There has been a lot of talk over recent years regarding cladding and safety measures. People are more concerned about the fire risks associated with cladding, and, understandably, some may have lost confidence in cladding’s safety in the wake of recent disasters.
It’s important to remember that there are many different kinds of cladding with different properties, some of which are resistant to fire and others that are not. Here’s a breakdown of the various cladding types and their heat resistant abilities.
Timber cladding uses a natural material for its warm properties. It is typically used for aesthetic purposes as it comes in various colours, styles and textures that can give a building a more attractive appearance. Timber is a renewable resource with a low carbon footprint that can be recycled at the end of its life. It is also durable and provides excellent thermal and sound installation for properties.
While there was no timber used in the Grenfell Tower disaster, concerns have been raised about the safety of all kinds of combustible cladding material, such as timber. Nothing has been changed in legislation yet, but timber cladding may need to be treated with a suitable fire-retardant product to help improve its fire safety.
Many large buildings utilise glass cladding to create a recognisable exterior. Due to being lightweight, glass cladding can be made into so many unique shapes to fit every contour of a building. It also does not discolour or deteriorate, just requiring the occasional clean. It can withstand the UK’s adverse weather conditions and maximise the amount of natural light in a building.
Developments in glass mean that more sophisticated cladding products have an increased fire-resistant performance.
uPVC is a popular choice for buildings due to its low cost and low maintenance needs. This kind of cladding has UV stabilisers that prevent the covered area from exposure to direct sunlight and is also weatherproof and corrosive resistant. It makes a good choice for exterior cladding to keep a building warm during winter and cool during summer.
In a fire, uPVC cladding is considered combustible as the panels will warp and melt, but the spread of flames will be limited.
Stone cladding is when thin layers of natural stone are used externally to give a building a unique style of cladding. Common stones used in this kind of cladding are slate, marble and sandstone. Stone is easy to cut into slabs of uniform thickness, making installation easy. Due to their non-porous surface, they make a great external cladding system as they do not absorb moisture.
While stone does not burn, they can still pose a fire risk as the stone can shatter or crack when exposed to the intense heat of a fire.
Fibre Cement Cladding
Fibre cement is a composite material that is used both externally and internally on a building. It is made using two or more elements to produce a new material, and typically the components are cement, sand, filler and cellulose. Fibre cement cladding is popular due to its longevity and durability against adverse weather. It is lightweight, easy to install and does not change when exposed to excessive heat or moisture.
In terms of fire safety, fibre cement is a non-combustible material, so it will not ignite or fuel flames in the event of a fire.
Metal cladding is typically made from steel or aluminium and is excellent for industrial or commercial buildings. It is lightweight, cost-effective and durable, making it difficult to damage. It offers good weather resistance and keeps a building warm and insulated. There are also a number of different styles and colours to choose from, making it a great choice for a variety of different needs.
Metal cladding is also highly fire-resistant as it is a non-combustible material that will not help spread flames during a fire.
When it comes to cladding for your building, there are plenty of options. Understandably, you might be focused on ensuring you pick the option with the best fire safety rating, and fortunately, there are plenty of cladding options with fire safety in mind. At Bushbury Cladding, our wall cladding is made from the finest British steel and can be used for various purposes, including agricultural buildings and commercial dwellings. Contact us today to find out more.