14 December 2020
By Hamish Anderson
While cladding has changed massively over the years in terms of materials and usage, it is thought to have been around in some form or another for many centuries. In fact, historical discoveries would indicate evidence of cladding being used as early as the 5th century where various homes in the United Kingdom used cladding made of timber. Primarily due to the fact cladding provides thermal insulation, weather resistance, and (can provide) aesthetical appeal it is generally considered a beneficial aspect of any type of building.
It is ironic, given proof to the contrary, that many people consider cladding to be a relatively new invention. Rather, what is relatively new, is the evolution of different materials used for the cladding process. Sadly, due to a number of high-profile tragedies, cladding in recent years has come under the spotlight, but the fact remains, where compliant building cladding is used, the benefits functionally and aesthetically cannot be ignored. In this article, we’ll talk about the newer trends in cladding, its evolution and how it can be an effective solution for upgrade requirements.
Why upgrade your building?
Sometimes, when you look at an existing building, especially when you compare it to a newer one, it is hard not to think “Geez, that really needs a facelift”. It’s ironic really, but the fact is, people do not often think about the building needing an upgrade. People change their cars, their personal look and many other aspects of their life much more regularly than they do the buildings they work or live in, which when you think about it is strange given how much time is spent in them.
See, many people view a building only as a structure that provides shelter and allows them to go about their daily functions comfortably, but in failing to consider maintenance to and/or upgrades to the building, they are neglecting to realise there could be ongoing ramifications to either the structure, or the value.
Unusually for us on this blog, we are not looking at the structural aspects of a building which may need attention, but do want to consider aesthetic attributes. The basic concept of the walls of a building is to protect the interior systems, your resources, and the overall structure of the building. But above and beyond this, it should offer acoustic and thermal insulation and be aesthetically pleasing too. Here is the thing though, over time, what was once seen as adequate, or fit for purpose, may no longer be. Technology may (read – likely does) mean there are newer options which can be used to enhance all of the above and even more. This is where cladding comes to the fore, by providing benefits such as lower operating costs for thermal aspects, improved safety, reduced noise levels, and even fire protection.
Cladding as an Upgrade
Simply put, Cladding is the application of one material over another to provide a layer. In other words, it acts as a skin for your building. But what is the right cladding to use, are there different price points and what do the different options do that others may not?
Cladding is an excellent way to improve the performance of your building.
There are many different factors which may affect what cladding you consider. It may depend on the existing façade, compatibility with the façade, the aesthetic look you desire, the budget you have and what properties you want it to achieve above others. That all said, today’s cladding in general offers multiple benefits.
First, it is an excellent layer of protection for the actual structure of your building, and will insulate it as well. It works as insulator for both noise and heat, working to keep the outside elements from affecting the internal climates selected by residents. Aside from that, cladding increases the mechanical strength of a building as it is resistant to cracks caused by temperature or climate change and due to the aforementioned insulation properties it offers, helps to prevent movements in the building structure itself.
Because cladding can be made from a variety of materials such as wood, metal, ceramic, concrete, stone, and others, the aesthetic look you desire can usually be achieved, whilst also offering the advantages already mentioned. Further, because cladding protects the building and also offers visual improvements, the work required to maintain the structure is diminished which in return reduces the amount of money required into the future, whilst simultaneously increasing the value of your building.
Notwithstanding the terrible events in buildings such as the Lacrosse Tower, cladding materials have evolved a long way both in terms of the options, but also visual improvements. Most-notably, cladding materials have improved their performance criteria in terms of thermal resistance, water resistance, and soundproofing, whilst also becoming more affordable, making them more popular for these reasons.
Best Fireproof Cladding Facades
Nothing is truly fireproof, but there are options available now which look to nullify the devastation of the previous cladding fires. Ultimately, the appropriate cladding material to use depends on the orientation of your building and surrounding environment, whether it’s located in the city, beach, and the façade itself. Speaking to an architect and designer will play an important role in correct material selection as they’ll know the constraints of the materials and requirements.
In terms of fire rating compliance there are multiple options, but a strong contender is fibre cement. Aside from being the fastest growing material in use it is an excellent option for fireproof cladding facades because it resists damage from fire and can be designed as required. It is also an ideal material for exterior cladding facade panels as it offers many practical benefits such as strength and durability.
Another suitable non-combustible cladding material are metallic options. Metals, in general, are known to have high-level durability, resistance, and longevity. Further, they are low maintenance, easy to install, don’t absorb moisture, and are insect-proof.
At the end of the day, if you are unsure what you should be considering to upgrade your building; whether you need to consider window replacement, or just a cladding upgrade, give us a call. We are ready to help and come packed with experience to help you make the right choices.CONTACT US
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