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Cladding is an envelope that protects the exterior of a structure by acting as a shield to the dwelling unit/structure from environmental elements. A cladding should be able to tame inclement weather conditions like torrential rains and heavy winds, preventing them from infiltrating a building structure. Besides, it may also add to the aesthetics of the structure by hiding the unattractive substrate or the underlying stronger material.
Cladding installation systems
A cladding system can be installed using various methods. The installation system to be employed is based on different kinds of materials that have been utilized for the construction of the cladding system.
There are three basic ways to install a cladding system, which are listed as follows:
1. Attached system
In the attached system, the large panels forming the exterior cladding are directly attached to the structural frame of a building having one or more stories or bays. The attached system is used to erect the precast concrete and the steel-stud frames having exterior finishes. During installation, the crane lifts the panel in place, being fixed onto the anchorage that is fastened at the edge of the slab.
By using the attached system, one can eliminate the time consumed by on-site construction and make the construction process much more easier. In addition to this, the attached system also insulates the exterior wall and the structural frame is guarded against the ill-effects of the changing weather.
On the flip side, the time needed for designing, drawing approvals, and manufacturing of the panels may push a project behind schedule thus causing a delay. The design has to be thoroughly examined to avoid problems after installation.
2. Curtain Wall System
The curtain wall system is generally incorporated in large and multi-storeyed buildings. This system is similar to the attached system, with the only difference being- the panels here are not attached to the slab edges with anchors, but are attached to the structural frame using clip angles.
Typically, the curtain wall system comprises a lightweight frame onto which opaque or glazed panels are fixed. Metal and glass are the most commonly used cladding panels in this system.
The material used in the curtain wall system is usually light, providing an added advantage during handling and assembly. Furthermore, a standard combination of the materials and the system is set for the design and manufacturing of panels.
This, in turn, proves to be an added advantage by reducing the time required for approving designs and manufacturing. The manufacturer then designs the joints and connections based on the material, system, and structural frame properties specified by the structural engineers and architects.
3. Infill System
The infill system is easier to differentiate from other systems as the structural frame is exposed in this case. The cladding panels are placed between the columns of the structural frame, spanning from one level of the slab to another. The cast-in-place concrete panel is mostly used as a cladding material in this system. Glass and precast concrete are some other materials that can be effectively used in the infill system.
The cladding panels of the infill system can be installed from the inside of the building, reducing the risks of injury to workers working on scaffolding. This system has weak heat-insulating ability because of a significant heat exchange between the floor slabs due to the exposed structural frames. The heat also causes expansion and contraction of the structural frame.
These reasons leave very little room for error during design and assembly. The designer must also consider the behavior of the precast concrete panel and the structural frame as the structural elements will be subjected to non-uniform loads over the years.
Cladding is an envelope to protect the exterior of a structure.
The types of cladding installation systems are the attached system, curtain wall system, and infill system.
In the infill installation system, the structural frame is exposed, and the cast-in-place concrete panel is mostly used.
READ MORE: Type of Wall Claddings