Exterior wall cladding protects the structure from adverse weather conditions, by making it resistant to exposure to sunlight, sudden changes in humidity and so on. Due to its high degree of insulation, it helps maintain cool temperatures inside. It will ensure little or no maintenance as it requires just washing to keep its strength and look hence avoiding huge expense on repairs and maintenance. External wall cladding also enhances the aesthetic appeal of the building and hence saves a lot of money as compared to the other alternatives.
What are the best building cladding systems?
For me, the best cladding material would be the Solid Core Aluminum which is extensively used for the exterior of the building. It has protective skin on both sides that enhances its appearance, and provides insulation while providing protection from various environmental elements. The benefits of Solid Core Aluminum are – its light weight, durability, aesthetic elements, low maintenance, and recyclable nature.
What are the trendy exterior cladding materials available in the market for different types of projects?
The choice of exterior cladding materials depends on the type of project, and they keep getting upgraded as per the changing trends and demands:
High-Pressure Laminates: HPL cladding is available in different textures, shades, and styles making them ideal material for exterior cladding and surfacing material for commercial purposes
Wood Cladding: Wood cladding provides thermal insulation, protecting against harsh environmental conditions. It is one of the best cladding materials as it is low- maintenance, environmentally friendly and non-combustible.
Metal Cladding: Metal Cladding is opted for, due to its strong and durable nature as well as it provides aesthetic versatility.It performs the dual function of cladding both for roofs and exterior walls.
Glass Cladding: Glass Cladding is preferred in construction due to its various functional requirements of the building such as lighting, heat retention with visual effects construction.
Polycarbonate Panels: Polycarbonate Panels are used to create creative façade panels as they enable excellent light transmission.
What are the key factors to consider while recommending Exterior wall cladding materials?
Cladding materials are chosen depending on the characteristics & requirements of the project such as its insulation properties, cost and durability, maintenance cost, strength, longevity, fire resistance properties, aesthetic appeal, etc.
What are the latest trends in designing exterior cladding considering high-rises and low-rises?
The wall cladding design, technology and manufacturing keep evolving. Energy efficiency and environmental friendliness are two important considerations while choosing cladding materials. Below are a few trends considered in high-rises and low-rises:
Technological advancements and development have provided cladding materials that not only just look aesthetically good but also adhere to changing environmental conditions. As smart buildings are being constructed the cladding is designed to integrate sensors, actuators, and smart materials into cladding systems that can enhance building performance, optimise energy usage, and improve occupant comfort.
While building high rises and mid-rises, environmental friendliness is concerned, hence, cladding is designed to ensure sustainability, recyclable properties and recyclable metal panels.
Lightweight and high-strength is another important consideration while designing cladding materials.
Prefabrication & offsite construction are also gaining popularity while constructing low-rise and high-rise buildings.
Contemporary Construction which is a blend of natural and modern construction giving the structure a contemporary look is yet another factor considered while choosing cladding materials.
How to make sure that the cladding materials and installation methods are fire-safe? Is there any testing, or certification for assurance?
To ensure cladding and insulation methods are fire-resistant, for the safety of the occupants of the building, below are a few methods:
• Ensure that the material has proved to be fire-safe. A few cladding materials that comply with fire safety include fiber cement, metal panels, brick, and a few stones. • One must be aware of the building codes and standards and cautiously choose cladding material and insulation that as per codes adhere to fire safety standards and assembly methods.
• The cladding manufacturers should ensure their products are tested for fire performance. Certifications such as ASTM E84 and EN 13501 provide information on materials flammability, smoke production and flame spread characteristics.
• Cladding should be installed according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and compliance with building codes and regulations. This can be done by hiring experienced and qualified contractors. • Seeking advice from experienced Architects, safety engineers and building professionals who have experience in issues related to cladding and insulation materials can ensure the choice of materials that are fire-resistant and the right materials as per the type of project.
• Staying updated about the latest product in the market will ensure the choice of the right cladding material and installation method.
Ar. Vivek Bhole, Vivek Bhole Architects Pvt Ltd
Chairman & Managing Director
Ar. Vivek Bhole is the Chairman & Managing Director of Vivek Bhole Architects Pvt Ltd.