When renovating a domestic or commercial building, you are likely to come across the terms ‘cladding’ and ‘curtain walling’. Perhaps even ‘curtain wall cladding’. This can be confusing as they are different things with similar names. Depending on your aesthetic aims and your structural needs, you will find that one or the other is best for the project. However, it’s vital to understand the difference between these things so that your project achieves the most durable and high-quality finish.
How are they similar?
Of course, there are similarities between these two construction techniques. They are both applied to the exterior of a building and provide a certain look. Curtain wall cladding will protect the exterior of a building in a similar way to a traditional cladding coating. Also, both techniques are great at modernising the appearance of the building if that is required. The cosmetic and protective properties are what brings these two together. However, if you delve deeper you will find significant differences.
What is Traditional Cladding?
Forming part of your building, cladding is the application of one material over another to provide a protective skin. In construction projects, cladding is used in a practical way to provide thermal insulation and weather resistance. In addition, the process can be employed to improve the appearance of buildings. This is why it is such a frequent part of exterior refurbishment.
When should Traditional Cladding be used?
Often, you will find traditional cladding when there is an integrally structural element to refurbishment or renovation. Cladding is a flexible building solution, so can be made of any one of a huge variety of materials. These materials can include wood, metal, brick, vinyl, and composite blends that can be formed of aluminium, wood or cement. Wood cladding is frequently used in domestic refurbishments to give a rustic or ‘coastal’ style.
What is Curtain Wall Cladding?
Unlike traditional cladding coatings, curtain wall cladding is a non-structural envelope. Its purpose is to protect the interior of the building from the impact of weather, including wind and water penetration. However, curtain walling is structurally separate from the main exterior wall, designed to support itself. The curtain wall cladding is secure due to its ability to transfer wind loads through connections to the building. This allows it to offer a layer of protection as well as supporting aesthetic design. Do not be confused with rain screen cladding, which is the very outside part of the curtain wall cladding envelope.
When should Curtain Wall Cladding be used?
As the curtain wall is a non-integral structure, it can be made of lightweight materials. This makes it a popular choice for very modern building designs. You will find that most curtain wall cladding structures are formed of glass panels with aluminium frames. In this way, it can reduce construction costs whilst bringing light and reflectivity to the building.
What should you Consider?
Don’t forget to consider the overall implications of the finished style of property. This may help you to decide whether to clad the whole or just part of the building. When cladding a building, remember that you are adding to the structure of the space. As such, you should ensure that all safety requirements are met. To ensure the ongoing repair of the material, check whether it has been treated, stained or left unfinished. This will guarantee the protective properties of your curtain wall cladding.
At HL Decorating, we are experienced in all manner of commercial and domestic refurbishment projects. So if you are planning to embark on a whole or just partial exterior renovation, we can help with your decorative needs inside and out. Including curtain wall cladding.