Cladding is essentially the layer of skin that protects the interior and exterior of your house. Typically, exterior cladding will be comprised of several layers: the wall’s outer surface, an insulation and moisture-repelling layer among other things.
It used to be that brick and plastic siding were the two commonest options for exterior cladding. However, in present times, there are a wider variety of options available to us. How do you know which is one is best for you own home? Well, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each and figure it out.
Brick and Mortar Cladding
Bricks are probably the popular exterior cladding material used in homes. They’re not just aesthetically pleasing (without requiring a paint job) but also cheap and easy to source. But that’s not all, bricks are quite long-lasting and provide lots of insulation for homes.
What are the downsides to brick and mortar cladding? The most noteworthy one would be how much the production process negatively impacts the environment. A lot of energy is needed to burn bricks in kilns and the cement production process accounts for 5% of total global carbon emissions by itself!
Concrete cladding is one the most robust options available. Not only that, the cladding is flexible, allowing you to have any form of texture, colour or pattern displayed on the surface. Most concrete cladding are durable by default but if you’re looking for something extremely strong, check out AAC panels and cladding systems.
Vinyl siding is a popular new choice for exterior cladding. This is most likely because of its extremely long lifespan (we’re talking over half a century!) all the while requiring little to no upkeep. Plus, it’s also one of the cheapest cladding options available today. In addition, if you choose the insulated kind, you can save a ton of money on heating each year. Last but not least, the production process takes less than 50% of the energy required to make brick cladding.
On the flip side, there are a couple of drawbacks to vinyl siding. The most significant one is that it’s made from polyvinyl chloride or PVC which is first of all a non-renewable resource. Secondly and more importantly, PVC is a carcinogen, which means that if the cladding ever catches on fire and you inhale the smoke, you might get in some serious trouble health-wise.
Wood is an excellent choice for anyone wanting to go for a more traditional or rustic aesthetic with their home’s exterior. Wood siding is made from a renewable source, so you don’t have to feel guilty about purchasing them. In addition, most wood sidings will contain certification that lets you know whether or not the lumber comes from managed forests. Last but not least, the amount of energy used in the production process is one of the lowest.
There are a few drawbacks to wood siding. If it doesn’t have the proper certification, you can’t be sure whether they’re from managed forests. In addition, you may need to apply varnish to help wood siding resist the elements and to deter termites.
Last but not least, we have metal cladding. The biggest pro is that metal cladding hardly requires any upkeep and will last a really long time. Metal is also unaffected by the elements and does not promote the growth of mould or mildew on the surface. In addition, it does not attract any insects either.
The two biggest drawbacks are that it requires mining, which negatively impacts the environment and it tends to dent quite easily, depending on the material used.
The above five are currently the most popular choices for exterior cladding. Think carefully about what features are most important to you when you’re trying to make a decision.