Cladding is a vital component in both commercial and domestic buildings to guarantee not only durability but also aesthetics. While cladding is capable of transforming the appearance of any property, its primary responsibility is to provide a protective layer to the underlying structure. It prevents potentially harmful external elements such as adverse weather conditions from causing structural damage, therefore, extending the longevity of the building.

Although in the past only traditional materials were used to construct cladding panels, there are now a plethora of variations available to maximise results. With this in mind, we have devised a comprehensive guide to the top nine systems, ultimately answering the question “what are the different types of cladding?”

What Are The Different Types Of Cladding: The 9 Systems Available

Through enlisting the help of professional fitters, the installation of cladding is a relatively simple, straightforward project. Taking into consideration the size of the building and the overall complexity of the job, cladding can be installed in as little as a day. Once installed, systems require very little maintenance which makes them an incredibly reliable and cost-effective option for property owners. In the unlikely event of any damage to your panels, for instance, dents and scratches due to wear and tear, cladding repairs can be completed quickly causing minimal disruption to daily operations.

1. Timber Cladding

Timber remains to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing of all cladding types. Commonly installed in long, narrow boards that can be fitted horizontally, vertically or diagonally, the outcome of timber cladding can be entirely customised to achieve the decorative finish you require. As timber is an organic source of material, every panel will be unique featuring a one-of-a-kind grain patterning that cannot be replicated, making your building stand out from the crowd.

Opting for timber cladding is ideal if you are hoping to begin lowering your carbon footprint. Hardwood timber, in particular, is an excellent natural insulator and is proven to have high levels of heat retention meaning that there will be less reliance on central heating. It is also made with entirely recyclable, renewable and sustainable materials making timber the most environmentally friendly of all cladding types.

House with timber cladding

2. Stone Cladding

Unlike other cladding types, a stone finish is more commonly a feature in domestic properties as opposed to commercial. Stone is perfect for providing homes with an elegant, luxurious exterior with a traditional “country home” feel. While natural stone cladding can be installed, it does come alongside an expensive price tag which means that many opt for its simulated alternatives. Simulated stone is ideal for lowering costs without compromising on aesthetics and durability.

Due to the non-porous properties of stone, it is incapable of absorbing any form of liquid providing your home with protection against leaks from the outside. This proves particularly beneficial in locations that see a considerable amount of heavy rainfall. The stone will also prevent a build-up of moisture, lowering the risk of damp, mould and mildew.

Stone cladding is incredibly easy to maintain and can be cleaned through DIY methods. For more information on how to care for stone cladding, take a look at Persian Tile.

3. Vinyl Cladding

Vinyl cladding is ideal for those looking for a contemporary, modern material that is available in an array of different colours. As vinyl remains one of the cheapest cladding materials and comes alongside proven energy efficiency, not only can it save you money during the installation process but also in the future. Panels can even be fitted with an additional layer of insulation that forms a temperature-controlling blanket over your property, keeping the space warm in the Winter and cool in the Summer.

Compared to its alternatives, vinyl is considerably more lightweight, allowing panels to be completely flexible when covering a building. Colours can be altered to complement different areas of the building to create an eye-catching appearance – fantastic for replicating brand colours. If in the future, you want to change the colour of vinyl panels, cladding spraying is available.

Blue Cladding Building

4. Weatherboard Cladding

When researching the different types of cladding, many assume that timber and weatherboard systems are the same; however, this isn’t the case. While weatherboard cladding is constructed using timber, the wood has been reconstituted instead of using authentic hardwood. Reconstituted means that the wood is repeatable and is specially created to look like a particular species. The wood can be used over and over again, yet will always look identical to the original version. Unlike authentic timber, weatherboard can be stained or painted to suit the colour of your choice. It is ideal if you aim to reap the benefits of timber cladding but would like more flexibility with the appearance.

The only downside to weatherboard cladding is that it does require considerably more maintenance than any other material. Unfortunately, weatherboard is susceptible to rotting and decaying which means that it must be regularly protected. IPI Independent has put together a useful guide on how to care for weatherboard cladding to avoid deterioration.

5. Glass Cladding

Many world-famous buildings across the globe including the Gherkin in London and Louvre in Paris utilise glass cladding for their recognisable exterior. Commonly used in commercial properties, glass cladding is highly effective in creating an instant modern appearance that most definitely stands out from the crowd.

Due to the lightweight benefits of glass, the material can easily be moulded to fit every contour of a building and can be constructed in many different shapes for a unique finish. As you will not have to worry about the discolouration or deterioration of the material, the only maintenance that glass cladding requires is cleaning at least twice a year. It is more than capable of withstanding the ever-changing British weather conditions as will not show any signs of environmental impact.

Many business owners opt for fitting glass cladding as it maximises the amount of natural light streaming into the office. Not only is natural lighting capable of dramatically reducing energy consumption, but is proven to enhance concentration and boost corporate morale. According to Office Space, those who are exposed to natural lighting during the working day report a 15% increase in productivity.

Glass Building

6. Brick Cladding

Brick cladding is fantastic if you are hoping to achieve a traditional appearance similar to stone; however, aim to add a modern patterned twist. Using different coloured bricks, the installation of your cladding can be altered to produce a particular pattern or design. Unlike regular bricks that are manufactured specially to build walls, cladding bricks are constructed using lightweight materials and in a variety of different colours.

Being able to guarantee the safety and strength of a building is imperative, which is where brick cladding proves particularly beneficial. Brick is one of the sturdiest materials and is capable of providing full protection against all elements it may be exposed to. Cladding made with brick will not crack, rot or show signs of pollutant damage.

7. Fibre Cement Cladding

Fibre cement is a composite material that can be used for both interior and exterior cladding. A composite material, by definition, is any material that has been created using two or more constituent elements to produce a new material that has unique characteristics. Materials used to create fibre cement include cement, sand, filler and cellulose, an organic compound found in plant cell walls.

Fibre cement cladding continues to rise in popularity due to its guaranteed longevity and protection against elements such as fire, adverse weather, heavy impact and insects. It is quick to install due to its lightweight features and once set, will not change when exposed to excessive heat or exposure to moisture.

Grey house cladding

8. Metal Cladding

While metal cladding may not be able to achieve the eye-catching, unique aesthetics that other materials can, it is extremely durable making it the ideal option for industrial buildings. The most popular materials used for metal cladding include steel and aluminium; both of which come alongside their own individual benefits and drawbacks.

One of the most significant benefits of the use of metal cladding in a commercial building is that the material is non-combustible. Although it doesn’t necessarily mean that the building is exempt from fire regulations, it does provide property owners with an added layer of protection against the risk of a fire. Metal cladding is also entirely recyclable which means that when panels reach the end of their life, they can easily be reused for another purpose and will not end up in a landfill site.

9. External Foam Cladding

External foam cladding, also known as External Insulated Finish System (EIFS) has the highest level of insulation of all system types. Panels are manufactured using foam that is designed with a reinforced core. The foam is then coated with a fibreglass mesh that adds strength to the cladding and makes them entirely resistant to impact. Depending on the level of insulation you require, panels are available in different thicknesses; all of which can be cut to size to fit every contour of a building. Not only is external foam cladding excellent at insulating a property during the Winter, but can also keep the warm air out in the Summer, keeping all rooms cool. Therefore, helping towards achieving a more energy efficient property and lowering energy bills.

For those hoping to add a contemporary twist to their property, external foam cladding is also available in a smooth or textured render. A wide variety of colours can be painted on top of the panels or embedded in textured renders.

Cladding Panels

Transform Your Building With Cladding!

Cladding remains an incredibly broad topic with many unsure on the different types available. Through taking a read through our article and spending time continuing to research into the route best suited to your requirements, you can reap the many benefits of your chosen cladding materials. Each material comes alongside their own advantages and attractive properties, all of which can be individually tailored to achieve both the aesthetics and needs of your property.