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As with all building materials, cladding can deteriorate over time and leave your property exposed and vulnerable to damage. With such a vast array of options available, we’ve put together a list of helpful things to consider when replacing cladding.
Whether or not you will require a particular fire rating will depend on local building regulations. Properties that are 18m in height or over will require material of limited combustibility – A2-s3,d2 (or better). Refer to the chart below for clarification on fire rating classification.
One of the most obvious choices of material for achieving a good fire rating is aluminium cladding. Aluminium is non-combustible in its raw form, and thus, won’t contribute to fire. Anodised aluminium can achieve an A1 fire rating, whereas powder coated systems will achieve A2. Most timber cladding will conform to class 3.
Deciding on which cladding is best for your project will largely depend on your budget. Aluminium cladding, depending on the finish, is likely to set you back around £120 – £150/m2. Compared to timber, fibre cement and other composite cladding systems which are around £30 -£50/m2 this is significantly more. However, it is important to consider the cost over the lifespan of the product. Aluminium is much longer lasting than timber and fibre-cement, so you’ll most likely save money in the long run. It’s also cheaper to transport and install due to its lightweight properties.
Another increasingly important factor to consider is sustainability. With such as vast array of available materials, make sure you research the environmental impact of your chosen material. Many cladding systems are made from pre-consumer waste which lessens the environmental implications. Think also about the lifespan of the cladding. Whilst recycled products are good, it only makes a difference if it’s durable and won’t need replacing after a few years.
It’s not uncommon for the installation of cladding to cost more than the product itself. It makes sense then to choose a cladding system which is easy to install. Many plank type systems are engineered to include an interlocking profile which ‘locks’ the planks in place for easy installation and a secure exterior. Whilst installation is usually best left to a professional, modern composite cladding systems can be fixed by end users to keep costs down. Make sure you follow good building practise and do your research. Any shortfalls in installation may not be noticeable until the weather changes. It’s always advised to leave a ventilated cavity so that any water ingress can evaporate easily.