Rival Merits of Different Cladding Materials
Rainscreen cladding is a very popular option in modern construction. Its benefits are numerous, but different cladding materials have unique combinations of advantages. Some are particularly well-suited to certain environments or styles of architecture, while others combine varying blends of environmentalism, affordability and versatility.

These are the merits of the main cladding materials currently offered by CGL Façades, alongside one or two examples of where they’ve recently been deployed:

1. Aluminium. Aluminium’s physical strength is one of its greatest benefits as a cladding material. It was recently used on CGL’s largest project to date – the 770-apartment Enderby Wharf development in East London. This sprawling complex occupies two hundred metres of Thames-facing land, which increases moisture and salt levels in the air.

Aluminium is often powder coated, adding anything from colour to additional protection against ambient conditions. Powder coated aluminium can last for over 25 years even in harsh environments like the saltwater-laden Thames Estuary, making it cost-effective to install. It can also be used to deliver bold colours including Enderby Wharf’s striking orange shades, providing a pleasing contrast to the more natural colour palette on upper and lower storeys.

2. Copper. Copper’s versatility is increasingly being utilised in construction projects across Britain. From flashings and gutters to wall cladding, copper can add a stunning finish to any structure – particularly when used as a contrast against neutral surfaces like glass.

Copper can also be amalgamated into other materials, such as the brass cladding that adorns the Walpole House residential development in West London. CGL supplied and installed an untreated brass cladding whose golden colour will develop a unique patina over time, while ensuring long-term durability. Weather-beaten materials can be especially handy for making a new structure look established – which may be a planning requirement for buildings in conservation areas or historic locations.

3. Aluminium Composite Material. Better known by its initials, ACM comprises two thin aluminium sheets that are bonded around a fire rated or non-combustible mineral core, offering real durability.

Each aluminium panel can be finished in a wide variety of colours and finishes, which are extremely consistent thanks to the uniformity of these surfaces. The thin external faces can easily be moulded around irregular shapes, such as the extruded arch crowning Beal High School in Essex. A Spectra Midnight Copper finish provides a strong contrast against pale surrounding walls, with precise curvature softening the building’s appearance.

4. Zinc. Any cladding material is expected to be tough, but zinc’s qualities are particularly impressive. As well as being resistant to UV rays and corrosion, this weatherproof surface can endure for many decades without degradation. Like copper, it can also be continued seamlessly from walls into roof cladding, which creates a co-ordinated aesthetic from above.

When CGL Façades began assisting York University with a new expansion of its Heslington East campus, interlocking façade panels provided striking yet affordable cladding for the Computer Science department. The zinc panels were pre-weathered and installed in the depths of winter without requiring silicon bonding. Zinc’s relatively low melting point makes it an energy-efficient material to work with, and its durability also enhances those environmental credentials.

Posted by Stuart McMillan
Tuesday, September 12th, 2017