Which Type Of Cladding Should I Use?
Picking out the right cladding material will prove to be equally as important as the layout of the property, its design, construction and the final visual aesthetic it will create. The cost will be one of the primary factors involved in any decision but there are a multitude of additional elements to consider.
If you are unsure of how to choose the right cladding to use for your property, we have divided it between the construction and design stages to ensure you cover every aspect before making a final choice.
Construction Elements To Consider
- How the building is going to be used
What the building is going to be used for plays a big role in deciding the type of cladding to pick. The number of people working or living inside and the type of activities they will be doing will dictate the level of insulation and ventilation required.
- Internal and external conditions
Where the building is positioned and the type of environment surrounding it is just as important. Is there a lot of wind and rain in the region, or is the temperature consistently higher? Is there a lot of road traffic and potential build-up of pollution that can affect the cladding?
How the cladding material will stand up to external conditions will determine the best option to invest in. The cladding is intended to be a long-lasting solution which should lessen the need for repairs.
- Local context
Cladding should provide a sense of individuality but also reflect the mood of the surrounding area. For example, it makes more sense to create a modern look in a city centre rather than an old stone façade, and vice versa.
- Planning requirements
In most cases planning permission is not a requirement for cladding but if the building is listed or meets one of the few requirements needed for planning permission, then this has to be considered.
- Building regulations requirements
Any aspect of construction has a number of building regulation rules to adhere to and cladding is no different. This has to be checked before any work begins and it can play a role in helping to decide which material to purchase.
- Accessibility and buildability
How practical it is to add cladding includes assessing its accessibility and buildability. If performing the task will cause too many problems for the surrounding area, or if once completed it infringes on those using the building, it may not be worthwhile adding cladding.
One of the biggest concerns to do with any element of construction is budget. If it costs too much then it may not be a viable option. Weigh up the pros and cons of the material against the cost to find the right balance.
- Maintenance requirements
Cladding is generally considered to be very low maintenance across almost every material. This may vary slightly from one to another, with more specialised material needing extra care and attention.
- Structural requirements
How the cladding is going to be physically attached to the building should be interrogated. Decide on the type of cladding panels that suit the existing structure best and will cause the least impact.
Design Elements To Consider
- Design detailing
The cladding will naturally have to fit in with the overall design of the existing structure. While cladding creates a new aesthetic the shape, size and how the cladding will fit into all the elements of the building must be considered.
- Control of air leakage
Managing heat loss keeps the building ecologically sound and enables the building owners to control energy consumption. Air leakage plays a big role in that and choosing the right cladding will help form an airtight envelope around the building.
- Control of condensation
The addition of cladding improves insulation which means the creation of more moisture inside the building. Ventilation should be included in the design of the cladding to allow for appropriate levels of airflow to control condensation.
- Integrity and continuity of insulation
Cladding panels vastly improve the insulation of any property, sometimes more than installing internal insulation. However, the investment is only worthwhile if this can be maintained in the long term to regulate the internal temperature.
- Prevention of water penetration, or provision of drainage
When designing suitable cladding for a building you must ensure it prevents water from penetrating the structure underneath. It should also allow for the drainage of any built-up water which could otherwise lead to mould and damp.
- Control of thermal movement
Changes in both the internal and external environment will have an impact on the cladding which can contract and expand with the heat and cold. This must be managed in order to ensure thermal movement occurs naturally without causing damage.
- Spread of fire
If a fire occurs either inside or outside of the building, cladding panels should be resistant to both extreme heat and naked flames to prevent it from spreading. This is a must for all design elements of the building.
- Ease of installation
Cladding panels are generally considered to be easy to install. However, the scale of the job may make things more complicated and time will always impact on the budget. Weigh up the ease of installation against other pros and cons to make the right design choice.
- External attachments and fixings
Will there be a requirement for many attachments and fittings to be added once the panels are in place? If so, what they are, how many and the materials they are made from will have to be factored into the design plan.
Most cladding panels simply require a wash down every few years with a power hose and soapy water. If the materials being used, or the original structure is a little more specialist, identify how the cladding can be cleaned without creating further issues.
- Maintenance, remedial work and renewal
Similar to the cleaning aspect, the maintenance of cladding panels is minimal. Repair work should not be an ongoing requirement, although replacements will still have to be sought from time to time.
- Resilience, strength and durability
The toughness of the cladding material should be considered along with the nearby environment. Naturally, you will want it to be durable, strong and resilient and how the weather and internal activities play into those factors is key.