Cladding is an external skin of a building that protects it from the weather, provides insulation and fire resistance. It also has aesthetic properties that can enhance your home. The choice of cladding is important and has a significant impact on your building’s energy performance, cost, environmental impacts and property value.
There are a wide variety of cladding materials available, including wood, masonry and fibre cement. Choosing the best one for your project is often dependent on a careful assessment of your climate and design needs.
Timber cladding is an option that is traditionally used to cover the exterior of buildings. This is an attractive and sturdily-built material that is easy to maintain. Its natural characteristics make it a great choice for many projects.
It is low-maintenance and comes in a range of colours. It can also be treated to enhance its protective qualities.
However, timber can degrade over time and it is not always fire-resistant. To reduce the risk of a fire, it is recommended that you use a material with a higher rating than wood.
Concrete cladding is another option that can be a good choice for a low-maintenance, durable and cost-effective alternative to timber. It is resistant to moisture, can be painted and has an effective rainscreen.
The sturdiness of the material is a factor that makes it a popular choice for commercial, industrial and residential projects. It is also lightweight and can be installed in a number of ways.
Metal cladding is another option that can be used to create an impressive look on a building. It can be manufactured in a range of colors and can be cut to specific sizes.
Glass cladding is another option that can be very versatile and offers a wide range of options for architects. The panels can be fitted over brick or render, and are also available in a range of styles.
A reputable cladding supplier will have information on the compliance credentials of their products, and should be able to provide further details such as BAL (bushfire attack level) ratings for bushfire-prone areas. These can vary considerably from product to product, depending on construction design.
Embedded fire protection can be an option in steel or aluminium cladding. This can be a more affordable way to achieve high-grade, fire-resistant cladding, but it is not as easy to install as other cladding types.
It is also a good choice for fire-prone areas, and can be made from recycled materials such as aluminium or steel. It is also a more aesthetically pleasing option than wood, and comes in a variety of colors and styles.
Composite cladding is another alternative that can be a good choice for achieving a more sustainable cladding solution. These are typically manufactured from a blend of wood waste, sawdust and a plastic binder, with the binder being made from recycled plastics such as polythene (milk bottles) or PVC that has been repurposed from window and container manufacture.