Cladding Essentials For Homeowners

Cladding means that a layer of material is applied over another material to protect or beautify. In home building, this refers to the external finish of the house, usually to protect the home from the elements, and for ease of maintenance. A wide variety of cladding material is available, and most of these will enhance the appearance of the home as well, thereby adding value to the home. Cladding that provides insulation brings another benefit, that of reduced living costs. exterior cladding

Wood has traditionally been used for house exteriors and has been popular because of the beauty of wood, ease of use, and almost limitless choice of design. Wood is suited for all climates and locations, and has a natural resilience which adapts to movements in the foundation or to windstorms. Pine, spruce, larch or cedar are the common choices. The wood can be pretreated so as to be more weather resistant, but should be maintained regularly to prevent rotting, deterioration, or infestation by vermin. Wood is also vulnerable to fire. Fire resistant cladding system

There are synthetic claddings that give the appearance of wood. These products are weather-resistant and long lasting, and require a minimum of maintenance. An example is fiber cement, a composite material made of sand, cement and cellulose fiber, which is less costly and easy to install. Another manufactured innovation is high density wood composite cladding. linear cladding

Stone cladding is a thin layer of stone or simulated stone that is applied to a wall made of material other than stone, such as concrete or steel. Granite, limestone, sandstone, marble and slate are some of the materials used. The advantage of stone cladding is its permanence, and also its aesthetic appeal. The disadvantages are the possibility of trapped moisture within the walls of the building, and the difficulty of installing and removing. Stone will not trap heat, and is therefore an effective cladding for hot climates; in cold climates, an insulated layer can be used to prevent heat loss. james hardie

Brick is easier to use, and can come in a variety of forms, textures and colors, making it a flexible material to work with. It is aesthetically appealing, and imparts a look of sturdiness and permanence. It is an effective rain screen and requires minimal maintenance. However, traditional sized bricks are heavy, expensive, and require skilled workers. Innovative alternatives are brick slips, tiles, large format clay blocks, thin joint brickwork, and preassembled panels. There are literally hundreds of brick cladding styles to choose from.

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