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Wall cladding is an encompassing term for the exterior surface of building, which protects the beneath

covering against moisture and foreign elements. It is a non structural material for safeguarding internal and
external building frontages. Above all it adds natural beauty of stones to the architecture.

Homeowners can select from a number of different materials when choosing
wall cladding. Vinyl siding is the most widely used type of siding in the United
States, and also one of the most affordable. Aluminum cladding is more costly
than vinyl, but is also more durable and long-lasting. Wood shingles made
from cedar or redwood may be used for their aesthetic appeal, though they
tend to be relatively costly and high-maintenance. Fiber cement cladding is
designed to mimic the look of real wood, yet can last for decades with little to
no maintenance. Masonry cladding products like EIFS or brick are some of
the longest lasting of all siding materials, though both are fairly costly and
difficult to install.
Wall cladding serves both an aesthetic and a functional purpose when
installed on the exterior of the home. Materials and colors are often selected to
give the home a specific look, or to complement the architectural design of a
building. Cladding also protects the home from rain, wind and other weather-
related elements. It helps to keep moisture and mold from penetrating the
walls, and often provides some level of insulation against thermal transfer and
air leaks.
Most cladding materials are installed directly to plywood or OSB wall
sheathing. Products like vinyl, aluminum or fiber cement siding are nailed to
the sheathing in overlapping rows, with special corner beads and end caps
used to complete the installation. Wood siding may be installed in the same
manner, or in the form of shingles and shakes like those found on a wooden
roof. EIFS (exterior insulated finish system) is troweled onto the wall to
resemble stucco or plaster. It is installed over cement boards that may be
nailed to wall sheathing or directly to the framing members.
The required maintenance for wall cladding varies depending on application,
finish and climate. Vinyl siding is sold with integral color and requires
painting, though it is not as durable as most other products, and may crack in
cold temperatures. Aluminum is often left unpainted, but may dent if exposed
to high winds or sharp impacts. While wood requires painting, cleaning and
regular repair, fiber cement is virtually maintenance-free. EIFS and brick are
very durable and require only painting as needed.
For many homeowners, cost is one of the primary concerns when selecting
wall cladding. It is important to balance not only the upfront material costs,
but also the life of the material and replacement costs over time. Homeowners
should also consider the cost of maintenance and installation. For example,
fiber cement costs more than vinyl siding, but will often outlast a vinyl
application several times over. Homeowners should compare the difference in
cost between these two products with the cost of multiple replacements or
repairs of the vinyl.

Many types of siding are available today. Some types of siding require less maintenance
than others. This article briefly describes some of the more common types of siding and
their relative costs.
Types of Siding
Wood siding has traditionally been chosen by homeowners and builders. When properly
cared for, it can be very durable. Western timber harvests have been curtailed in recent
years, increasing the cost of solid wood siding.
LapLap siding is applied horizontally with the top board lapped over the board below
(Figure 1). The board is usually beveled, with the bottom edge thicker than the top.
RedwoodRedwood is a durable siding if sealed, stained, or painted at regular intervals.
Redwood also has notable natural decay resistance. Reduced timber harvests have
increased the cost of redwood siding.
CedarWhen cedar is sealed, stained, or painted, it is as durable as redwood. Wood
siding generally requires a new coating of sealer, stain, or paint every 3 to 7 years to
remain durable.
Oriented Strand BoardOriented strand board (OSB) siding is made from wood
strands that are oriented in layers under heat and pressure. The top layer is resin
impregnated or protected with a sheet of resin-impregnated paper. Some OSB sidings
have factory-applied topcoat or primer. The siding can be painted or stained as desired.
HardboardThe wood fibers in hardboard are oriented at random and bonded with
resin under heat and pressure. The result is a dense, tough material that is less stable than
plywood. Resins protect the top of each piece and a primer or topcoat is factory applied.
This product depends more on proper installation and moisture control than does solid
wood. Any uncoated areas must be painted. Avoid panels or boards that have been
chipped or cracked, or that are damaged during installation. Hardboard is sometimes
called Masonite, a trade name.
Both OSB and hardboard sidings are among the least-expensive siding options. They
perform best when water vapor in a building is controlled through venting and vapor
barriers. They resist weather best when painted. These materials are unforgiving of
sloppy installation and will not withstand exposure to wet conditions. All horizontal and
vertical joints should be weather tight.
PlywoodPlywood siding is inexpensive and easy to install. The veneers in exerior
plywood are held together with waterproof glue. Panels usually come in 4- by 8-feet, 4-
by 9-foot, or 4- by 10-foot sheets. The better grades have fewer patches replacing knots
in the face veneer. Plywood siding is applied vertically. The horizontal seams where the
panels meet are covered with a 1- by 4-inch wood trim. A piece of metal flashing is bent
to step behind the upper piece and over the lower piece. The panels can also be installed
so that the upper piece overlaps the lower one to prevent water penetration. Plywood
siding and trim are most durable when they are protected by a heavy-bodied stain or
paint. To remain flat and attractive, the panels need to be fastened properly using
corrosion-resistant nails.
Metal siding is made from aluminum or steel sheet and is usually formed to look like
wood siding. It has a factory-applied coating. The surface may be smooth or textured.
Metal siding is low maintenance, requiring nothing more that periodic cleaning. It is
noncorrosive, rot resistant, and pest resistant. If metal siding is properly installed, it can
outlast other types of siding. Some communities require that metal siding be grounded as
a precaution against electrical shock.
SteelSteel siding (Figure 2) resists
dents better than aluminum. Steel siding
is more common than aluminum where
severe weather can cause damage, such
as the hailstorms that are common in the
Midwest. Corrosion may occur if the
finish is scratched to the bare metal.
Damaged spots must be painted
AluminumAluminum siding is
durable and eliminates the need to paint
for many years20 years or longer,
depending on climate and installation.
Although the sidings color will fade or
dull with time, newer coatings are more
durable than those of a few years ago.
Aluminum siding is soft and can be
damaged by hailstones or careless placement of ladders. The siding can become wavy or
buckle during heat if it is not properly installed.
BrickBrick (Figure 3) is one of the more durable exteriors and requires little
maintenance. It never needs painting or staining. It wont rot or burn and can result in
reduced fire insurance premiums. Brick is energy efficient. Its mass keeps the building
cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Brick is a good noise isolator.

Figure 2MTDCs garage uses vertically arranged steel siding.
Stucco (EIFS)
construction that
uses stucco or
synthetic stucco
(EIFS, Exterior
Insulation and
Finish System)
backs an exterior
stucco surface
with a cement
board substrate.
Stucco (Figure 4)
has most of the
same advantages
of a brick
exterior. It does
require painting
Because the
material lends
itself to an
unlimited variety
of shapes and
curves, unique
forms are
siding usually
comes in panels.
It can have the
appearance of
wood and the durability of concrete. It is noncombustible, resists moisture and wind, is
immune to damaging ultraviolet rays and salt spray, is lightweight, and is pest resistant.
It is dimensionally stable, tough, and flexible. Fiber-reinforced panels have good
structural properties and resist impact.
PlasticPlastic siding is molded with color throughout. Scratches on the surface are not
as apparent as with metal siding. Plastic siding is durable and resists dents better than

Figure 3An older residence with brick siding.

Figure 4Stucco siding provides effective
protection against the elements.
metal siding. The installed price is slightly less than for metal siding. Plastic siding
comes in two types, vinyl and polypropylene. Plastic siding is usually installed with
insulation backing board. The backing board gives it added rigidity and strength and
increases energy
(Figure 5) is the
most widely used
plastic siding. It
can be made
smooth or
textured to look
like rough-sawn
wood siding.
Polypropylene is
only available
molded to
resemble cedar
shingles. Both
types of siding
are durable,
retain their color,
and have
improved in quality over the years. Plastic siding can buckle in hot weather if it is
installed improperly. It can become brittle and crack in cold weather if it is struck hard.
Where hail is common, vinyl may not be the best choice. It can shatter and be severely
damaged by hail. If vinyl siding is not properly installed, it will rattle in gusty winds.
Textured siding may be harder to clean than smooth siding. Vinyl siding comes in many
styles and shapes: clapboard, beaded, D4 profile (two 4-inch-wide horizontal clapboards
per single panel), D5 profile (two 5-inch-wide horizontal clapboards per single panel),
Dutchlap, shiplap, and a T3 profile (three 3-inch-wide horizontal clapboards per panel).
Table 1 shows the relative costs, maintenance requirements, and typical warranties for
different types of siding.
Table 1Siding system costs, maintenance requirements, and typical warranties.
Type of Siding
Estimated Cost of
Materials and Labor
(per square foot)
Maintenance Warranty

Figure 5Vinyl siding comes in a variety of textures, colors, and sizes.
Brick (4-inch
$9.20 to $10.35 Very low Lifetime.
Synthetic Stucco
Paint every 5 to 7
10 years limited.
Vinyl Siding
$1.58 to $2.20 ($0.58 to $0.70 +
$1.00 to $1.50 labor)
Low Materials lifetime or 25 years.
Cedar Siding
$2.60 to $3.85 ($1.10 + $1.50 to
$2.75 labor)
Stain or paint every 3
to 7 years
25 years limited.
Steel Siding
$2.45 to $3.95 ($1.20 +$1.25 to
$2.75 labor)
Materials lifetime or 25 to 50
years. Finish 15 years.
$2.45 to $3.95 ($1.20 + $1.25 to
$2.75 labor)
Materials lifetime or 25 to 50
years. Finish 15 years
$2.15 to $3.95 ($0.90 to $1.20 +
$1.25 to $2.75 labor)
Paint every 5 to 7
Materials, 25-years limited.
Finish 15 years.
Plywood Siding $1.97 ($0.72 + $1.25 labor)
Paint every 3 to 7
Materials, 5 years limited.
Vertical Steel
$1.75 ($0.50 + $1.25 labor) Low Materials, limited.

Vinyl Siding
Vinyl siding is the most common exterior finish used on buildings in North
America. This material is made from rows of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin
panels. It is known as a cheap siding material that is easy to cut, install and
replace as necessary. Vinyl siding is available is a wide array of colors, and is
sold according to the thickness and durability required. This material does not
need to be painted, and the only maintenance needed is cleaning via power
washing when necessary, typically every year or two. As green building
interests increase, more and more attention is being paid to the off-gassing
effects of PVC siding. This material is said to release toxic fumes as it interacts
with the air. These elements can potentially be harmful to humans, and may
irritate respiratory illnesses like asthma.
Stone Veneer
One of the more expensive ways to clad a building is to use brick or stone
veneer. This product requires a high upfront investment, but will likely last for
decades once installed, and needs no maintenance. Masonry veneer may
consist of various types of brick, stone, or clay products attached to structural
framing. There are several advantages to this type of cladding. First, it is
installed with an empty air space between the building and the back of the
stone. Weep holes placed at the bottom of this opening allow for excellent
drainage, and help keep water out of the building itself. In addition, this cavity
provides plenty of space to install building insulation, particularly rigid foam
boards, which can help control temperature and reduce heating and cooling
Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) are one of today's most popular
exterior cladding products for commercial buildings such as schools, offices,
and high rises. This material is often compared to stucco, but it is actually
made from artificial components, rather than the sand and cement used to
produce stucco. EIFS (commonly pronounced as eee-fuss among contractors)
is a system of plastic insulating panels covered by a synthetic stucco-like
material. The finish on these walls can mimic the texture of stucco or plaster,
or can be troweled so smooth that it looks like a solid piece of stone. Dyes and
pigments are used to color EIFS as it is applied, or it can be painted. Improved
drainage technology is helping to grow the popularity of this product
throughout the world.
Wood Siding
Wood siding and shingles are very common types of cladding using mainly in
North America. This material is made up of wood planks derived from oak,
pine and cedar trees. When rows are installed so that they overlap, the effect is
called "clapboard," leading to the term "clapboard house." Wood siding is
naturally weather-resistant, environmentally-friendly and thermally
insulating. This material is quite durable, but requires more maintenance than
most other kinds of cladding. It must be treated for termites every few years,
and tends to need repainting or a touch-up quite frequently.
Metal Siding
Metal siding comes in two basic varieties. There is the corrugated steel used
on storage buildings, and aluminum panels or siding used mostly on homes.
Corrugated steel is popular on buildings where appearance isn't really an
issue. This product is extremely strong and durable, and will last for years
with no maintenance. While rust can be a problem, it can be avoided through
the use of galvanized metal. Aluminum siding, on the other hand, is a popular
cladding for homes in coastal areas. The aluminum will not rust or corrode
when exposed to moisture or saltwater, and can withstand storms and harsh
conditions better than many other cladding products. Metal siding in general
is fairly expensive, though it is resistant to rot, termites, and most kinds of

glass cladding

Cladding can be thought of as a protective layer of material, similar to armor or shielding. Glass
cladding might not sound very effective, particularly for architectural purposes, but glass cladding
does have certain advantages since the glass is actually made specifically for the purpose of being

Glass cladding comes in a variety of different colors. This offers you a lot of
different, aesthetic options for customizing your project since you can get your
cladding in a single color, a pattern or a mosaic if you so desire. Additionally,
since glass will let in all colors except the color that humans perceive it as you
can even select which color bands of light will be allowed through the
cladding. In certain situations this could be a major benefit.
While shielding made out of glass might not sound like much of a comfort,
glass cladding is specially forged so that it can handle its protective role. The
glass is toughened throughout the process to crack less frequently and to
accept more heat than glass would normally be able to so that it won't be
affected by the rays of the sun. Glass cladding is also made with a variety of
materials, and it includes metal foil along with the specially made glass for
both additional strength and color.
Another upside of glass cladding is that it maintains its appearance for a long
time. This is especially true of the tinted glass cladding because the additional
materials can help the glass resist time and the elements. As such glass
cladding doesn't need to be replaced as often as some other sorts might
because it won't wear away as quickly or as noticeably, leaving your project
both protected and attractive for many years to come.