What Is It?
Metal cladding (also known as siding) is a finish for an external wall, and it is usually made of steel or aluminium.
There are many types of building cladding and you might be wondering what’s wrong with weatherboard, vinyl or even the humble brick. Well, metal cladding is quite cheap compared to other forms of cladding, and it’s also fire resistant, which in some parts of the world is a definite bonus. However, steel is the tougher of the two metals, showing more weather and corrosion resistance over the years. Aluminium, on the other hand, can end up dented after a hailstorm!
Freedom Of Expression
One definite advantage to metal cladding is that it’s available in lots of different colours, textures, styles and patterns. If you’re looking to really personalise your house or workplace, then this is a good option for you. A lot of people prefer steel to aluminium as it looks classier and more space-age, but others opt for metal cladding that’s designed to resemble clapperboards. Yet others embrace the idea of a metal sleeve and wrap their home in a single sheet!
A lot goes into making the cladding sheets, in terms of energy and materials, but steel and aluminium are two of the most versatile and recyclable metals we have, so the sheets can either be re-used whole or simply recycled and used as something else at the end of their time clothing a building.
How Is It Actually Installed?
The metal cladding is put on or around your house by fitting interlocking panels – horizontal, vertical, or even diagonal if you fancy – to the outside of your house. Aluminium is a bit easier to get up, as it’s quite a bit lighter than steel. While this can save you money in the short-term, remember that one hailstorm could leave you looking a bit, well, weathered.
So Do I Dig Out The Brasso?
Not necessarily. One huge advantage of metal cladding is that it needs little more than an annual hose-down. In the past, metal cladding was prone to fading, but as the tech has moved on, we now have weather-resistant weatherproof topcoats that can filter out a lot of sun. One thing is important, though – if you’ve opted for steel, keep an eye out for scratches or chips. Left untreated, and by this we’re talking a new lick of topcoat, you’ll go rusty. If you live by the sea, forget steel and go for aluminium instead, unless you actually fancy going orange.
Most dents in metal cladding can be fixed, but if you’re looking at holes, then you’ll need to get the professionals in, as chances are they’ll have to remove the affected sheet and replace it, which takes know-how.
The advantages of steel are that it’s good-looking, durable and is low-maintenance. However, it corrodes badly in coastal areas, costs more, and isn’t as good at regulating the temperature of the building.
Aluminium is cheaper than steel, lighter and easier to install and is also low-maintenance. On the downside, it looks cheaper, is more prone to damage and doesn’t regulate internal temperatures well.