What are Aluminum Cladding Systems? (Advantages, Types, Installation, Maintenance, and Cost)

aluminum cladding systems

Aluminum cladding systems are durable building materials applied to a facade to protect the facility from exterior elements. In the construction industry, the term “cladding” means a building covering system that protects the building by offering an extra layer while providing aesthetics. Since architects and building contractors utilize metal cladding systems for current projects, manufacturers are developing modern aluminum cladding systems with high functionality and beautiful finishes. Thanks to modern technologies and development methods, today’s aluminum panels experience quality improvements and can last for a long.

Table of Content for Aluminum Cladding Systems:

Aluminum Cladding Systems Advantages and Benefits

Aluminum cladding systems are made from the lightest metal material on the earth. However, these metal panels are robust, providing a high level of stability and durability. Since aluminum is a flexible material, manufacturers can fabricate them in any desired shape and design, allowing architects to create limitless building facade styles. Additionally, homeowners can easily replace them with other products whenever they want. The vast array of aluminum cladding systems benefits and advantages make them the dominant metal building materials in the market. Here are the primary advantages of aluminum panels that are used for the building cladding system:

  • Durability and Sustainability
  • Safety
  • Fire-Resistance
  • Water-Resistance
  • Easy Installation
  • Lightweight Characteristics
  • Versatility
  • Low-Maintenance
  • Recyclability and Environmentally-Friendliness
  • Affordability
  • Style and Finishes Variety
  • Energy Efficiency

Investors in the building industry and homeowners prefer to buy metal cladding systems that last for long. Aluminum cladding systems are highly durable and sustainable and can withstand even the worst weather conditions. Additionally, these building facade materials provide structural stability. Although aluminum panels do not get damaged easily, in some cases, homeowners may prefer to replace them with other materials. However, there is no need to throw old panels in landfills since aluminum claddings are fully recyclable. It is essential to mention that modern manufacturers recycle ACP materials to produce new aluminum composite panels that are functional, sustainable, and beautiful.

Aluminum panels used for building claddings are considered rainscreen systems and can improve the building’s envelope’s thermal insulation and energy efficiency. Additionally, ACM or aluminum composite panels are among the most popular aluminum cladding systems and are perfect sound insulating materials, making them ideal for industrial and crowded cities.

Safety and functionality are essential factors to current building codes and regulations. Thus, manufacturers developed their aluminum claddings by adding fire-resistance characteristics to their products. For instance, aluminum composite panels are both fire and water-resistant materials. Moreover, aluminum is an anti-corrosion metal and does not rust or corrode when exposed to rainwater and humidity. Since metal building manufacturers apply an extra coating to these products, the durability of modern aluminum sidings is improved. Unlike other metal claddings such as copper, the humidity will not affect aluminum building facades.

Due to aluminum’s lightweight and durable nature, extra pressure cannot be placed on the construction’s structure. For example, ACM panels can withstand even the most potent wind loads without folding and denting. Since aluminum composite panels and sidings are lightweight construction materials, installing these panels for new or renovation projects is straightforward and cost-effective. Old buildings that have serious structural issues cannot facilitate complex development. However, building contractors can install aluminum claddings to the building exterior wall system to create attractive facades without putting the structural stability at risk.

Aluminum cladding systems are incredibly versatile construction materials. These metal building facades do not provide only a vast array of hues and color choices but also a choice of shapes, patterns, styles, sizes, and visual effects. ACP manufacturers can fabricate and customize aluminum composite panels into any demanding shape. This advantage of aluminum cladding materials is due to their melting point, which is considered low. Architects and designers appreciate using ACM panels for projects that require curves and unusual shapes for building facades.

Aluminum sidings and ACM panels require simple periodic cleaning, only for aesthetic reasons. Over the lifespan of aluminum claddings, the product translates into an ecological and cost-effective solution for new and renovation applications. Cleaning aluminum composite panels can be done by simple water rising and standard cleaning tools.

Aluminum Cladding System with ACM panels
Aluminum Cladding System with ACM panels

Different Types of Aluminum Cladding Systems

Building material suppliers and manufacturers provide various types of aluminum cladding systems. Each system has its unique characteristics, pros, and cons. However, there are two common and popular aluminum cladding systems: aluminum sidings and aluminum composite panels known as ACM panels or ACP materials. Both cladding systems are beneficial for current construction projects.

Aluminum Composite Panels (ACM Panels or ACP Material)

ACM panels or aluminum composite materials are among the most modern aluminum cladding systems widely used in contemporary architectural and building projects. The usage of ACM panels is growing day by day due to their various beneficial characteristics. These building materials consist of two layers of coated aluminum sheets and one fire-resistant core material, making them the durable cladding system for today’s homes and buildings. Unlike traditional aluminum panels, ACP materials do not require repair and come with various sustainable finishes. For homeowners who prefer to have facilities with a more natural and classic feel, ACP manufacturers produce ACM panels with a wood pattern finish. There is no other metal cladding system in the market that can compete with ACM panels in durability, stability, maintainability, energy efficiency, and versatility.

Aluminum Siding

Aluminum siding is considered the traditional type of aluminum cladding system that architects and builders have used for decades. Although aluminum sidings are not as beneficial as aluminum composite panels, they have unique advantages and characteristics. For instance, it is easy to repair or repaint aluminum siding, they are water-resistant cladding materials, and it is easy to install on the building facade. However, they lack noise insulation and paint durability. With this said, it is better to buy aluminum composite panels for modern buildings. However, the price of aluminum siding is lower than modern ACM panels, making them more budget-friendly. It is essential to mention that traditional or contemporary aluminum siding claddings are the best choice for industrial facilities.

Aluminum Cladding System with Aluminum Siding
Aluminum Cladding System with Aluminum Siding

Aluminum Cladding Panels Installation Process

As told, aluminum cladding panels are lightweight materials, and installing them is considerably easy. Anyone can install ACM panels and sidings to their building’s facade by following the steps below. However, it is better to hire contractors or builders for better results.

  1. Snap a chalk line about 16 cm above the ground.
  2. Fasten a metal starter strip with metal nails with large heads.
  3. Place the nails and supplies in the center of the slots and do not drive them completely to allow the aluminum cladding systems to expand and contract easily.
  4. Nail the J channel at the corners.
  5. Push the first aluminum panel firmly up into the starter strip and nail it to the wall studs.
  6. Add other aluminum siding or ACM panels to the structure.
  7. Nail the top of all aluminum panels.
  8. Install door and window trim at the openings.
  9. Caulk around the openings.
  10. Nail on top edges and then the sides and bottom.
  11. Slip the aluminum cladding panels into the trim pieces.
  12. Install the F and J channel at the top wall panels.
  13. Measure and cut the aluminum cladding panels to fit the designs perfectly.
Aluminum Cladding Installation Process for Commercial Building
Aluminum Cladding Installation Process for Commercial Building

Aluminum Claddings Maintenance and Cleaning

Cleaning aluminum cladding systems consist of four primary methods, which are:

  • Water Soluble Cleaning
  • Non-Water-Soluble Cleaning
  • Mild Solvent
  • Color and Shine

Debris and dust that cannot be washed by rainfall can be removed with simple water rinsing. However, if there are signs of residue left on the surface, mild soap and clean water solution can be applied with a soft brush. Wipe or air dry the panels with soft, line-free, dry cloths. More aggressive solvent cleaners will be required if the debris remains on the surface after cleaning with a water-soluble method. However, ethanol alcohol or methanol should be the first attempt to remove surface debris when a water-soluble solution has little or no effect. In case of unwanted color fades on aluminum cladding systems, homeowners can apply a high-quality, non-abrasive car was to the exterior layer.

Aluminum Cladding Systems Cost

Many people wonder why aluminum claddings are more affordable and popular than steel and iron. The primary reason for their exceptional price is the material’s availability. Additionally, it is easier to extract and obtain aluminum than other metal materials. It is essential to remember that the aluminum cladding systems installation process is much easier than other metal claddings resulting in lower labor costs.

Since aluminum cladding systems last for more than 20 years without requiring regular maintenance, they are considered an investment and add value to the facility. As told, aluminum building facades are energy-efficient materials and can decrease utility bills for homeowners reducing the overall expenditure. However, they are standard prices for flat aluminum claddings and ACM panels.

  • Price for flat aluminum cladding panels: Under $10 per sq.m.
  • Price for aluminum composite panels (ACM panels): $15-$30 per sq.m.