8th November 2018
A Guide To Cladding
You may have heard of cladding or have a vague idea of what it is, but may not be aware of how it works within the building trade. The technique is perhaps more commonly used than you may realise, which is a testament to how seamlessly it fits into the construction of many modern day buildings.
In our guide, we will cover the basics of cladding so you can identify what it is, why it is added onto buildings and how accessible it is for homeowners and those building commercial buildings.
What is cladding?
Cladding is the use of an additional material that is either nailed to timber battens or fixed directly to the wall. The reason this is done is to protect the wall and structure of the property underneath while creating a new visual aesthetic for the building as a whole.
There is a long list of reasons and benefits for installing cladding to a building, some of which we will go into below.
The technique of installing cladding has gained further popularity over the past 100 years as the method of wall building has changed in construction. With modern day buildings often built using an inner and outer wall to improve insulation in the structure, the installation of cladding is also able to provide similar benefits.
Why use cladding?
Cladding continues to be a popular choice for building companies and homeowners. Below are just a small selection of the reasons why it is used so commonly.
- Create a controlled internal environment
Adding cladding to the external walls of a building improves the insulation inside the structure. This helps to regulate temperature throughout the year and makes it easier to control energy bills, air conditioning and create an environment that employees and staff are happy to work in.
- Protect the building from external conditions
Different types of material, be it vinyl, stone, cement fibre or brick offer varying levels of protection against the weather. The general purpose of all of these is to prevent moisture and wind from penetrating through into the structure beneath. This ensures the durability of the building is far higher and reduces the need for regular and expensive repairs.
- Provide privacy and security
Cladding can be particularly useful for government departments or businesses working with sensitive material. The extra layer of protection positioned around the inner building can improve security and privacy to block out any potential dangers that may be interested in using technology or other means to gain access to internal information.
- Prevent the transmission of sound
Depending on where the building is situated, blocking out external sound may be a necessity. Cladding is able to help with sound insulation to create a more stable internal environment by blocking out noisy distractions. This will be useful for buildings that are positioned in city-centres and areas that experience high levels of road and foot traffic.
- Provide thermal insulation
One of the main benefits external cladding can provide to a building is a dramatic improvement in terms of thermal insulation. The cladding acts as another skin around the original structure ensuring that there are lower levels of heat loss occurring. This ties into creating a controlled internal environment that will also help to lower energy consumption across the course of the year, especially during the winter months.
- Create an external façade
Cladding is available in a wide range of materials and the options available allow architects to create a unique and appealing aesthetic for the building. This will help them to reflect the architecture of the buildings around them while forming something pleasing to the eye that will speak about the company or type of businesses who will be operating inside. Whether it’s stone, metal, vinyl, brick or fibre cement, there’s no shortage of materials available to choose from.
- Prevent the spread of fire
Extreme care has to be taken when choosing cladding for a building and its fireproof properties are one of the most important elements to consider. Not all cladding provides high levels of protection and this has to be checked before the material is purchased and installed onto any building. It must be stressed that there are strict Building Regulations guidelines about cladding and you should ensure the material meets these before going any further.
- Generate an 'airtight' building envelope
The thermal performance of a building plays a key role in ensuring it minimises energy use and adheres to environmental guidelines. Cladding helps to create an ‘airtight’ building envelope which improves insulation and ensures there are lower levels of heat loss, which in turn reduces the amount of energy being used within the building. In many cases, this can prove to be more energy efficient than simply improving insulation within the interior of the building itself.
- Providing openings for access, daylight and ventilation
Cladding also comes with inbuilt ventilation systems to allow for the removal of built-up moisture naturally produced within the building. This is why it is so effective at preventing mould, rot and corrosion and adding longevity to the structure. Cladding will also allow for healthy levels of daylight to access the interior of the building so there is no loss of light, and the materials can always be accessed easily at any time either internally or externally.
Does cladding require planning permission?
In the vast majority of cases, you will not need to apply for planning permission as cladding falls under Permitted Development. This enables property owners to make amendments to the building without having to seek planning approval from external authorities.
There are some exceptions to this rule. You will need to seek planning permission for cladding for one of the following:
- A listed building
- National Park
- Conservation Area
- Area of Outstanding National Beauty
- The Broads