Cladding is any kind of non-load bearing material that is affixed to the surface of a structure to create the faux look of stone or other kinds of heavy, expensive materials. It can be attached for aesthetic purposes or to protect the structure from the elements, according to Your Home.
Metal cladding is often made of steel and is used to protect a structure from the elements. The metal can be attached to the structure by bonding it with an electrical shock or with screws and adhesive. Metal cladding also does not soundproof a structure, whereas certain stone cladding, like brick veneer can offer a home (and neighbors) a barrier for loud noises.
Stone cladding can be made of real stone or synthetic materials, like polyurethane or fiberglass. It can also be made of concrete. Synthetic stone cladding is generally made by pouring synthetic materials into molds that look like authentic stones and allowing the material to set and harden. It is beneficial, because it often weighs less than real stone and is usually less expensive as it costs less to transport and is easier to install. Stone cladding can also be made of real stone that is smooth on the back and textured on the front. The real stones can also be attached to a synthetic material that can be attached to a structure with masonry in a brick-like pattern or can be clicked into place with an interlocking system.
Roof cladding is usually made of steel and can sometimes be affixed to the sides of structures too. Homeowners should check to see if their cladding is appropriate for use on the roof or sides of structures.
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Though many options are now available to clad the exterior of structures, homeowners should consider the reasons for cladding before purchasing metal or stone. While metal can offer protection from the elements, it is often not as attractive as stone.