A Bookmarkable Guide: The 10 Different Types of Cladding Used in Buildings



As you know, first impressions are critical in construction. You want your structure to stand out.


And the right type of cladding can provide the personality, character and a distinct style whether it’s a new structure, or the renovation of a tired old building.


But, there’s a problem.


Choosing cladding is one of the most challenging and time-consuming decisions you will have to make.


In the past, it was easy to choose because cladding revolved around wood and stone. On the contrary, with the advances in technology today, it can be overwhelming with all the choices available.


The good news?


In this post, we will take you through the different types of cladding used in buildings.


But before we get started, let’s first look at some of the factors that influence your cladding choice. They include:


● The budget.

● The structural requirements.

● The usage of a building.

● The planning requirements.

● The building regulations.

● Durability.

● Appearance.

● The availability of a cladding material.


That said, let’s now dive into the various types of cladding used in construction. Ready?

#1. Stone Cladding

It’s common in domestic properties and involves using thin layers of natural stone such as marble, sandstone and slate. To make construction easy, these stones are cut into pieces of uniform thickness.


Also, natural stone cladding requires a structural substrate for stability. You can even opt for simulated stone that’s cheaper, durable and enhances curb appeal.

Pros

● Provides a natural look and adds elegance to a structure.

● Stone is non-porous hence provides excellent protection against leaks into a building especially for areas that experience heavy rainfall.

● Stone cladding reduces the likelihood of mold, damp and mildew by preventing the build-up of moisture.

● Stone cladding is easy to maintain.

● Stone cladding is durable as it can last for ages without losing its lustre.

Cons

● It’s expensive.

● It’s installation is labour-intensive.

#2. Timber Cladding

It’s one of the most appealing types of cladding. With varying colours, textures and styles, timber cladding can be customized according to individual taste. Additionally, you can choose between softwoods, hardwoods or even improved woods depending on your budget.


Lastly, one of the common techniques of timber cladding is long, narrow boards that can be fitted diagonally, horizontally or vertically.

Pros

● It’s environmentally friendly as it’s recyclable and 100 percent biodegradable.

● It’s durable.

● It’s easy to install.

● Hardwood timber greatly helps with insulation hence reducing energy costs.

● As an organic material, each panel will have a distinct grain pattern and this enhances aesthetics.

Cons

● It burns quickly in the case of a fire.


#3. Glass Cladding

It’s the commonly used cladding in the majority of recent buildings and helps create that modern look. Depending on the function, different types of glass can be used.


Pros

● It’s versatile. Can be moulded into different shapes to fit each contour of a structure.

● With the right type of glass, you don’t have to worry about defects such as discolouration or deterioration.

● It’s low-maintenance. Probably once or twice annually.

● Improves aesthetics.

● Reduces energy costs by allowing natural light into a structure.

● Helps improve the wellbeing of the occupants.

Cons

● Not safe for earthquake-prone areas.

● Not as strong as other types of cladding such as stone in case of impact.


#4. Vinyl Cladding

Vinyl is a plastic substance produced from ethylene and chlorine. It’s available in different colours and is also one of the cheapest cladding materials.

Pros

● Compared to other cladding materials, it’s lightweight.

● Offers flexibility. You can use different colours on different parts of the building for aesthetics. Alternatively, over time you can do cladding spraying to change the colours of the vinyl panels.

● An additional layer of insulation can be added to the panels to improve energy efficiency.

Cons

● Can release toxins to the atmosphere when subjected to a specific temperature.

● It gives the impression of cheapness due to its plastic nature. This can lead to an undervaluation during the sale of a structure.

#5. Weatherboard Cladding

Also referred to as featheredge cladding.


Weatherboard cladding is commonly confused with timber cladding. And yes, weatherboard involved using timber. By contrast, today there are a variety of options to create the same classic look of timber weatherboard cladding using different materials.


Pros

● Offers the same look and feel as wood.

● Improves the curb appeal of a building.

Cons


● Requires more maintenance than other forms of cladding.

● It’s highly susceptible to rotting and decaying.


#6. Metal Cladding

Metal cladding is usually installed in industrial buildings. The commonly used materials are steel, aluminium, zinc and copper.

Pros

● Can withstand extreme weather for years or even decades.

● It’s recyclable. The material doesn’t have to end up in a landfill.

● It’s durable.

● It helps in fire protection since it’s non-combustible.

Cons

● It’s expensive.

● Requires regular maintenance.

● Not as aesthetically pleasing as other cladding materials.

#7. Brick Cladding

It’s one of the oldest cladding systems. Brick cladding can be in different colours and patterns to achieve the desired finish.

Pros

● Not liable to crack or prone to damage from pollution.

● Provides adequate protection against the elements.

● It’s low maintenance. Sometimes all you need to do is simple washing to keep the bricks tidy and in pristine condition.

● Bricks are sustainable. They can be recycled into new bricks, reused or crushed for fill.

Cons

● The installation is time consuming.

● The rough surface of the brick cladding can cause mold growth if not cleaned properly.


#8. External Foam Cladding

Also called External Insulated Finish System (EIFS).


External foam cladding involves foam panels with a reinforced core. In addition, a fibreglass mesh coating enhances strength and resistance to impact. Also, depending on the level of insulation, these panels come in different thicknesses.

Pros

● Has better insulation compared to other cladding types.

● Different types of colours can be painted on the panels.

● It’s easy to install.

● Provides adequate weather resistance.

Cons

● Emits flammable and toxic gases after combustion.

#9. Fibre Cement Cladding

Fibre cement is a mixture of sand, cement and cellulose fibres and is usually applied in horizontal boards or sheets. Additionally, there are a variety of colours and finishes to cater for individual tastes.

Pros

● Is easy to install.

● Has minimal maintenance.

● It’s budget friendly.

● Provides enhanced fire resistance.

● It’s not susceptible to rot and termites.

Cons

● Offers less character than stone or timber cladding.

#10. Concrete Cladding

Concrete is durable, strong, resistant to impact and has excellent fire-resistant characteristics. As a result, it’s a cost-effective way to produce a high-quality facade.


Concrete can be decorative or can offer structural benefits. For instance, concrete cladding panels can be designed to be load-bearing to support floors. Also, the panels can be self-supporting or can be supported by the structural frame of a building.


Precast concrete panels can be used for both residential and commercial properties. They can be manufactured in different designs, colours and finishes. In addition, these panels can even incorporate details such as arches and cornices.


Pros

● Can be installed quickly on site hence reducing construction time.

● Precast concrete panels minimize waste.

● Ensures high thermal performance.

● Provides excellent acoustic insulation especially in busy streets or noisy environments.

Cons

● Concrete may contain soluble salts that cause efflorescence.

● Susceptible to cracking.

● If cast on site then it requires curing.


That’s it. Those are the different types of cladding used in buildings. So...

Which Type of Cladding is Right For You?

Cladding is one of the best strategies to enhance the aesthetics of your property. Not only that, it serves as a protective skin for the building and its interiors. In other words, cladding prevents the elements from causing structural damage hence ensuring the durability of a structure.


Whether it’s a commercial or domestic building, there’s a type of cladding that suits your needs.


To get started, the above list can come in handy. But, if you are still stuck, we are here to help.