A Guide to Cladding: Everything you need to know

A Guide to Cladding: Everything you need to know What is cladding? ‘Cladding’ is a term that refers to the outer layer of a structure, commonly being prefabricated panels or timber boards that are attached to the external structure of a building. Cladding has both aesthetic and practical uses, providing three main purposes. Firstly  it is a long-lasting external wall covering, secondly, cladding provides an enhanced layer of protection against the natural elements and additional insulation (when the cladding is fitted with insulation products), and finally, it brings an...

A Guide to Cladding: Everything you need to know

What is cladding?

‘Cladding’ is a term that refers to the outer layer of a structure, commonly being prefabricated panels or timber boards that are attached to the external structure of a building. Cladding has both aesthetic and practical uses, providing three main purposes. Firstly  it is a long-lasting external wall covering, secondly, cladding provides an enhanced layer of protection against the natural elements and additional insulation (when the cladding is fitted with insulation products), and finally, it brings an attractive, unique and decorative feature to the exterior of a building.

Styles  of cladding

There are a number of different cladding board shapes and styles, however some of the most common include Shiplap and Double Shiplap. The profile of each board lies above the next board, which aids with water run-off and creates attractive shadow lines.

Another popular and common type of cladding is Weatherboard, also known as Featheredge cladding, this cladding was traditionally made from wood, however modern advancements means that it is commonly made from Fibre Cement or PVC. These modern materials mean that Weatherboard cladding is low maintenance and long-lasting, and often comes with a embossed finish and designed to provide a similar look and feel to wood, creating the perfect substitute to timber.

At Freefoam, we supply PVC cladding in Shiplap, Double Shiplap and Weatherboard in  variety of different colours, including an embossed finish, and a wood grain effect finish or standard smooth colours.

Cladding materials

Traditional cladding is made out of timber, which requiresd frequent maintenance, such as repairing, repainting and often replacing. Cladding is more commonly now made out of far stronger, long lasting materials, such as PVC, Fibre Cement and Alumnium.

PVC Cladding

PVC cladding requires minimal maintenance, and is long-lasting and hard-wearing. PVC cladding comes in a variety of colours from a simplistic white to subtle and unique pastel and coastal shades of pale green and blue to modern and contemporary black and grey shades. It is also available in a variety of different finishes, from a smooth woodgrain to an embossed textured wood effect. Our embossed cladding contains UV-resistant titanium-dioxide (the common sunscreen chemical), which protects the cladding from sun damage.

Other cladding materials

Heat Treated Timber Cladding – this form of cladding reduces the moisture content and makes the cladding stronger than untreated timber, meaning that is the more long-lasting and modern method to install timber cladding.

Fibre Cement Cladding – this form of cladding is manufactured using a mixture of cellulose fibres, cement, sand, water and chemical additives, which is then formed into cladding boards.

Brick Slip Cladding – Brick slips of skins are thin sections of real brick that mimic the appearance of real bricks but are far lighter. They can be fixed to an application with mortar and adhesive.

The difference between cladding and façade

A very common questions within the cladding community, is what is the difference between cladding and façade? A façade is the front or side of a building, which includes windows, doors and walls. On the other hand, cladding is considered a series of panels fitted to the façade or exterior of a building to create and aesthetically pleasing and decorative finish.

In simple terms, cladding can be a part of a building façade.

What is cladding used for?

External cladding – External wall cladding has multiple different purpose, from improving the appearance of a building to making it more weather resistant. External cladding can protect a structure from the impacts of the sun, snow and rain, all whilst providing extra insulation during the winter months. Aside from these practical benefits, exterior cladding can totally transform the outside of a building’s appearance.

Internal cladding – interior panelling or cladding offers a cost-effective yet stylish alternative to tiling whilst maintaining the same core benefits. Internal cladding is best suited to wet rooms,  bathrooms and kitchens due to its waterproofing and easy cleaning characteristics.

Installing cladding

Disposing of old cladding

Before installing new cladding, you may first need to remove and dispose of your old cladding. It is vital to take the necessary precautions when doing so. This is because older cladding could contain harmful materials, including asbestos, which if present, need to be disposed of correctly by professionals. If newer cladding is being removed, it is possible that the material can be recycled. No matter what existing cladding you have, seek the advice or services of a professional to identify the best removal and disposable methods.

Safety

Health and safety concerns and precautions should always be considered before any cladding work is carried out , ensuring the safety of everyone involved. The correct personal protective equipment (PPE)  must always be worn and transporting the cladding panels to and within the worksite should always be conducted with caution. When cladding is being installed above the ground level, the fitting company must comply with The Work at Height Regulations 2005 and understand the necessary precautions and associated risks involved within the project, taking correct actions.

Simple to fit

Freefoam cladding is simple to fit, light to handle and comes provided with interlocking boards. We also feature colour matching fitting trims to create a neat and professional finish.

Watch our fitting video here

Fire Ratings of External Cladding Materials

All external cladding material must be tested to confirm suitability for use.

Freefoam PVC Cladding has been tested in accordance with BS EN-13501-1:2018 – Fire classification of construction products and building elements and achieved a rating of: D-s3.d2/AVM.

External cladding and the building regulations

All external cladding products are required by law to comply with the Building regulations.

The D-s3.d2/AVM signifies that Freefoam’s PVC cladding is suitable for use in cladding applications provided it is installed in accordance with the Building Regulations Part B:

  • Building Regulations Approved Document B, Volume 1 – Dwelling houses, Part B4 – External Fire Spread.
  • Building Regulations Approved Document B, Volume 2 – Buildings other than dwellings, Part B4 – External Fire Spread.

Flammability of PVC

PVC will only burn if it is contact with another fire source, other than this, it will not burn. Its high Chlorine inhibits its ability to sustain fire on its own and PVC cladding releases lower combustion heat in comparison to other types of plastic. This means that it is far less likely to maintain and spread a fire, and will self-extinguish where there is no external fire source.

Aftercare

Unlike timber cladding panels that commonly need oiling or waxing to maintain their look and weather resistance, Freefoam PVC cladding needs very little aftercare once it had been installed. Our cladding’s weather resistant characteristics ensure that it endures large amounts of wear and tear, and will simply need cleaning with soap and water every so often to revitalise its clean look.

Freefoam do not advise painting cladding, if this is done, the guarantee would be voided.

If you are looking to install your own cladding, view our Cladding Installation Guide Here.

About Freefoam

Freefoam is one of the leading suppliers within the UK and Ireland for both internal and external cladding. We have 30 years of experience producing cladding and other panelling systems with a number of accreditations, such as ISO9001 and 14001. We are committed team and possess some of the greatest expertise within our industry to supply our customers with only the highest of quality experiences and products.

We take a customer focused approach, allowing us to provide all of our potential and existing customers with a range of comprehensive design tools such as out cladding calculator and cladding visualiser, making the process of choosing the right cladding for a walk in the park. No matter your building type, you can trust Freefoam.

To learn more about our cladding and whether it is the correct solution for you, get in touch today via our contact form.

Our full range of products are trough a wide range of stockists throughout Ireland, find your local stockist here.



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