Cladding is an important component of building’s construction. It is attached to a building’s framework or an intermediate layer of battens or spacers to form non-structural, external surfaces that have a number of uses such as protecting the building from external conditions, providing privacy and security, preventing the transmission of sound and providing thermal insulation.
However, what exactly is cladding; what is it made of? Additionally, with the likes of Grenfell Tower making headlines all around the world back in 2017, are all cladding materials safe?
The Components of Cladding
Cladding can be made from a wide range of materials including wood, metal, brick, vinyl, composite materials that can include aluminium, wood, blends of cement and recycled polystyrene and wheat/straw fibres. These different compositions determine the environmental performance of a building as well as its resistance to fire.
Cladding systems include horizontal or vertical boards, sheet materials or overlapping panels. Each system uses a different method to prevent wind and rain entering the joints, and the effectiveness varies depending on wind direction, speed and the degree of exposure to rain.
Cladding has been in use for a long time, and materials have varied during this time. Timber cladding was used as far back as the 5th century in Anglo-Saxon homes in Britain. As we entered the modern age, timber was used less and less in favour of brick, clay, steel and concrete.
Grenfell: The Perils of Cladding
Back in 2017, one of the most high profile cladding related fires took place in London. On 14th June 2017, a fire broke out in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of flats in North Kensington just before 1:00am. The fire caused 72 deaths, and many were injured; 223 people escaped.
The rapid spread of the fire was attributed to the building’s cladding, which was found to fail key safety tests that were performed after the event. The building’s insulation was made from aluminium-polyethylene cladding and the polyisocyanurate foam plates, and back in 2014, experts warned that this planned insulation was only suitable for use with non-combustible cladding. These materials that were used were considered cheaper than non-combustible alternatives, and it was stated that the project team chose cheaper cladding to save money.
Composite panels, like the ones used in Grenfell, were developed as a means of providing cheap, lightweight, weathertight insulted building cladding. They generally consist of internal and external metal facing sheets, bonded to a core of various alternative insulation materials. The facings are typically aluminium, with coatings for weather resistance.
Since Grenfell, greater attention has been paid to the fire protection quality of cladding, not just in the UK but in other countries around the world. There are estimated to be around 600 high-rise blocks of flats in the UK that have similar cladding to Grenfell, and whilst the Government recently announced a £200 million budget to help replace this hazardous cladding, people who live in these kinds of buildings fear it is not enough. Reports suggest that the stress of living in buildings with Grenfell-style cladding is causing bouts of depression and alcohol dependency in residents who fear for their lives on a daily basis.
Cladding from Bushbury Cladding
At Bushbury Cladding, our wall cladding sheets are made from the finest British steel with a choice of two coatings, polyester paint and plastisol leather grain. Corrugated steel roof cladding has been installed on buildings for many years, and due to its easy installation process and excellent protective qualities, it still proves incredibly popular today.
To better meet the specific demand for cladding panels, we reverse the profile of our tin roof sheets to ensure that they are suitable for all applications. All sheets within this range can be made from 0.5mm and 0.7mm thickness to suit our customers, and we have many years of proven experience when it comes to meeting a variety of needs.
Our tin roof sheets and wall cladding sheets are ideal for a huge array of purposes, including use on domestic premises, agricultural buildings and commercial dwellings. We supply all fixing screws alongside our cladding and always ensure a quality finish.
We offer a comprehensive range of colours for you to use on your tin roof sheets and wall cladding sheets, so this highly functional service also excels in terms of aesthetics too. If you need an installation service for your sheets, Bushbury Cladding’s expert team are your number one port of call and will ensure a swift fitting of any cladding or roofing sheets.