Architecture has gone a long way since the brutalist era. Most brand-new buildings today look much more sleek and streamlined. The hype around natural light also influenced the way buildings are designed today. Window walls became a common feature, making a building’s facade carry a shiny, metallic appearance.
But architecture and design continue to evolve, creating more unique options for facade designs. Many architects look into mixing traditional and contemporary styles. This results in a more relaxed aesthetic, playing in between harsh brutalist and metallic contemporary. Materials normally used for homes are starting to be used for commercial buildings as well to achieve this middle ground.
Wall cladding is the one that creates unique facade designs. But they’re not just there for aesthetic purposes. They also help with marketing, as their attractiveness can drive customers into a business establishment.
Below are the top materials used for commercial wall cladding:
Metallic wall cladding is often made of treated aluminum. Its durability and longevity made it a popular option. It’s also easy to maintain and corrosion-resistant. Rain, snow, and other harsh elements cannot damage aluminum.
The material is also easy to bend to adopt the shape of curved or domed structures. Aluminum panels can be folded, drilled, bent, and perforated without losing their structural integrity. Newer panels are entirely non-combustible, while some older panels contained a combustible polymer core. As such, the new aluminum panels are fire-resistant. They also offer high thermal resistance, so they don’t transfer heat quickly. This makes them an effective fire prevention barrier.
The PVDF coating on aluminum makes its upkeep hassle-free. It only needs basic cleaning once a year. They won’t develop molds and mildew, and their moisture won’t attract pests.
Furthermore, aluminum is recyclable. Its quality stays the same even after the recycling process. This allows building owners to choose recycled aluminum cladding and pay less. And if the cladding has to be taken down, they can easily find a new purpose.
High-quality precast brick slips have replaced traditional, hand-set brickwork on buildings. This made brick cladding look more streamlined and modern. It also allowed more complicated or creative patterns, which weren’t possible with hand-set bricks. Precast brick can be perforated, installed as soffits, corbelled, and more.
Though it’s on the more expensive side, brick cladding is ultimately cost- and time-efficient. Installing it doesn’t require scaffolding and other heavy equipment like forklifts because it’s not done on-site. The bricks are installed and patterned on a different site, similar to modular construction. As a result, using them for buildings saves more time and becomes less likely to be subject to weather delays.
Brick cladding can also be used indoors, creating a more homely commercial atmosphere. And they’re also heat-resistant, which is why we often see them in fireplaces.
3. Fiber Cement Boards
Fiber cement boards have a similar appearance to wood cladding. They’re typically used as a siding material, but they’re gaining popularity as cladding too. They’re easier to maintain than wood and give the appearance of a countryside building.
They’re not as common on commercial buildings, but if you have a standalone establishment instead of a high-rise structure, fiber cement cladding may work for you. Its exceptional weather resistance and protection make maintenance of this material fuss-free. They won’t expand or contract because of the cold, moisture, or heat. They can also withstand the impact of hail and windblown debris. And like aluminum, they won’t attract pests.
Fiber cement also boasts impressive design capabilities, like a brick. They can achieve any look, from sleek to modern to colonial. As such, they fit business establishments related to home goods, food and dining, or leisurely activities. They’re the type of material that reminds you of home instead of sterile office space.
4. Stainless Steel
When you think of stainless steel, its long-lasting shine and antibacterial properties always come to mind. As cladding material, stainless steel offers the same benefits. They’re corrosion-resistant, long-lasting, and durable. Oxide forms a protective layer over it, preventing the elements from making it rot and corrode.
However, stainless steel isn’t as flexible as aluminum, making its design possibilities more limited. But if you’re not into quirky and playful building designs anyway, rigidity shouldn’t be an issue. At the end of the day, it’s more important for a building to be structurally sound than to be eye candy.
These top cladding materials make today’s buildings picturesque, unique, and even futuristic. They also provide environmental benefits as well as defense. Outside, they look no more than an aesthetic feature, but their properties make every building safe on the outside and inside.