When it comes to external wall cladding, there are a number of things to consider. You need a material that’s durable, light and easy to work with and something that will withstand the elements with minimal repair and maintenance requirements.
While there are plenty of wall cladding materials out there — timber, stainless steel, zinc, copper, titanium, even concrete panels — few of them can match aluminium for its broad range of benefits.
What is Aluminum Wall Cladding?
Aluminium composite panels (ACP) are a building facade and cladding material. They consist of two thin aluminium sheets bonded to a non-aluminium core in a structure known as a sandwich panel.
Older style panels were made with a polyethylene core that turned out to be highly combustible.
These days, the best quality aluminium panels are either solid aluminum, which are entirely non-combustible, or fire resistant panels, which are made with a fire retardant core that is difficult to ignite and generates only a minimal spread of flame.
Durable and Lightweight
Exterior wall cladding needs to be durable and capable of withstanding the elements. Aluminium composite materials are weatherproof and corrosion resistant and can be expected to last a lifetime with minimal maintenance.
Of course, most building materials are expected to be durable and resistant to the elements. While aluminium cladding is incredibly tough, it’s also extremely lightweight. Aluminium cladding products can be as much as two-thirds lighter than steel cladding of comparable thickness and have a remarkable strength-to-weight ratio.
Aluminium is incredibly easy to bend and shape, especially compared to denser metals like steel. It also has a low melting point, making it much easier to work with than other metals. Because it’s so easy to work with, aluminium cladding can be easily formed into a range of functional and aesthetically pleasing shapes. Aluminium panels can be cutted, folded, drilled, bent, perforated without losing structural integrity. This makes aluminium extremely versatile and perfect for use in a range of architectural and design applications.
Solid aluminium panels are entirely non-combustible. While some older panels contained a combustible polymer core, newer premium panels are either fire resistant or completely non-combustible. They also have a high level of thermal resistance, which means that they don’t easily transfer heat. This makes them a great barrier against fire.
Low Maintenance Requirements
Compared to other external wall cladding materials — like timber, steel or solid concrete walls — aluminium wall cladding requires very little maintenance. Due to its PVDF coating and finish, aluminium panels require only basic cleaning once a year to remove contaminants and keep them looking clean. They are resistant to mould and mildew and not susceptible to damage from moisture or pests.
Aluminium is completely recyclable and doesn’t lose any material quality in the recycling process. This means you can choose aluminium panels made from recycled materials and that your existing panels will have a useful life after they’ve served their purpose. The use of aluminium can also help a building to qualify for eco-friendly status.
Aluminium contains a protective oxide coating, which makes it resistant to corrosion. That means that weather conditions, moisture and salt won’t lead to rust or corrosion.
Available in a wide range of Sizes, Shapes and Colours
Because aluminium is so easy to bend, shape and work with, it is easily available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. It can also be easily custom cut and shaped to suit your specific requirements. It’s ideal for curves and corners and the best material choice for unusual or custom shaped facades.
While aluminium external wall cladding is a great choice for building design, when considering your choice of materials, be sure to choose a premium quality aluminum cladding product and double check the core composition and fire rating.