The exterior wall surfaces of a building form the skin of the building. These surfaces or building components are commonly referred to as cladding. The purpose of the exterior wall cladding coverings is to provide the building with a weather resistant exterior wall envelope. The exterior wall envelope should be designed and constructed to prevent the accumulation of water within the wall assemblies and cavities. There are many different types, styles, and material choices for exterior wall cladding. The wall cladding also provides aesthetic and architectural appeal to the building’s exterior.
Exterior wall claddings can include the following:
Wood products including hardboard, panels, shingles and shakes, plywood, plank siding, OSB, clapboard.
Masonry products such as brick, stone, simulated stone, poured concrete, concrete panels, and concrete blocks.
Metal products, such as steel or aluminum siding
Stucco over wood framing or concrete block
Synthetic Stucco (EIFS or Exterior Insulation Finish Systems)
Slate or clay tiles
Every type of exterior wall cladding has various characteristics associated with the installation, durability, appearance, and cost differentials. Factors to be considered:
Weather- Tight – the ability to resist water, snow, and wind
Strength – resistance to mechanical damage
Structural properties – capabilities of carrying loads
Common Failure Modes
The best wall claddings are highly resistant to wind, water, vermin entry, and mechanical damage. Ideal exterior wall claddings are inexpensive, easy to install which reduces labor costs, provides for low maintenance, provide excellent security and cosmetic appeal, long economic life, and provide good insulation qualities. Most sidings and claddings do not provide all the aforementioned qualities. It is important to plan your project to meet all considerations.
It is very common that various types of exterior wall claddings are more popular and dominate in certain geographic regions. The type of exterior wall cladding may be related to the availability of materials and labor, in that specific locale coupled with characteristic of the various wall surfaces. Moisture intrusion through the exterior cladding and into the building envelope will greatly impact the durability of the structure and health of its occupants.
Alan Trauger is a Real Estate and Building Consultant for residential and commercial properties. Mr. Trauger has attained over 35 years of diversified experience and knowledge in construction, finance, and real estate. He has been involved in various facets of asset management, acquisitions, real estate work outs, property management, construction, inspection analysis, development, sales, leasing, and Ad Valorem tax appeal for over 25,000 single family and multi-family units and over 2.5 million square feet of commercial buildings. A Court Appointed Receiver and Expert Witness. An experienced and knowledgeable problem solver, understanding processes, and issues related construction and real estate.
Mr. Trauger’s wide spectrum of experiences, education, research, teaching, and publication of previous articles, commercial real estate market sales comparables, and textbooks enables him to assist property owners through the property assessment and tax appeal process.