Wall Cladding/ Wall Exterior Finishes: Types of exterior wall cladding

You could make endless designs of your house facades, based on its composition, style, decoration, and even color. The process of decorating outer layer of your house with the help of different material is called cladding.

Architects are using a mix of materials, textures and colors to create feature walls and beautiful visual and textural facades for home exteriors. Among the most common types of exterior cladding for houses are Stucco, Brick and Stones in Pakistan.

External house cladding act as a skin for your home. The concept of Cladding is not new, but has become advanced, with its various latest options, in 21st century. Evolution of Cladding comes from all the way back to Egypt and the pyramids.

And through a clever mix of cladding materials, textures and colors, architects and draftsmen will create feature walls and beautiful visual and textural facades for home exteriors that you will endure forever.

Selection of cladding highly depends on its type of cladding, cost and perfect blend with the structure. However, the benefits of cladding are numerous. Firstly, it’s just a great layer of protection for the actual structure of your house, but it will also insulate your home as well. Exterior cladding systems are insulators of both noise and heat.

Cladding could make your home cooler in the summer and warmer in winter, so reduces power consumption, cause shrink in energy bills.

The right cladding material selection can take it to the next level in both form and function, or it can often make or break your project – no matter how well-designed your new home is. Let’s explore a few well-known cladding systems.

1. Stucco Walls

This is where you can differentiate your finish from a flat, cement render. Stucco is usually fine plaster used for coating wall surfaces or moulding. Stucco is applied wet and hardens to a very dense solid. It is used as a decorative coating for walls and ceilings, and as a sculptural and artistic material in architecture. It can be applied to a variety of more economical materials such as concrete brick, Hebel (autoclaved aerated concrete/ AAC), or even foam cladding. You can use a color in the mix, or paint it afterwards.

2. Paint

Exterior paints are made to fight against fading and mildew. In an exterior paint must poses the quality to survive temperature changes and being exposed to moisture. Exterior paint also must be tougher and resist peeling, chipping, and fading from sunlight. The added resins in exterior paint can cause out-gassing, that may last up to 48 hours, but usually continues in small amounts for years. This is one reason you wouldn’t want to use exterior paint indoors. You should select a flat sheen exterior paint for brick and stucco, as this will allow the surfaces and moisture to breathe through the paint to escape. For these reasons, the resins used in binding exterior paints must be softer. It is also one of the economic options.  but the maintenance cost in the longer run can increase if you fail to choose the right type of paint for your house. Usually a combination of identical colors or a contrast, of the paints are used on exterior walls.

3. Concrete

Concrete cladding several beneficial properties, such as thermal, fire and acoustic performance, and longevity. The concrete can come in a variety of colors and the quality can vary. The product should be sealed for longevity. These days, concrete façades are conquering the buildings of contemporary architecture. Made with different textures and shades of grey or white, this material does not need serious maintenance as it is very durable.

4. Glass enclosures

Glass is also a popular material when it comes to designing façades. Instead of creating multiple openings, these façades allow enough light into the building. Only the frames and partitions create enclosures in the structure. Sun protection and maintenance are two critical factors for glass façades. In most of the houses, in glass cladding, an extended roof is formed a type of awning, that creates shadows in the process and protecting the glass-coated walls/windows. 

5. Tiles

Whether natural stone, ceramic or porcelain, tiles add a certain sense of elegance to a project. The tile size should be proportional to the overall building mass, and the contrast color must alleviate the angular form.

6. Bricks

In the last century Bricks were the first choice for building facade, but with so much options available now, they are often ignored. However, Bricks are available in many different textures, colors, patterns and prices, which offers an energy-efficient, weatherproof, sustainable and secure building material.  They provide a rural and rustic look to a house. You can discover many houses whose walls are covered in similar-looking materials to flaunt a most traditional-looking façade.

7. Natural Stone

Stone cladding gives your house the most natural and fresh-look. It can be installed over a surface either made of concrete or steel. Stones offer different colors and textures which adds an graceful and distinct touch to the walls. These are referred to as lightweight simulated stone products which have a concrete type-base that facilitates its installment. In addition, stone also provides excellent thermal insulation and protection against humidity. It also offer high-quality hardness and resistance, depending on the type chosen. The finishes of stones are also very diverse. Stone cladding is an excellent choice for both indoors and outdoors.

8. Green wall

Green wall is the most economical cladding system. But, the main issue with green walls is the possible for the plants to get out of control and take over gutters and downpipes.

9. Shingles

Shingles are low maintenance, durable and have great insulation qualities, western red cedar shingles tick a lot of boxes when it comes to the environment. They can be used in most fire-prone areas and can be easily handled on site.

10. Polycarbonate and Translucent panels

Many homeowners may draw a connection between polycarbonate sheet, and products,  and the grooved sheet that you may use over pergola beams. However, there are more stylish versions of microcell sheets available. These are light-emitting, easy to install and have free thermal movement. The system gives your home privacy during the day and ambience at night. If you require light and privacy, this could be your solution.

11. Aluminum Cladding

Aluminum cladding is used mainly for basement and storage walls of the building. High quality and treated aluminum cladding are used for large commercial buildings and structures. Aluminum cladding is costly but guarantees more durability and longer life when compared with vinyl cladding units. These units are subjected to less maintenance or replacement over the years.

12. Metal Cladding

 The metal claddings are the most durable cladding as it is made up of the metal. Usually this type of cladding is mostly used for commercial buildings and factories, but now a days we can see its usage on house facades too. It gives the building Hi-tech and durable look.

13. Wood Cladding

Wood cladding is formed by using a variety of wood material available in different styles. It work fine for interior and exterior walls and provide good protection from the natural elements. The exterior cladding is placed individually; that is, each piece is set separately and protects the structure while also giving an enhanced facade to it. These type of claddings are extremely energy saving and efficient due to its insulating properties. The establishment costs less and also takes less time to install hence being one of the easiest and reasonable types of cladding. However, over time, wood claddings may require regular maintenance due to the environmental effects on it. One of the latest used cladding is Wood Plastic Composite (WPC) which works as an alternative or replacement to the natural wood.

Claddings can be used to add classiness and to beautify your place and can increase the lifespan of the exteriors of the building.