Cladding Materials – Innovative Facade Solution for Building Exteriors

By November 09 , 2015
Cladding Materials

Cladding of buildings is one of the most expressive, inspiring and complex aspects of building design. The basic function of an envelope or enclosure of a building or structure is to protect the covered or otherwise conditioned interior spaces from the surrounding environment. Cladding is the application of one material over another to provide skin or layer intended to control the infiltration of weather elements, or for aesthetic purposes. It is required to fulfil a wide range of technical and architectural roles, including weather tightness. As an integral part of a wall assembly, cladding has to protect a building from moisture and wind and, and is responsible in surprising ways for a building’s overall thermal performance. A wholesome building should provide an acceptable level of thermal comfort with minimal environmental impact.

Grande Palladium, Mumbai
Grande Palladium, Mumbai by Malik Architecture

Cladding Material systems

Prologue and use of the structural frame, ensuing separation between structure and envelope, led to the use of diverse cladding systems. Cladding system may be designed to provide a protected or exposed frame or the expression of cladding may be completely independent of the frame behind.

There are multiple types of cladding materials and cladding systems used today. It is quite difficult to distinguish them from one another, as there are many different materials that can be used and various methods for installation can be followed. Those materials can differ from metals (zinc, stainless steel, bronze, copper etc) to rubber, or stone to silicon. Some of the cladding materials available include clay, stone, timber, weatherboard, fibre cement, brick, vinyl, aluminium, laminate, steel, zinc, copper, etc.

Read also : What are Different Types of Cladding Material?

Pros & Cons of Using some of the Cladding Materials

Terracotta:
Pros: Earthy look, easy availability, eco friendly
Cons: Cladding limitation in terms of height/ finishes and edge detailing, issues with weathering.
HPL:
Pros: Lot of varieties, mass produced, easy installation
Cons: Expensive/ nonviable for small scale
Corian:
Pros: Seamless rich finish/ chemical resistant
Cons: Highly expensive
Stone:
Pros: Earthy look, easy availability, eco friendly
Cons: Cladding limitation in terms of height/ finishes and edge detailing, issues with weathering
Ceramic / vitrified tiles:
Pros: Easily available, abundant varieties to choose from
Cons: Edge finishes/ repetitive patterns/ height limitations
Shapoorji Experience Centre
Shapoorji Experience Centre by Space Matrix Architects and Planners

Facades and cladding industry has gone through sea change in past decade. The market is flooded with materials of different texture and colours. WFM spoke to many experts in the construction sector including architects, façade consultants, manufacturers of cladding materials and builders on the advancement in cladding sector and the newest in cladding technology and materials. Here is what experts have to say about the latest in the industry.

Latest in Cladding Material & Technologies

There is a wide variety of cladding materials available—and lot of ways to put them together—but a few key deliberations can help us assess the best and the most suitable cladding choices and how they affect the overall performance of the building.

Indrajit Kembhavi, Partner, Kembhavi Architecture Foundation
Indrajit Kembhavi,Partner,Kem-
bhavi Architecture Foundation

India’s robust economy has led to development of ambitious projects across sectors wherein buildings have evolved from “simply functional” to elaborate in terms of scale, form, thermal comfort, energy generation, etc. Indrajit Kembhavi, Partner at Kembhavi Architecture Foundation points out that this has lead to the prominence of facades architecture and cladding over the last decade. “In fact we are also seeing influx of smart products, including aluminium, zinc, steel, copper, stone, concrete fibre boards etc.,” says Kembhavi.

Ar. Reza Kabul, Director, ARK – Reza Kabul Architects Pvt. Ltd
Ar. Reza Kabul, Director,ARK –
Reza Kabul Architects Pvt. Ltd

Apart from mere aesthetics, the stress on energy efficiency pushes facades to act as controllers of the interior environments. According to Ar. Reza Kabul, Director, ARK – Reza Kabul Architects Pvt. Ltd, the advancement in virtual technology such as AutoCAD and Revit makes it easier to design free-flowing and creative facades. “Façades today are designed with a lot of research and study. Sun path analysis is conducted to ensure selection of the right type of glazing. Spandrel panels are designed in ways to avoid glare. In some cases sun-breakers are integrated in the façade to cut out the heat and allow diffused light to pass through the glass. Double skin façades, parametric designs, LED facades, and rain screen facades are also seen in few projects,” says Ar. Reza Kabul. Aesthetically too, the availability of options in facades has increased with materials such as stone and artificial stones, concrete panels, terra-cotta ceramics panels, metal panels, etc., but of course, glass prevails.

Amit Gupta, Founding Partner, Studio Symbiosis
Amit Gupta, Founding Partner,
Studio Symbiosis
Britta Knobel Gupta, Founding Partner, Studio Symbiosis
Britta Knobel Gupta, Founding
Partner, Studio Symbiosis

Facade should never be seen just as an outer skin of the building but rather as an integral part of the building design itself, says Amit Gupta, Founding Partner, Studio Symbiosis. Facade cladding systems like GRC (glass reinforced concrete), FRP (fibre-reinforced Plastic), GRG(Glass reinforced Gypsum), UHPC (Ultra high performance concrete), Stone CNC(Computerized Numerical Control) can be considered as latest in India, however the true innovation in building design is 3D printing, points out Gupta. “With 3D printing complex systems can be executed effortlessly in such a way that the structure and facade can be integrated as one. This leads us to the technology which translates in terms of robotic arm and parametric softwares where real-time data is analyzed during the process of execution and the design can adapt to the local forces within the design parameters. So the outcome is truly adaptive and a symbiosis is created between the various elements”, adds Britta Knobel Gupta, Founding Partner, Studio Symbiosis.

Arjun Malik, Partner, Malik Architecture
Arjun Malik, Partner, Malik
Architecture

Every material from metals to bamboo to fibre and cellulose were used to construct cladding panels in the recent past, points out Arjun Maik of Malik Architecture. Technology has been adapted to both basic fixing systems and more refined mobile systems that allow adaptability of the building façade. “One of the major developments has been the entry of various metals/exterior compressed laminates and ceramics/porcelain products that enable designers to mimic the appearance of materials like wood/oxidised steel, etc that present significant challenges both from cost and maintenance/performance perspective when used in their natural form,” observes Malik.

Carl Hampson, Senior Vice President, Cannon Design
Carl Hampson, Senior Vice
President, Cannon Design

Rainscreen metal panel systems and perforated systems are also in demand now. “Our teams are seeing more and more use of low-cost rainscreen metal panel systems and perforated systems. There’s a huge focus in the industry right now on cradle-to-cradle products and systems that are better for the environment and designers are responding to this trend,” says Carl Hampson, Senior Vice President, Cannon Design.

Dr. Bimal Patel
Dr. Bimal Patel, Principal Ar-
chitect, HCP Design, Planning
& Management Pvt. Ltd

Over the past few years, a number of local as well as foreign companies have been providing cladding and facade solutions in India. Dr. Bimal Patel, Principal Architect, HCP Design, Planning & Management Pvt. Ltd says that they have found that most of them do not address the problem of sun shading and lets the customer worry about dealing with long term costs of keeping the interiors cool. “We have tended to use a local, light weight and affordable external louver system that we have designed ourselves and are manufactured by TDW Furniture, Ahmedabad,” informs Ar.Bimal Patel.

Anup Naik, Director, Space Matrix Architects and Planners
Anup Naik, Director, Space
Matrix Architects and Planners

Living in the world of innovation, rooted in sensitivity towards use and its counter impact on society and environment has been a guiding factor for the innovations in the cladding sector. Anup Naik, Director, Space Matrix Architects and Planners says that availability of a much diverse material and aesthetic palette combined with easy maintainability has become the norm for developing cladding materials.

Sumandeep Singh, Architectural Designer, HKS, New Delhi
Sumandeep Singh, Architectural
Designer, HKS, New Delhi

Ar.Sumandeep Singh, Architectural Designer, HKS, New Delhi, observes that the latest cladding materials that are rampantly used in the country are Aluminum composite panels, Glass, Stones of various kinds, Metal cladding panels, Wooden panels, GFRC (Gypsum-Fibre Reinforced Cladding) etc.

Shubham Jain, Director, JP Infra
Shubham Jain, Director, JP Infra

Cladding materials should be chosen to minimize environmental impacts and maximize a building’s life, energy as well as performance. “We keep away with plastic-based material and opt for material like metal, vinyl, wood, etc,” says Shubham Jain, Director, JP Infra. “In JP Decks (one of their projects), we started as a way to provide a touch of rural aesthetic to buildings where the walls are highlighted with stone-cladding. There are options of granite, slate, marble, sandstone, limestone and Kota stone as well as stone veneers.” says Jain. The maintenance is simpler with textured walls requiring only regular vacuuming or feather dusting to ward off the dust. One also sees an implementation of mosaic stones available in fine texture and durable sheen.

We may conclude that out of the many cladding materials available, aluminium composite panels, glass, stones of various kinds, metal cladding panels, wooden panels, and GFRC (Gypsum-Fibre Reinforced Cladding) are preferred for cladding. But glass prevails.

Technical Benefits of Well Managed Cladding

External cladding scores in a number of ways including its protection against weather elements, relatively lower maintenance, ability to reduce water absorption into the building, resisting pollution and increasing the mechanical strength of a structure, says Shubham Jain of JP Infra. The cladding further provides thermal insulation, reduces the temperature variation inside the building and improves acoustic.

According to architect Kembhavi, a façade can be properly managed if it can optimize various functions, ensuring optimal daylight, reduction of thermal gain, acoustic insulation, energy generation through seamless integration of photo voltaic and fire resistance. Interior comfort conditions are evolved through optimized thermal and visual conditions. It is paramount that adequate daylight and views are brought into an interior space as they help in balancing the body biorhythms.

Bimal Patel of HCP also opines that a well managed façade reduces direct solar exposure of the usable spaces. This results in reduction of cooling load. A facade system that could be operated by end user also allows taking in diffused light, reduce glare and exposure to dust for the window system behind it.

A well managed and designed facade ensures that it becomes performative and progresses to an active element of the design, creating comfort conditions within the space. The detailing and system used should be carefully done based on the use of building, comments Amit Gupta of Studio Symbiosis. Little details make the difference in the quality of space being created and in the quality of execution to allow the façade to alter gracefully, points out Gupta.

Good thermal and vapour barrier performance increases building life and in some cases even see increase in the quality of air surrounding the façade. According to Arjun Malik of Kamal Malik architecture, the whole point of a façade is to create a barrier/interface between interior and exterior environments. The potential to save energy can be maximised by good design and good technology.

When design teams select an effective cladding solution for their facility, their building realizes a number of high performance benefits including easier maintenance, effective waterproofing, constructability and durability – opines Carl Hampson of Cannon Design. He points out that building owners should focus on these four benefits when they are having discussions with their design partners.

In accord with Hampson, Sumandeep Singh, HKS also points out that the technical aspects of a well-managed cladding include complete protection from weather elements and they should be leak proof. If well detailed, then the cladding panels can last longer. Cladding materials also provide insulation and hence help reduce air conditioning loads.

Technical benefits on a well managed cladding should include protection from the heat and direct impact of the sun, withstanding against rain and rain water seepage, and resistant to algae and fungus. Reza Kabul adds that the cladding is should be resistant to chemical damage, given the increasing level of pollution in the air. Glass tiles are resistant to stains, mould, and mildew and are also very easy to clean.

Cladding systems contribute to overall wall insulation values. Several composite cladding products include insulation: those with higher R-values, (i.e., the measure of a material’s resistance to heat flow) can eliminate the need for bulk insulation between the frame members in many climates, remarks Shubham Jain of JP Infra. With adequately designed and correctly installed vapour cavities, condensation risk can be reduced or eliminated.

Cladding is an integral part of a wall assembly, and responsible for building’s overall thermal performance. Cladding protects a building from moisture and wind. It should be weather resistant, leak proof, moisture proof, fire resistant, long lasting and should help reduce Air conditioning loads. At the same time the cladding should add aesthetic value to the whole structure, giving its niche look. It can be concluded that the technical benefits of a well mannered cladding include lower maintenance, creating comfort conditions within the space with better thermal and acoustic insulation. The biggest savings are in terms of construction time being reduced along with reduction in labour as most well managed cladding systems come in meticulously engineered ‘kit of parts’, contributing to an easy to work modular system.

Choosing Cladding Materials

Each project is different hence the material chosen should be base on the overall design concept. It also comes down to the properties of the material in terms of execution and the weight. All cladding materials have their own unique properties and age differently. Execution and maintenance should be criteria, but then if the execution is done to a high standard there should be no problem in either of the two.

The cladding materials have to suit the project type, cost and functionality. “While choosing the material one should also consider that it should be robust and serve the purpose shielding the interiors from harsh weather,” says Ar. Patel.

Facade designs are selected based on a number of criteria like workability, jointing systems, panel sizes, prevailing climate and rain conditions, permanent weather proof barrier vs. rain/thermal screen, and its relationship to the surrounding areas, comments Ar. Malik .

The selection of cladding material essentially is based on the following parameters: building type, environment, budget and maintenance, says Kembahavi. Ar. Reza Kabul too opines that the selection of the façade and cladding material depends on the locale, the characteristics of the material, and the requirement of the structure. Appropriately considering these factors adds to the sustainability of the project. The budget is also a deciding factor in the choice of cladding material.

Carl Hampson of Cannon design stresses on the client requirement while choosing the cladding materials. “Our focus at Cannon Design is the end user and client, so we keep our selections usually based on durability, overall cost and the aesthetics of the solutions we’re considering”.

Ar.Sumandeep Singh advises to optimize the cladding according to the building orientation. “One can use more insulation on the building face most exposed to the sun, and choose material that can be quickly installed, environmentally sensitive with respect to sustainability and which requires less maintenance and does not collect dust very easily, should be easily cleanable”, says Ar. Singh. He also directs to choose material that is resistant according to local weather conditions, for e.g. in coastal areas there is salt content in the air, hence if we use metal without proper treatment it can get salt deposits which are hard to clean.

Shubham Jain of JP Infra suggests following points while choosing cladding material: availability, embodied energy, maintenance, durability, breathability, water-proofness, insulation, fire resistance, toxicity, recycling and reuse.

While choosing cladding materials, we have to consider its aesthetical appropriateness and appeal. One needs to look at material that can be quickly installed. Ease of workability and maintenance are also the biggest determining aspects while choosing the cladding material. But we strive each time in selecting cladding materials that are most natural and contribute to the overall performance of the facade. Execution and maintenance should be a criterion but then if the execution is done to a high standard there should be no problem in either of the two.

Material Timber Fibre cement Brick Weatherboards Plywood Steel Aluminium
Availability Available in most locations Common Common Common Available Available Available
Embodied energy Lowest Low Very high Lowest Low to moderate High Highest
Maintenance Moderate Low Lowest High Moderate Very low Low
Durability High High High Low to moderate Moderate Very high Very high
Breathability Good Good High High Low To be fixed via a breathable cavity To be fixed via a breathable cavity
Waterproofness High High Low Good High Highest Highest
Insulation Negligible Poor Poor Varies with thickness, sealing and density Limited No No
Fire resistance Good High Excellent Poor Poor High Good
Toxicity Non toxic Non toxic Non toxic Non toxic Non toxic Non toxic Non-toxic
Finishes Needs painting Diverse range of patterns, shapes and finishes. Diverse range of colours and finishes. Painted, oiled or stained Available – painted, stained Available in colours & finishes Powder coated in standard colours
Resource depletion High Renewable Abundant but finite resource Renewable Renewable Non-renewablle Abundant but non-renewable
Recycling /reuse Limited No Increasingly recycled into new bricks No High 100 % High

Table -Source:www.yourhome.gov.au/materials

Sustainability & Environmental Considerations

Sustainability & environmental considerations are paramount to choosing the right façade and cladding material. The façade that could adapt to the local weather and allow user to take control of its performance as per the need can be termed as intelligent façade. Systems that could be operated as per the need, for e.g.: shielding during extreme heat, opening up during cool weather, cutting glare will help reduce the use of air conditioning, infer Ar. Bimal Patel.

Ar. Sumandeep Singh adds that one has to consider the transportation cost of the material too. Local material should be used which does not require transportation from long distances hence saving precious fuel. Ar. Singh also adds that cladding with insulation cavities can help reduce the heat gain into the building and can help reduce energy consumption, for e.g., terracotta cladding panels with cavities.

In addition to choice of local materials, one should know about impact of colour on the indoor environment too. Colour of the cladding will affect the total heat gain. Reflective finishes and lighter colours absorb less heat, hence the same should be considered while designing the elevation of the building. Ar. Singh recommends use of louvers/jali interspersed into the cladding, which will provide diffused light into certain public areas while allowing air movement, hence some areas of a building can be without air-conditioning. Cladding that require less maintenance/washing etc will save lot of water used for the same purpose .

The sun path plays the most important role in deciding the glazed to the non glazed component of the facades, also appropriate selection is extremely important in extreme scenarios as for example a high humidity zone could cause a lot of fungus growth wherein in fungus friendly products like natural sand stone etc could be avoided, says Ar.Kembahavi.

Using materials in their pure form where the facade attains a patina over time. If materials that are in their pure form such as wood, copper, aluminium, concrete, GRC are used they all tend to being sustainable and environment friendly. Also it achieves the design vision. “Ideal would be cladding materials which can create /convert energy or clean the air this would make a real contribution to our environment,” says Gupta.

The considerations are towards selecting materials which minimize urban heat island effect, have high thermal & visual performance parameters, have less environmental impact during extraction, processing, transport and end of life disposal, less water permeability and good acoustical qualities, suggests Ar. Anup Naik.

It is important to consider the embodied energy values when selecting a façade material and its suitability to the prevalent climate. “Unfortunately globalisation has led to an international style that has stymied the natural evolution of regional responses which means that most facades are simply a combination of superficial material application to a pre-determined building shape and a basic technical response to the desired interior environments. The real issue of sustainability is given no more than a cursory glance,” indicates Ar. Arjun Malik.

The key is to look for cladding material comprised of recycled content or systems that are insulated and maximize resources. The growing focus on cradle-to-cradle products and systems will continue to grow in the industry and it’s driven by new ideas for sustainable solutions, advices Hampson.

Punjab Kesari Headquarters
Punjab Kesari Headquarters

Punjab Kesari Headquarters by Studio Symbiosis is a fusion of traditional and contemporary architecture and to create optimum lux levels and control the glare inside the building for the office work spaces. These factors resulted in the facade pattern that adapts based on the solar direction. GRC is used as a cladding material for the project as the design intent wanted to generate a tactile material that is natural and has texture, for this reason concrete was chosen.

96 Iconic Tower
96 Iconic Tower by ARK

96 Iconic Tower by ARK – Reza Kabul Architects Pvt. Ltd is designed with photovoltaic cells in the domed roof which helps generate electricity for the structure. The multi-storey parking facade and natural atmospheric pressure can be used to lower the temperature of the water for the air-conditioning plant instead of using large fans.

Commercial office / retail space at Bangalore
Commercial office / retail space at Bangalore

Commercial office / retail space at Bangalore by Kembhavi Architecture: The building designed by Kembhavi Architecture as a high street destination encompasses use of laser cut zinc panels composed with bevelled glass fixed in varied geometrical patterns to create a bejewelled effect.

JP Decks Goregaon
JP Decks Goregaon

JP Decks Goregaon by JP Infra: ‘JP Decks’ located at Gokuldham, Goregaon East, Mumbai is a residential tower comprising of 38+ storeys. Each of the residences boasts of a Grand Deck to give a breathtaking and uninterrupted view of the whole city.

UC Riverside Student Recreation Center Expansion
UC Riverside Student Recreation Center Expansion

UC Riverside Student Recreation Center Expansion by Cannon Design creates a unified complex focused on student wellness for the campus. Perforated flat aluminium panels created a unique undulating translucent exterior scrim derived formally from the movement pattern of the sun. The scrim caters for a combination of filtered and unobstructed views and natural light and creates a powerful visual identity for the building. It substantially reduces heat gain, enabling the project to achieve the client’s aggressive energy reduction goals and eliminates the need for interior blinds.

Hospital in Ludhiana
Hospital in Ludhiana

Hospital in Ludhiana by HKS: For the Hospital project in Ludhhiana, GFRC jaali was used with an innovative pattern which laser-cut to provide an innovative light and shade effect in all the public lobbies of the building. The pattern used was that of a ‘phulkari’ symbol which part of a local Punjabi handicraft tradition is. Flip side of the jaali has glass hence making it possible for the inside lobbies to be air-conditioned.

Conceptual openable façade panels
Conceptual openable façade panels

Conceptual openable façade panels by HKS react to the direction and angle of the sun incident on the building face. The opening of each panel is different and directly related to the angle of incidence of the sun at that point, this kind of a façade will optimize the heat and light in the building leading to a reduction in energy consumption of the building. The cladding material used will be ETFE which is a stretchable composite polymer, which is very strong and also will provide insulation to the building. The overall look of the façade keeps changing throughout the day as the building façade panels keep adjusting as per the solar angle.

Safal Profitaire
Safal Profitaire

Safal Profitaire by HCP: This is a project for office spaces. Operable louvers made of cement sheet and aluminium support system at the back is used on the facades. They are robust and cost effective. These louvers provide good variation as each office owner can operate the system as per their need.

Future of Cladding

India has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in the world leading to increased emphasis on delivering world class architecture. This has resulted in the development of new innovative façade designs. The façade of a building is important from a design stand point, as it sets the tone for the rest of the structure. As the focus on the future comes into perspective, various cladding materials with efforts have been made by various organizations to popularize sustainable construction practices. Developers are showing strong commitment to deliver advanced designs without increased budget drastically. Increased use of day lighting with innovative facades, structural glass to gain increased transparency, reuse/recycle materials for minimum wastage, etc are considered at the initial phases of design, which are basic steps towards better living for our future.

While there are several materials that are and can be used as façades, glass and stone cladding is what is seen often across India. Ar. Reza Kabul points out that better materials, education, economic freedom, and various advanced technologies, have pushed architects to explore their creative side unfettered.

In future, facade materials would be more performance based. There are lot of materials that are in testing phase which would find their application in the mainstream. We might see facades cleaning the air, phase changing materials to create different conditions in the building, hybrid materials e.g. light emitting transparent concrete, and so on, says Amit Gupta of Studio Symbiosis. 3D printing and robotic arm are the future of construction industry, not just cladding.

Façade industry is still in its initial stages and the potential for growth and development is massive. Looking at the rapid steps the façade industry is taking, we expect a whole gamut of material including fibre plastics light weight metal/stone / concrete substitutes etc. In addition to the above, we expect systems, which are more adaptive, generative and informative through automation & controls. It would be interesting to see facades that could probably change appearances and looks as programmed, articulates Ar.Kembhavi.

Ar. Malik also foresees the development of more and more sustainable and hybrid materials that focus on recycling and lower consumption of natural resources as well as lower energy consumption in the production stage. He is expectant of greater investments in the development of local materials that embody the idea of architecture belonging, both physically and typologically, to a particular place and context.

Future of cladding industry will demand newer cladding materials which are more and more modular like ETFE panels, metal panels, wooden panelling, and robotic operable facades can be foreseen to become more and more popular, confides Sumandeep Singh of HKS.

The future will have high performing cladding materials but those which are completely aligned to sustainable processes. In the next decade, the advances seem innumerable. As everything is moving towards simplicity and multi-functionality, the future will have cladding materials contributing even towards structural performance where it does not remain as a facade element alone, says Ar. Anup Naik. Apart from energy efficiency and climate responsiveness, the cladding materials of the future will have the ability to harness energy for the buildings consumption making them highly sustainable members.

Ar.Carl Hampson predicts that moving forward we are going to see further integration of custom computer-aided fabrication, environmentally responsive skins and the integration of biomimicry designs.

It’s going to become increasingly challenging to deliver cost-effective and beautiful solutions. However, the future will bring an increased focus on recycled products and organic-based composites. As costs continue to rise and the availability of resources grows scarcer – clients will look to their designer’s to decipher between these challenges and opportunities and respond with creative repurposing and innovative sourcing of materials to drive the industry forward.

Brand’s Perspectives

Innovative Cladding: The new language of enthralling exteriors

Anuj Sangal
Anuj Sangal, Country Head Sales,
(Laminate & Allied Business),
Greenlam Industries Ltd.

A structure has two facets, namely, interior and exterior. In past our buildings were equally exorbitant from exterior as they used to be from the interiors. Even now clients, designers and architects, all are looking for the exteriors as excellent as interiors of building with a permanent finish.

In the past decade, a lot of innovative materials have come into picture with people using them in various ways. Among them, materials like ACP and natural stones were being used extensively. The scene became panicky when every second building was literally covered with ACP or stones, leaving designers with not much of choice of other materials. But now the situation has reversed and people have started opting for non-conventional materials like HPL for façade. Their captivating aesthetics, a plethora of colours, rhythms and depths make them a great choice. They are resistant to impact and abrasion, moisture, and bacteria, which makes them a sheer winner. Beyond aesthetics, they offer better natural lighting, better air flow and are in line with the increasing adoption of green and sustainable building practices.

HPL has a great range of colours and finishes. Woods, abstracts and solid colours are extremely popular in HPL clads. Compact Laminate Panels uses technology which provides a Smooth and closed Surface structure, which prevents bacteria, fungi and moulds from growing, or dangerous chemical elements from building up, so the panels edges do not need further protective coating. Clads come with a revolutionary unmatched GLE Technology that makes them fade resistant, weather-proof and fire resistant, hence apt for exteriors. The fire resistance of the material is comparable to that of solid wood. It has high resistance to external stress or impacts and stains and cannot easily be affected by climate pressure. They are non-porous and water-proof in nature thus they can withstand the extreme temperature easily as their surface being high polymerized in nature. HPL panels have the highest bonding strength between the layers in comparison with other materials. That’s why the panels do not chip or delaminate under impact or blows or vibrations, including the point of mechanical attachment. HPL panels possess a very long life – almost 10 years and more.

Because of its technical superiority, HPL clads are maintenance free. Furthermore, the exterior grade Clads not only enjoys comparative superiority over other wood cladding products but also has application advantage over other cladding products, for e.g., ACP. “Most of the other Cladding options uses closed system for installation whereas Greenlam Clads uses a rear ventilation façade and therefore helps the building breath. Due to the ventilation system it helps to save the energy upto 30 per cent”, concludes Sengal, talking about the products from his company.

“HPL is the New Trend”

Madhusudan Lohia, Director, Marino Industries Ltd.
Madhusudan Lohia, Director,
Marino Industries Ltd

Latest in Cladding is HPL based cladding. Apart from being highly decorative it is quiet durable. We offer 10 years Warranty as per EN 438 part 6. The trend is shifting from ACP based cladding to High Pressure Laminate Cladding for its aesthetic appeal and its superior features and performance.

Technical benefits of a well-managed cladding:

(1) Thermal Insulation – Because of Ventilated Facade system, the air cavity developed between wall and EWC Panel provides excellent thermal insulation. This results in lower use of Air conditioner in summers and will maintain room heat in winter.

(2) UV Light Resistance – For a good cladding, it should not fade because of UV light exposure. EWC cladding provides excellent resistance to UV light and thus maintains its colour over a period of time.

(3) Weather resistance – Because of superior surface properties of EWC, it provides good weather resistance. (In fact Merino EWC+ can be used for extreme and long exposure to sunlight.)

(4) Climatic Shock Resistance – Due to sudden change in Climate, EWC maintains its dimensional stability and does not crack under these circumstances.

Advantages of HPL cladding material are: Wide range for design and décor, UV light & weather resistance, graffiti resistance, easy to install and maintain, easy to replace and repair, termite resistant, resistant to fungal attacks and abrasion resistance. Considering the Installation Schematics, three types of Installation mechanism has been developed by Merino Industries Ltd – riveted type, Adhesive type and Z- Clip Type.

The cladding industry is evolving and finding new applications. Unlike ACP which is limited to only commercial places, the EWC panels are finding application in all the segments including residential segment, hotels, industry, office buildings, retail shops, airport terminals, etc

“Terracotta Cladding: Modern, authentic & eco-friendly”

Olivier Rober, Vice-President - Asia Pacific Middle-East, TERREAL
Olivier Rober, Vice-President –
Asia Pacific Middle-East, TERREAL

The latest innovations mainly concern the finishes and the aesthetic possibilities of terracotta. Historical smooth orange-red terracotta is now accompanied by new very contemporary shades that benefit from all the advantages of durability and resistance of the materials. Grey, brown or beige complement a range of 13 standard colours. We are able to develop custom colours in response to a special request for a project. Another significant progress is glazing. It opens playful and varied creative fields. We can now provide metallic glazed terracotta as a steel or bronze which vibrates and moves with the light.With effective solutions, meeting the latest regulations in terms of thermal, seismic or environmental. Our range is resistant to impact, wind, frost and is certified by the technical tests.

Terracotta is a material 100 percent natural, recyclable, biodegradable and inert. Mineral material with no odour or VOCs, it is durable and does not change over time. Our solutions anticipate the requirements of the new regulations – Effinergie labels + and BEPOS, French thermal regulations (RT 2012 RT low energy buildings and positive energy building in 2020) and we support our customers to implement it. TERREAL conducts a control of energy consumption program and displays a target of reducing by 20 per cent of CO2 emissions per ton produced in 2020. All production units have undergone an extensive energy balance, which generated many tracks savings like: heat recovery ovens, heat exchanger.

The facade of tomorrow is primarily a concept related to the city of tomorrow through its economic, social, environmental, cultural and functional aspects. The architectural style of the future needs colours and material because the colour and material need light to vibrate. TERREAL cladding must meet the challenges of architectural and urban paradigms of tomorrow by combining aesthetics, comfort, eco environment and advanced features.

Pros & Cons of Using Natural Stone as External Cladding Material

Vikas Kesarkar
Vikas Kesarkar, Vice President
Sales, Classic Marble Company
Pvt. Ltd
.

Wide range of products specifically for outdoor applications under exotic granites and natural marble are available. These products come with various finish treatments keeping in mind the usability and function of the surface it is being applied for. Both Natural Granite and Marble are derived from quarrying of granite and marble blocks and then cutting and processing them. Being natural products, they have already withstood the weathering and temperate variations to evolve as stones.

Natural stones need relatively low maintenance, protect against weathering, and are waterproof. Natural granite and marble are both solid material, thus increasing the mechanical strength of the structure. These further provide thermal insulation and reduce temperature variation inside the building. Travertine and lime stones are considered as the best choice for external cladding. Processed stones are given various finish treatments like honed, bush hammered, antique finish (brush & polished) among many other finishes.

Some of the important physical characteristics to be checked while finalizing the stone are density of stone, co-efficient of expansion and flexural strength of the stone. The ideal thickness of the tile is 25mm and 4 x 2.6 in size which is also cost effective for installation.

Marble fixing needs to be done by trained professionals as it must not have cracks while installation. Wall cladding has numerous challenges like scarcity of skilled manpower, availability of material and insufficient dissemination of knowledge. Cladding needs to be carried out by trained professionals to ensure correct installation to achieve best results but today there exists a major issue of trained workforce.

“The Trend is Toward Bio-Materials”

Monnanda Appaiah, Managing Director, Commercial with Wienerberger India Private Limited
Monnanda Appaiah, Managing
Director,Commercial with Wiener-
berger India Private Limited

Buildings usually plays crucial role to create urban waves that significantly contribute to the urban heat island (UHI) phenomena. Absorbed solar energy from glazing material emits back as long-wave infrared energy, thereby results in a rise in temperature in the area around the buildings.

High intensity of direct sunlight in the tropics provides a very significant potential of utilizing natural light without glare and excessive heat gain. Avoiding glare is the main challenge of daylight design with glazed facade. Although buildings with high VLT values are susceptible to glare, it can occur even with a small windows and very low VLT values. Full glazing causes too much daylight at least in the perimeter areas. A well designed building will provide natural lighting as interior as possible, without using too much of reflective material. In this context, window geometry and percentage of area on facade are very important factors. Properly positioned windows along the same or the opposite walls will give better distribution of illumination. Bringing the natural light into the building will reduce the lighting energy consumption.

Surrounding surfaces also influences the facade design. For example, when reflective glazing is used on any neighbouring building, it will act like a mirror and intensifies the sun’s effects and over heat building patios. Green cover around the building will reduce such affect where as large water bodies again can cause reflective glare. Solar heat gains vary by orientation which influences the energy use in hot climates. Clay based cladding material can also contribute to thermal insulation.

I believe Architects and Builders alike are more and more shifting focus on sustainable and environmentally comfortable substitutes such as clay tiles and cladding bricks. Although clay based cladding has been a centuries old practice, there seems to be a revival to this format because of its inherent insulating properties and impact to the surrounding environment.

There are four most important considerations a builder/ architect should take when deciding on the façade material are as follows: Durability of the materials is an important aspect considering pollution in the cities. Good buildings beginning to lose their sheen over a period of 2 to 3 years because of environmental factors. The cladding material should be able to withstand weather changes as well. Easy Maintenance without being too expensive is another decisive factor. The material should be energy saving should have minimum impact on the surrounding environment. The cladding should not increase energy consumption of the overall building and also any reflective components should not contribute to surrounding temperature rise. Finally, adhering to the purpose of the building, acoustic properties of cladding material should be considered for buildings housing hospitals, concert halls etc.

It is interesting to see how Architects, both international and Indian, are experimenting with new age cladding materials based on the principles of sustainability and energy saving. To give an example, Ar. Be Baumschlager from Austria constructed a building, known by name 2226, which guarantees continuous comfortable temperatures of between 22 and 26 degrees, all without heating, cooling or mechanical ventilation, simply through calculative design. Another concept which is still very futuristic but nevertheless worth exploring is the concept of Bio-Cladding. The trend toward bio-materials is being driven by the depletion of fossil fuels. Buildings are responsible for approximately 40 per cent of the world’s total energy consumption, and the architecture industry is responding through the new form of building exteriors. Experimentations with Green building materials like clay, even organic residues from agriculture and horticulture would become necessary to promote the building’s contributing to preserving the planet in a visible way.

One Reply to “Cladding Materials – Innovative Facade Solution for Building Exteriors”

  • VINAY GANDHI

    WONDERFUL ARTICLE ON CLADDING MATERIALS.PLEASE SEND ME A COPY IF THIS .I AM ALSO INVOLVED IN COMING OUT WITH NEW CLADDING MATERIAL FOR EXTERIORS AND INTERIORS AND HENCE MY INTEREST IN YOUR ARTICLE.

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