Move with the times
Metal cladding is very much a sign of the times – it’s futuristic-looking, environmentally-friendly and very durable. The metals involved vary, ranging from the expensive and ultra-hard-wearing titanium to the very soft and almost exotic copper.
Most people that consider building their own homes imagine a rustic-looking wood build, but this may well become a thing of the past as homebuilders realise that metal cladding lasts longer and can be cheaper. It’s also much more versatile, as the sheets can be “zipped” together to make unique and striking patterns. Up until recently, it was mainly commercial buildings that were metal-clad, but this material is moving into the domestic sphere more by the year.
Choose your metal
Aluminium is one of the more popular metals, as it’s cheap. It’s also cheap to transport and work with because it’s very light and water-resistant. Unfortunately, it can look quite cheap and tends to dent very easily.
Brass is a very stiff metal to work with, and is quite uncommon nowadays. A downside is that it forms a bluish patina when weathering, and this colour might not be to everyone’s taste.
Bronze is another unusual (some may say unpopular) choice for cladding as it can turn a dark green colour if it’s untreated.
Copper is undoubtedly one of the most attractive options for cladding. However, run-off from rain might react with materials and the soils around the building, which needs consideration.
Steel is one of the more expensive options, but it looks amazing and is, over time, more cost-effective if it has a topcoat to protect it from the elements. It’s not a good idea if you’re living near the coast, though, as it won’t last as long thanks to the salt in the air.
Titanium is beyond the reach of most households, as it is very expensive. It has the highest strength-to-weight ratio and is incredibly resistant to corrosion and weathering.
Zinc is the cheapest option, but it looks it! However, it already has a protective layer of zinc oxide so it doesn’t need any further treatment and will last for years.
How are these sheets fixed to a house?
If you decide on metal cladding, you need to work out which way of attaching the sheets to your house will work best. Stronger metals like titanium and steel can be made into panels by themselves, whereas the softer metals like copper are laid over another sheet of metal that is attached to the base boards and attached to the building frame.
How much will it cost?
Metal cladding is cheaper than you might imagine, and most systems are guaranteed for at least 25 years, with minimal maintenance needed. Obviously titanium is the most expensive and is unlikely to be chosen by domestic builders. Steel is relatively cheap, but you’ll need to keep an eye on it to make sure any dents or scratches are treated promptly to avoid a rust invasion.