Cladding refers to the application of one material over another to provide a protective skin or layer. In construction, cladding is used to provide a degree of thermal insulation and weather resistance, and to improve the appearance of buildings. Cladding can be made of a variety of materials such as wood, metal, brick, vinyl, and composite materials that can include aluminum, wood, blends of cement and recycled polystyrene, wheat/rice straw fibers. It can be attached directly to the frame of the building or to an intermediate layer of battens or spacers. Cladding systems include horizontal or vertical boards, sheet materials or smaller overlapping panels such as tiles. The cladding does not itself need to be waterproof, merely a control element; it may serve only to direct water or wind safely away in order to control run-off and prevent its infiltration into the building structure. Cladding also helps to reduce the spread of fire. As an integral part of a building’s envelope, the choice of cladding is a critical decision that affects the aesthetic appeal, energy performance, and safety of a building.

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