Metal Cladding Systems have occupied their place among architects for decades by providing various beneficial properties. These claddings come with high flexibility and numerous finishes, allowing designers to create limitless designs and build facades for their customers. Modern manufacturers utilize different methods to produce metal cladding with higher resistance to corrosion and other damaging elements. Metal cladding comes in various shapes and systems, including aluminum composite panels known as ACM panels, which are trendy and practical for architects who prefer to design a modern and slick appearance for buildings.
In part one of metal cladding from the architectural perspective article, we discussed systems available in the market and their finishes which designers appreciate utilizing for their projects. Metal claddings are used as rain-screen systems to protect the building from different factors and striking exterior finish. ACM panels, one of the most popular metal cladding systems, have an easy installation and fabrication process. Other cladding materials such as metal sidings are also elementary to fabricate, and manufacturers create these siding materials in modern and efficient methods. However, for a better understanding of metal cladding systems, it is also essential to know the materials used to develop them for the industry and their functionality or performance when installed on a constructions facade.
Materials Used for Developing Metal Cladding Systems
Metal cladding systems incorporate overabundance materials, and each has its unique advantages and disadvantages. The architect’s material choice will depend on several factors, including demanding aesthetics, structural systems, climate conditions, the nature of adjacent substances, and the overall budget.
Aluminum: Manufacturers use aluminum to create metal claddings due to its natural resistance to rusting and its mirror-like appearance, which can benefit current projects. Various cladding products are made from this metal, such as ACM panels or ACP materials, aluminum sidings, etc. Metal claddings that are created from this substance are often lighter and provide a more straightforward installation process.
Stainless Steel: Manufacturers create stainless steel by coating steel with a thin layer of chromium oxide which helps prevent the oxidization process of corrosion from happening.
Galvanized Steel: Steel glazed with a thin layer of zinc is called galvanized steel with functionality similar to stainless steel; however, metal claddings with this material often have a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.
Weathering Steel: COR-TEN steel is also referred to as weathering steel, is another cladding material that forms a protective layer over time and displays a rustic appearance for the building.
Zinc: Another material that architects appreciate due to its waterproof; corrosion-resistant qualities is zinc metal. This material is immune to the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays and features self-healing characteristics.
Copper: One of the materials used in metal cladding is copper, a very durable and lightweight substance, and it is 100% recyclable, just like Aluminum composite panels. This metal can turn its hue to a distinctive green color due to its oxidization.
Metal Claddings Performance Factors
One of the prime purposes for the popularity of metal cladding systems is their resiliency. These claddings can help the building last for decades if combined with well-considered detailing. In addition, there are many performance factors that architects appreciate when using them in their facilities.
Durability: While metal claddings are generally more durable than other materials such as wood sidings which are also practical products, some metals are softer and can be scratched or dented. Thus, architects always let the manufacturers know the requirements of the building to produce durable materials such as ACM panels for them.
Fire Resistance: Most metal claddings, including aluminum composite panels, are very resistant to fire, but it is steel recommended for architects to consult with the manufacturers on fire-resistance rating requirements of the cladding.
Thermal Insulation: Metal cladding products often provide considerable thermal insulation due to their unique layered structure. However, some more straightforward siding materials will require a sheet board to the external surface of the infill walls for thermal and weather resistance.
Acoustic Properties: ACP materials and ACM panels provide perfect sound insulation for the building. However, other metal claddings have limited sound insulation properties between the external and internal sections. Thus, suppliers often calculate wall ratings, factoring in the weighted sound reduction index or transmission class of the insulating cladding product.
Recyclability: Current building codes and standards require environmentally friendly materials, and architects consider the environmental impact of a building material over its lifetime. ACM panels and Copper metal claddings are popular due to their 100% recyclability. Thus, it is more efficient for the buildings to have these types of metal claddings. Additionally, manufacturers produce new cladding materials by using old and damaged products that are out of order.
Wind Action and Rainwater Resistance: Building’s cladding materials should sustain wind action and transfer it to the primary building structure. Moreover, metal claddings should run the water down to the earth to prevent water penetration and further damages. This is why rainscreen are essential products that are considered metal claddings.