Wall cladding serves the purpose of protecting the structure of a building, being a decoration, or both. With this, how do we choose the suitable wall cladding for our structures?
To determine which wall cladding to use, we listed the steps that we have to do and things that we have to consider:
- Do we need internal or external cladding?
- Determine the budget.
- Ask an expert.
- Review the choices of materials.
- Pick a color.
- Determine the preferred finish.
- Know how to maintain the chosen wall cladding.
We added our insights as experts and manufacturers of stone materials, so this article can guide you in choosing the suitable wall cladding.
Cladding or veneer is a material used to cover a structure’s walls. But its importance cannot be put aside since it adds to the lifespan of a building.
Let us follow and not skip a part of this list to ensure we pick the suitable material for the cladding.
1. Will the Wall Cladding Be Internal or External?
We install internal wall claddings mainly for aesthetic purposes, but they can also provide functions in terms of:
- thermal insulation
- sound blocking
External wall claddings, on the other hand, also have to look good as it adds design to the building, but they have to be more on the practical terms of functionality as they have to:
- protect the walls from harsh weather forces such as rain, snow, wind, and heat (sunlight) that can cause cracks, stains, or wall deterioration
- provide fire protection
- provide good insulation
- provide noise reduction
So before we proceed to the next step, you must determine if the cladding will be installed inside or outside.
2. What Is Your Budget?
In this part, we will agree with DC Cladding that considering the budget is important, but the value is more essential. We don’t want to choose a less expensive wall cladding if it will not last and cannot perform its functions well.
For example, vinyl cladding can be cheaper than stone. Below are examples of their average costs:
- Vinyl cladding – $0.85 to $2.50 per square foot, depending on the quality of the vinyl you will buy
- stone cladding – $10 and $14 per square foot, depending on the type of stone and the availability of the latter in the market
In terms of appearance, both have their beauty, so that it will depend on the preference. But stone wall cladding can provide you with more protection and durability. Check out limestone, for example.
Famous monuments such as The Parthenon, The Pyramids of Giza, and The Great Sphynx of Giza are all made of limestone and have been here for more than a hundred years (and they are still looking good too).
3. Ask for Advice From an Expert
Asking a person knowledgeable in the task, such as a civil engineer, can help pick the suitable wall cladding applicable to our buildings since they also consider other factors such as the location and climate, for example.
As for us, we are a stone factory filled with experts in crafting the cladding itself, the application, and the design.
But if you want to know the rest of the process and wish to equip yourself with information before purchasing a material or service, keep reading.
4. Check Your Choices in Materials
We have mentioned vinyl and stone claddings but haven’t explained their potential or the other materials you can pick from.
1. Stone Cladding
Natural stones such as limestone wall cladding provide an earthy and natural look because of the colors and texture.
heat and fire resistant
resistant enough to stains and moisture
not prone to cracks
good insulator and noise reducer
|can be affected by chemical weathering (e.g., acid rain) but doesn’t necessarily mean damage|
2. Vinyl Cladding
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or vinyl cladding is a versatile polymer often used in construction.
|cheaper than other materials|
|not as heat resistant as stone|
3. Wood Cladding
Some examples of timber that you can use with cladding are Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir.
|inexpensive maintenance (but must be regular)|
|not as heat resistant as a stone|
may warp or decay due to the weather
can be infested with termites
can be expensive depending on the type of timber
4. Metal Cladding
Using aluminum and steel in this cladding is common, and the former can be more expensive.
|minimal maintenance； |
resistant to heat, snow, and frost；
fire resistant depending on the type and quality of metal;
doesn’t absorb moisture；
lightweight and easy to install
|can accumulate dents|
the noise of rain or other elements coming into contact with it is present
5. Glass Cladding. This is where you use glass panes to create exterior cladding. The standard type is curtain walling, where we attach the glass to an aluminum frame connected to the structure.
|has a modern architectural appearance |
maintenance can be heavy and costly, especially in deserts and hilly places not suitable for areas that are prone to earthquakes
5. Pick Your Preferred Color
Different colors depend on the material we picked from the previous step. Below is a simple explanation for this part of the process.
1. Stone (Limestone Wall Cladding). Limestone colors are mostly soft, subtle, and earthy.
Within these colors, there are also different shades and tones.
2. Vinyl. We can color vinyl anything we want using vinyl paint (e.g., acrylic).
3. Wood. The color will vary depending on the type of timber, but we will give these examples from Duffield Timber’s recommendation on the best wood to use for external cladding.
- Western Red Cedar – reddish to pinkish brown with streaks that are darker red or brown
- Douglas Fir – light brown with the presence of red
- Siberian Larch – pale yellow to medium brownish
- Alaskan Yellow Cedar – pale yellow and white
- European Oak – golden brown
4. Metal. This material has limited colors, which are only:
- silvery white
5. Glass. Like vinyl, glass cladding can come in any color of our preference. Although, the choice of color will also contribute to its transparency or opaqueness.
6. Pick Your Preferred Finish
The finishing is the concluding stage of manufacturing our wall claddings; it adds to the appearance and quality of the material. Depending on the material we will use, there are also different types of finishes.
For this step, we will make limestone wall cladding as an example since, as a veteran stone factory in China, this cladding is what we usually export and apply to our projects within the said country and abroad.
- Honed Finish. The limestone slab will have a smooth texture and a matte appearance.
- Tumbled Finish. We will give the limestone slab an aged look, providing you with the antique effect for the cladding.
- Split Face Finish. The limestone’s texture will be rough or uneven, to be natural such as the appearance of the limestone slab from the quarry.
7. Know How to Maintain Your Wall Cladding
This is an additional step, albeit very helpful. The materials we have mentioned for wall cladding all have unique, aesthetic, and durable traits—but of course, we have to do our fair share of maintenance (even with the “low maintenance” ones).
For external limestone wall cladding, ensure that once you see dirt or stain marks, immediately address them with limestone cleaners. Mid America suggested using a pump sprayer, which we believe is smart for large infrastructures.
If we have interior limestone cladding, we will also use limestone cleaners and a soft cloth such as chamois to avoid too much friction on the wall. We will also use water but only sparingly.
There are many materials to choose from when it comes to wall cladding. Hence, the task might be difficult. But to simplify, the things that we need to consider are the following:
- place of the cladding
- expert’s advice
It will also be beneficial for us to know how to maintain the wall cladding that we choose so we can make it last longer. If we follow this list, we will have no problems picking the correct cladding for our place.
What about you? What wall cladding material did you choose from our list? Let us know in the comments.