The cladding system is the main element of an architectural facade that provides a structurally and visually appealing building envelope. Typically, a cladding system is designed to minimize air leakage, optimize natural daylighting and maximize thermal performance. It also prevents moisture from leaking inside the building and deflects rain and snow that strikes it.
The basic components of a cladding system are load bearing walls, an insulating layer and the cladding material itself. The cladding material is fixed to the load bearing wall using a supporting structure and an air cavity is created between the cladding and the wall, allowing ventilation. This method of construction is a highly effective and cost efficient solution for exterior cladding systems.
Several types of cladding materials can be used in the construction of a building’s exterior walls. These include masonry veneers, EIFS (exterior insulation and finish systems), plaster and metal cladding.
Different cladding systems can be used to create distinctive profiles and shadow textures that are desirable in modern design. Some cladding materials offer more versatility than others, such as the ability to be molded and cut. Other cladding materials are lighter in weight and can be installed in a variety of patterns or designs.
Some cladding systems are specifically designed to resist wind and snow loading, such as the insulated masonry veneer or the composite cladding products. These systems are generally more expensive to install than other types of cladding, but they are often less prone to damage from weather.
Other cladding systems may not be able to provide the same protection from wind and snow, but they can still be a useful addition to a building’s exterior. They can deflect and drain water, and they can help protect a building’s interior against mold and mildew growth.
These systems can be constructed of wood, a range of metals, and composite materials. Some cladding products are also environmentally friendly, such as those that have been made from recycled materials.
Depending on the material, cladding can be extremely durable and can withstand both weather and harsh chemicals. It can even be fire-resistant and flame-retardant.
The cladding can be installed as an extension of the building’s primary structure, or it can be retrofitted to existing structures. Regardless of the type of cladding system chosen, it is important that it is installed in such a way that it doesn’t affect the building’s structural capacity.
Most cladding systems are relatively light weight, and they are often designed to be easy to install, ensuring a smooth and sophisticated finish. This makes them an ideal solution for building construction.
In addition, most cladding materials are low-maintenance and can be installed over a variety of substrates, including concrete, drywall and plasterboard. This allows architects to choose the best material for their project.
A cladding system is also an effective way to reduce the risk of fire, as it can block airflow from the ground floor up to the top of the insulated cladding. This reduces the risk of chimney effect, which can lead to the spread of vertical fire.