation projects.
Timber cladding remains one of the most popular forms of cladding despite the wide range of options available, owing in part to the huge range of customisation that is available. Depending on the type and treatment of the wood in question, timber cladding can provide a built-in resistance to decay and moisture and can be styled into a wide range of shapes and colours to give a level of customisation that is hard to match. With the advent of more heat-treated timbers, the lifespan of timber cladding has been dramatically increased while opening even more options for different looks and profiles.
What Are The Benefits Of Cladding?
Cladding can provide a wide array of benefits with the most common simply being weather resistance. Having an outer layer specifically designed to counter the elements makes the inner construction of a building infinitely less complicated and protracted, allowing the focus to be shifted to function and stability foremost. It also adds a layer of insulation reducing the effect of either cold and heat on the building adding to its sustainability while also lowering the impact the building will have on the environment.
Finally, it allows for a level of aesthetic design to enter into the construction process without compromising the integrity of the building itself. By adding a certain style of cladding with a particular look, the entire profile of the building can be changed.