There’s an impressive amount of options out there for commercial cladding. From modern designs to traditional brick masonry, the choices for designing your exterior are seemingly endless. But while you might have the perfect design in mind, not every cladding option can deliver the results that a commercial exterior needs.
Here’s a breakdown of the more common types of commercial cladding options available today and which works best for specific scenarios.
Wood has been a common choice for cladding for over a century and gives commercial exteriors a touch of natural warmth. However, building owners that choose wood will need to consider their selection from a few angles.
Installation: Wood panels have been used for more than a hundred years on all types of buildings. Because it’s such a well-known material, wood is often considered easier to install because of how familiar installers are with it.
Functionality: Wood offers great design to exteriors, and it’s long been cherished for the style that it delivers. When it’s treated with a weather-resilient finish and maintained consistently, it can protect and enhance a building design for years, with the caveat that proper maintenance is followed.
Maintenance: The maintenance on wood exteriors is often the biggest drawback. Wood products require regular upkeep and will need to be refinished every few years. If you don’t put in the maintenance, building owners could see costly damage to their exteriors.
Durability: Wood cladding is considered a high-dollar exterior material because of how much upkeep is required to keep it from deteriorating too quickly. “And therein lies one of wood's greatest drawbacks: lots of maintenance. Wood siding must be painted or stained regularly or it is vulnerable to rot, weathering, and damage from sunlight and insects,” writes Juan Rodriguez for The Balance.
A modern commercial building deserves bold design. Architects have been building with metal cladding to bring drama and sleek protection to commercial exteriors. Using steel, aluminum, copper or zinc cladding gives your design style and protection, but some building owners might not want the cost that comes with choosing metal.
Installation: Many metal exteriors come with a relatively easy installation, with panels that are attached to the exterior using a fastening system.
Functionality: Metal cladding delivers modern style and can protect your building’s design when panels are treated to prevent corrosion. Depending on your commercial building requirements and local building and safety code, you might need to consider a different material that can withstand severe weather and potential storm damage.
Maintenance: The maintenance of metal exteriors is a bonus for the busy building owner. Metal exterior cladding won’t require much upkeep if it comes with a protective finish. However, some metal is softer than other types of metal and might need repair or replacement if there are any dents or scratches after severe weather hits.
Durability: Metal works hard to protect exteriors but is prone to rust and corrosion over time, especially if you’re in a wet, coastal climate. Some types of metal are more weather resistant but might come with a higher price tag. “One reason zinc and copper are more expensive is their unparalleled resistance to corrosion,” according to Roofing Calculator.
Brick is one of the more expensive exterior choices and requires a mason on the job site to oversee installation. But brick has been a widely popular choice in exteriors for centuries because it offers durability over the long term. If you’re wondering how a brick exterior might work with your commercial design, look at it from a few vantage points.
Installation: Brick exteriors are often the most expensive because of the labor that goes into installation. Brick-and-mortar work requires subcontractors, and the success of a brick installation is often dependent on weather, since mortar needs to stay moist in order to cure.
Functionality: Brick offers your exterior strong protection, which is why it’s been such a popular choice on buildings for centuries.
Maintenance: While brick exteriors are easy to maintain, you’ll want to make sure you inspect the building regularly for any damage. Even though brick is highly durable, the mortar can crack or deteriorate over time, which makes the exterior prone to moisture and water damage.
Durability: The strength of brick gives building owners confidence that their design will last for decades. When it’s properly installed and maintained, brick is a highly durable material that offers long-term building protection.
Fiber cement cladding has become more popular with building owners and architects in the last few decades. Because fiber cement panels come in a wide array of looks and finishes, designers can give commercial buildings exterior protection and plenty of style.
Installation: Fiber cement panel installation can be a breeze when you work with a high-quality product. Nichiha’s cladding system uses clip installation to make the job go smoothly no matter what style of panel (brick front, cement-look, etc.), and the panels also feature a rainscreen system to offer moisture protection, saving you from purchasing and installing a separate rainscreen system.
Functionality: Fiber cement panels can give your building the protection it needs for decades, and lets designers enhance an exterior with any style they can dream up. Fiber cement panels can be installed horizontally, vertically and even work in interior applications.
Maintenance: Many building owners choose fiber cement because it offers strength and protection to their exterior. Fiber cement cladding from Nichiha also comes with low maintenance, which makes it attractive to building owners that don’t want to spend time or money on upkeep. There’s no repainting needed, and a light wash with soap and water will keep your exterior looking new.
Durability: Fiber cement offers unbeatable protection to exteriors, and because it’s manufactured with longevity in mind, building owners can rest easy knowing their investment is safe, even in severe weather climates. Nichiha panels are tested to the most stringent weather and fire safety standards and have been used all over the world (in all types of climates) to protect homes and buildings.
Architects today need durable, design-forward exterior solutions they can depend on. There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to cladding, but fiber cement has grown in popularity more recently because it offers multiple solutions for building owners.
From outstanding weather protection to low maintenance, fiber cement exteriors offer solutions for commercial buildings around the world.
Nichiha fiber cement cladding comes with everything you need for an easy installation and weather protection that your building needs. Take a look at our commercial design gallery here for more inspiration and ideas, or download our brochure of commercial cladding options here.