What is Wall Cladding?

Cladding is a means of decorating walls to make it seem as if it is made of a different material than it originally was. Think of it as applying another skin to the wall surface, a more decorative and artistic one. This application is in most cases permanent but does not in any way interfere with the core structure of the building, it also does not affect the integrity and stability of the building either. There are many uses for this means of wall solution, for most it is simply to decorate the wall surfaces. Cladding applications can be applied with a number of different sorts of materials one can think of, such as, stone, wood, metal, composite materials, (nutec, asbestos, bamboo, fiberglass etc.) and in some cases even mirror cladding is used purely for decoration purposes.


Functions of Wall Cladding

When asked what would one think are the functions of wall cladding, one would find that almost all the responses would be “It’s used to decorate a wall”, this answer is not wrong. In fact, there is more to wall cladding than just decoration, wall cladding is also applied in the following cases:
— to poor structural surfaces that may be difficult to repair and restore to its original state due to weather, corrosion, and poor building maintenance and more
— as a means to resolve damp proofing issues related to painted wall surfaces to allow for breathing and avoid further damages to be caused
— just like damp proofing, in some cases interior walls of old buildings that have not been well maintained tend to crack and crumble causes structural surfaces to be damaged and can be costly to repair and restore to its original state, this method also allows for the walls to breathe and improve longevity of the interior walls
— can be used as a covering to mask the walls exposed contents (pipes, cables, etc)
— Wall cladding application also reduces maintenance costs on external walls that experiences lots of corrosion or weathering especially buildings close to ocean shores, open lands, farms and or mountains.
There are different methods of applying wall cladding to surfaces, but the methods varies depending on the purpose of applying the cladding to the surface/s. Wall cladding can be used just about anywhere in a home or building, even in moist areas such as the bathroom, toilet, kitchen and more. Decorative wall cladding is usually applied to one wall to contrast itself or objects from the rest of the room and to accent the theme or design of the room or office. Like painting is a skin so is the same to be thought of wall cladding.

Wooden Cladding

Wooden Cladding is probably the most commonly used in corporate, old buildings, government spaces used accentuate a taste of class and power to the individual. That doesn’t have to be the case, as technology progresses more genetic and composite materials are created for the common home owner to access similar materials at a lot less than natural wood as used in the latter environments. An example would be the use of nutec, even though it is not a wood, some nutec product/s boast a rather impressive wooden design and texture/finish. Another example would be bamboo cladding, which is technically another composite material and organic as well.

Find some examples of wooden cladding as discussed below:

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An example of Nutec Tongue and Groove Cladding to decorate part of a wall.

KUL-SID-02-Wood-panel-for-facade-Kul-Bamboo-200304-rel9c14c21e

Bamboo Cladding applied to the outside of a home.

Metal Cladding

Metal Cladding are usually found outside or inside of large buildings, due to the cost involved for application it is very seldom found in homes. Long term maintenance on this form of cladding is not suitable for the home owners as it requires more attention than other forms of cladding materials and is quite expensive. Metal cladding depending how it is applied is almost used purely for decoration and architectural purposes. The common metals used for this form of cladding are Copper, Aluminium, Bronze, Alloy and Brass.

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This is an example of the metal cladding applied to the interior of an office.

Stone Cladding

Stone cladding is probably the most common sort of cladding around, this form of cladding can be used almost anywhere and possibly the most durable and longest lasting material. This sort of cladding is usually found on the exterior of buildings and homes. Stone cladding could also likely be the most cost effective means of cladding long term.

Composite Material Cladding

When we say composite material we mean that the material is not entirely natural or that it is just not made of one core material. Some may, like bamboo cladding, be natural but the manufacturing and application process requires further use of other products to produce the desired cladding materials. Composite materials can also be defined by the process/es which the natural core materials undergoes for the desired outcomes as we find when we purchase them. Such as bonding processes using adhesives reducing the organic makeup of the finished product, in the example of the bamboo manufacturing. There has been some debate about bamboo being composite or not, but that is entirely up to what one would consider it to be. But a definite example of composite materials that we have discussed earlier would be Nutec. Nutec is a safer alternative to asbestos. Nutec is a fibre cement bonded and moulded to form wide range of products for different uses. Learn more about Nutec here.

PROS vs CONS

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of considering to use cladding as a means of decorating rather conventional means as painting:

PROS CONS
Depending on application method used, cladding allows for breathing on bare walls and improves longevity Wall Cladding can be costly to undertake as a project in your home or office
Depending on the purpose and type of Cladding selected for application it can improve durability of the surfaces, if surfaces prove to be problematic Cleaning can be difficult at times, this depends entirely on the type of cladding used
Cladding is generally a lot more cost effective to maintain over the years than usual decorative surfaces Some types of cladding can be fragile, such as nutec tongue and groove, again depending how it is applied can be vulnerable to breakage if placed in a high traffic area, otherwise apply more permanently to resolve. Longevity in this sense, depends entirely on the crowd or objects close to the cladding
Wall cladding when decorated creatively looks really impressive and appealing
Wall Cladding can also largely improve the market value of the property
Wall Cladding can generally be designed to form many shapes, forms, textures finished off with a large palette of colours to play with. This makes it sometimes fun. The sky is the limit
Wall Cladding is very versatile and can be applied to almost any kind of wall surface and even used to blend in with the designated areas and accentuate it’s theme

 

More About:
Nutec: http://www.everite.co.za/EN/Content/Pages/TONGUE-and-GROOVE

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