In the world of modern construction, architects and builders are constantly seeking innovative materials and techniques that enhance both the aesthetics and durability of structures. Metal cladding has emerged as a popular choice for many construction projects, offering an array of benefits over traditional wood cladding. Among its numerous advantages, longevity stands out as a key attribute that makes metal cladding a compelling option. This article delves into the lasting appeal and advantages of metal cladding in construction, highlighting its superiority when compared to wood cladding.
**1. ** Longevity: A Testament to Durability
1.1. Resistance to the Elements
Metal cladding is renowned for its exceptional durability and longevity. Metals like aluminium, steel, and zinc offer inherent resistance to harsh environmental elements, including rain, snow, wind, and UV rays. Unlike wood, which can deteriorate and decay over time due to moisture and insect infestations, metal cladding remains unaffected, retaining its structural integrity and aesthetic appeal for decades.
1.2. Low Maintenance
The long life of metal cladding is further amplified by its low maintenance requirements. Unlike wood, which demands regular painting, sealing, and repairs to prevent degradation, metal cladding requires minimal upkeep. Routine cleaning and occasional inspections are typically all that’s needed to ensure the cladding remains in top condition, reducing maintenance costs and efforts over the building’s lifespan.
1.3. Resistant to Rot and Corrosion
Wood cladding is highly susceptible to rot, fungal growth, and termite infestations, which can significantly reduce its lifespan. On the other hand, metals used in cladding are naturally resistant to rot and corrosion. This resistance ensures that the metal cladding retains its structural strength and appearance over the years, contributing to the overall longevity of the building.
- Advantages of Metal Cladding Over Wood Cladding
2.1. Eco-Friendly and Recyclable
Metal cladding is often considered a sustainable choice for construction due to its recyclability. Metals like aluminium and steel can be recycled without losing their inherent properties, reducing the demand for new raw materials. In contrast, wood cladding requires the continuous harvesting of trees, contributing to deforestation and environmental degradation.
Zinc and copper can also be recycled without losing their inherent properties.
Many of the metal manufacturers actually use recycled materials e.g. PREFA (aluminium) boasts that it uses 87% recycled aluminium (small roof formats from PREFA are made from 86.6% recycled materials. Across all their products including Prefalaz and Prefabond the proportion of recycled aluminium is 77%).
elZinc reiterate that “zinc is 100% recyclable and can be reused a practically unlimited number of times, without the loss of any of its chemical or mechanical properties, or any loss in quality.” and they also state that “All of the zinc by-products that are generated during the elZinc production processes are recycled and reused, either in its own production prosses or externally such as in the use of zinc oxide as a catalyst in the vulcanisation of rubber.”
Information from VMZINC’s website “VMZINC rolled zinc is zinc that is alloyed with copper and titanium, in compliance with European standard EN 988. As such, it contains over 98.8% of highly pure primary zinc (in compliance with European standard EN1179), 0.13% of copper and 0.08 % of titanium.
The highly pure primary zinc used to manufacture VMZINC rolled zinc comes from a mixture of mining resources and recycled materials whose proportion can vary from one year to another (generally between 10 and 20% of recycled material).
Given that the recycled content in the primary zinc used by VMZINC is 21% (3) and that 100% of the copper and titanium added as alloy elements are recycled (4), the recycled content of VMZINC rolled zinc is 22%.”
2.2. Greater Design Versatility
Metal cladding offers architects and designers greater design versatility compared to wood. The variety of metal types, finishes, and profiles available allows for a wide range of aesthetic possibilities. From sleek, modern designs to rustic or industrial looks, metal cladding can complement various architectural styles, giving buildings a distinct and appealing appearance.
2.3. Fire Resistance
In regions prone to wildfires or areas with strict fire safety regulations, the fire-resistant properties of metal cladding make it a safer choice over wood. Metal cladding does not contribute to the spread of fire, providing an added layer of safety for the building and its occupants.
2.4. Cost-Effectiveness in the Long Run
While the initial cost of metal cladding might be higher than wood, its longevity and low maintenance requirements make it a cost-effective choice in the long run. The reduced need for repairs, replacements, and ongoing maintenance offsets the higher upfront investment, resulting in substantial savings over the building’s lifecycle.
Metal cladding offers construction projects a multitude of benefits, with longevity being a prominent advantage. Its resistance to the elements, low maintenance needs, and overall durability make it a preferred choice over wood cladding. Moreover, the eco-friendliness, design versatility, fire resistance, and long-term cost-effectiveness of metal cladding further solidify its position as a leading material in the realm of modern construction. Architects, builders, and property owners alike are increasingly recognising the immense value that metal cladding brings to their projects, ensuring not only a beautiful façade but also a lasting and resilient building.
Contact Copperclad today to discuss your next project.