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What Is Wall Cladding?

There are various kinds of cladding, ranging from brick and stone to wood and metal.
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  • Written By: Jeremy Laukkonen
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 24 March 2014
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Wall cladding is a type of decorative covering used on building exteriors. Though usually non-structural in nature, it may be functional as well, and include a degree of water-proofing, a barrier against the wind, or other protections. Cladding can take a number of different forms, be made from many different materials, and is often used to create a decorative building facade. Some of the popular materials for it include various metals, stone, and composite sidings.

Metal is a popular and versatile type of cladding, with copper and its alloys, brass and bronze, often being used. This type of wall cladding is typically available in a number of different finishes, colors, and alloys. There are many different designs, with a variety of them being easily formed out of flat sheets of copper. Other metals, such as aluminum, may also be used to achieve more durability and a wider range of finishes and colors.

Another common type is masonry, which involves the application of carved stone or brick to the facade of a building. Stone as a cladding material is typically very durable, though depending on the particular design, it may not be as waterproof as other types of cladding. Certain types of stone cladding may allow water to penetrate to the underlying wood surface, which can allow it to rot if left unattended.

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In addition to actual brick and stone, there are also various types of imitation cladding. Such faux claddings are typically composites of various materials, such as asphalt, fiber cement, and other building products. They are usually designed to approximate the look of wood, stone, metal, or other more luxurious exterior materials, and they may be attractive due to their lower prices.

Though wall cladding typically isn't structural, it may be in certain cases. Various materials, like copper, may be used in the fabrication of such structural varieties. Rather than being applied after the construction of the building, this type of cladding must be engineered specifically to be a load-bearing, integral part of the structure. While most can be removed if the use of a building changes and a new facade is subsequently desired, it may be substantially more difficult to change the look of a building with this type of structural cladding.

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