Popular Cladding Material Options for Exterior Renovation

The Benefits of Cladding Go Beyond Aesthetics

Building overcladding process
Matt From London

Retrofit programs are taking over the construction industry. As a result, cladding, which is essentially the application of one material over another, has become one of the most popular alternatives for renovating the exterior of existing buildings. Cladding can give a building a new look and new life, but beyond aesthetics, it can also generate savings on electricity when used to address thermal and insulation issues. The benefits of cladding are greatest when dealing with high story buildings, or buildings confined in a small site, where the demolishing process is almost impossible or not feasible.

The Benefits of Cladding

Aesthetics is a huge factor when dealing with wall cladding projects, but cladding offers much more to a construction project than cosmetic upgrades. Some of the building benefits that you will get from the cladding process in the long run include:

  • Increased service life of the structure
  • Increased value of the building
  • Improved appearance 
  • Improved thermal, acoustical and natural daylight performance
  • Optimized use of considerable thermal mass
  • Elimination of internal problems
  • Protection from water penetration and improved air tightness
  • Lowered maintenance costs 
  • Reduced energy costs

Cladding Material Options

There are many types of cladding materials available depending on the nature of your construction and renovation project. Here is an overview of some of the key features of four of the most popular cladding material options.

1. Composite Panels

  • Ideal for industrial and commercial projects
  • Panel lengths ensure fast and economical installation
  • Cladding panels provide excellent acoustic performance
  • Air and water tightness is improved
  • High-performing and fire resistant

2. Rain Screen Cladding Panels

  • Normally attached to a lightweight support structure which is secured to the building's wall creating a cavity between it and the façade. Then insulation is applied to the external wall.
  • Weather-resistant decorative skin attached to the main structure by a supporting grid
  • Rain screen cladding panels create a ventilated and drained cavity in between
  • Reduces condensation risks associated with internal or cavity wall insulation
  • Allow the building fabric to breathe without the risk of interstitial condensation
  • The need for complicated damp proof membrane detailing is eliminated
  • Reduces the risk of cold bridging
  • Provides pressure equalization across the outer skin

3. Built Up Cladding Systems

  • Manufactured from pre-finished steel or aluminum
  • Can be used in a vast array of colors providing a wide choice of aesthetic finish
  • Wide range of profiles, materials and orientations
  • The acoustic and thermal performance can be adjusted achieving specific requirements
  • Semi-rigid slab insulation ensures continuity of insulation and no risk of sagging
  • Wall cladding systems fire wall options are available

4. Cement Cladding

  • Highly resistant to impact damage, weathering, atmospheric pollutants
  • Will not support mold growth or fungi
  • Cement panels have a life expectancy of at least 40 years
  • Specially developed ultra-violet light and weather resistant surface
  • Lightweight and easy to cut and fix
  • Frostproof
  • Color matched or concealed fixing systems
  • Low maintenance
  • Several colors available, including metallic and wood grain options
  • Colored on both sides

The wide choice of finishes now available and the practical advantages that they are proven to deliver means cladding renovations be considered as a cost-effective option for exterior renovations. Even better, as new materials are developed, cladding can achieve a high-quality finish to rival even the most premium of new builds.