These days, there is a strong emphasis on lowering your carbon footprint and doing your bit to tackle the environmental crisis. More and more consumers are making eco-friendly and sustainable choices that play a role in sustainable food sources, including the household products and clothing we buy.
It is no different in making sustainable and environmentally friendly choices with building materials.
The popularity of composite decking and cladding has steadily increased. In addition to being low-maintenance, it is also an eco-friendly building material option with a long list of benefits.
How is Composite Cladding Made?
Composite cladding boards are an alternative to traditional timber cladding. It is made from recycled materials, including reclaimed wood fibres and recycled plastic. The combination of recycled components is what makes composite cladding an eco-friendly option.
Using materials that would end up in landfills, composite cladding reuses valuable resources that minimise waste, reducing the negative environmental impact.
Is Composite Cladding Sustainable?
Composite cladding is engineered using sustainable and eco-friendly materials that help reduce CO2 emissions. Properly fitted cladding insulates the building’s heat system, decreases air leakage, and improves energy efficiency.
Furthermore, the benefits of composite cladding also prevent any moisture from rain and snowfall from being absorbed, providing greater control of temperatures indoors.
Environmental Benefits of Composite Cladding
Composite cladding has many benefits; it’s water-resistant and stain-proof, won’t rot or warp and is engineered to be long-lasting. There are also environmental benefits of composite cladding that make this product incredibly sustainable.
Composite cladding is exceptionally durable and expands and contracts to weather elements but retains its shape. It can last up to twenty-five years, and Forma composite cladding from Ecoscape is UV resistant and has a warranty against weathering, making it impervious to extreme weather conditions.
Uses Less Energy To Produce
The additional energy required to manufacture real wood cladding requires energy to cut, transport and rework traditional cladding products. Recycled materials used to produce composite cladding use less energy during manufacturing.
Does Not Contain Harsh Chemicals
Unlike hardwood cladding, composite cladding does not require routine painting, staining and oiling. No harsh chemicals are needed to treat cladding, and it only needs warm soapy water to clean it instead of conventional chemical cleaners.
Manufactured to Minimise Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Cladding installation provides insulation for the building structure and helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Environmentalists and scientists have been studying the effects of composite materials and decarbonization and have concluded that composite materials, like composite cladding, effectively reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The UK government aims to become Net-Zero by 2050. With the help of the National Composites Centre (NCC) and manufacturers like Ecoscape, composite materials are a sustainable way of achieving this goal.
Heat and Noise Insulation
Composite cladding can effectively reduce your energy bills due to its heat insulation and noise reduction properties. Compared to traditional building materials, composite cladding is an additional layer that effectively drowns out the noise and provides incredible heat insulation.
Responsible Forest Management
Composite cladding is made from reclaimed wood fibres sourced from sustainable and ethical sources. Ecoscape is dedicated to protecting the environment, ensuring that the recycled wood fibres used in the composite cladding products are FSC certified.
Low-Maintenance and Eco-friendly
Because composite cladding is a low-maintenance product, many commercial businesses and homeowners are doing their part to lower their carbon footprint and help the ecosystems. Now you may be wondering how that is possible.
Composite materials like cladding are the first line of defence against weather elements and require minimal upkeep, unlike timber cladding. You must regularly maintain wood cladding to avoid weather damage.
Treatments like reapplying sealers, staining, and treating wood against fungal diseases and pesticides against insect infestations use harsh chemicals to maintain wood cladding.
The issue is that protecting your building’s cladding from the elements hurts the planet’s ecosystem. The preservation of wood products to prevent rot and decay can seep into streams and soil, causing irreversible damage to plants and animals. There are preservatives in chemical-based treatments that are toxic and harmful.
Composite cladding does not need chemically based cleaners and treatments. Soapy warm water is all that is needed to maintain composite cladding. This means that composite materials and how they are maintained do not have a negative environmental impact on the planet.
Composite Cladding vs Wood Cladding vs Vinyl Cladding
Composite, wood, and vinyl cladding are the most popular options for many homeowners. The inevitable question is, which cladding is far more sustainable and contributes positively to the environment?
Wood Cladding Boards
It is understandable to think that wood cladding is an environmentally friendly material; however, you might change your opinion when you realise that wood decking and cladding are products of deforestation.
In addition to deforestation, manufacturing wood decking and cladding products contributes to the emission of pollutants since many cut trees are transported on a global scale. The unfortunate truth is that the use of sealants and chemical treatment of wood does more harm to the environment than it does good.
The upside is that traditional timber products can be recycled and are biodegradable.
Plastic Cladding Boards
Plastic cladding boards are perhaps the least eco-friendly materials due to the toxic synthetic fibre and polyvinyl chloride. During the manufacturing of polyvinyl chloride, harmful chemicals pollute the air, soil, and water. This is not only harmful to the environment, but it is detrimental to humans, plants, and animals.
Unfortunately, plastic is not biodegradable and can only be disposed of in landfills or incineration.
Composite Cladding Boards
Composite cladding is perhaps the most eco-friendly option. Not only are ethically sourced and recycled materials used in the manufacturing process, but it also reduces carbon emissions and waste in landfills.
Compared to plastic and wood cladding, composite cladding lasts much longer and is easier to dispose of. Its durability and longevity make this product appealing to many homeowners and commercial businesses.
The Difference Between Composite Cladding and Vinyl Siding
Composite Cladding and vinyl siding are installed on exterior walls but are not the same, despite the words being used interchangeably. The difference between the two is their function, installation, and aesthetics.
The main difference between siding and cladding is how they are applied. While siding is installed directly onto a house’s exterior, composite cladding should have at least a 35mm gap from the wall to allow for ventilation. For cladding to dry properly, it must be well-ventilated.
The siding is installed either vertically or horizontally using a panelled method. In addition to the sheathing, vinyl siding can be applied directly to the foam board insulation or the side of the wall.
Composite cladding and exterior sheathing require a water-resistant barrier and a ventilated drainage plane, which together create a rain screen.
Between the cladding and the wall, a channel promotes airflow and drainage. Vents at the top and bottom allow water vapour, exfiltrate, and heat to exit upwards by convection and gravity, respectively.
However, only cladding offers dedicated spaces for trapped moisture to drain out, preventing rot, mould, and other moisture-related damages. Vinyl siding will also provide some protection against water infiltration.
The thicker composite cladding boards provide slightly more significant protrusion to the exterior of a building than siding boards because of the ventilated drainage plane. The slimmer profile and direct application of vinyl siding allow them to overlap slightly.
It is also possible to lay composite cladding boards in several different directions, making them useful when designing multidimensional applications. There are many ways to create the façade of a building, including mixing colours, positioning vertical, horizontal, and diagonal patterns, and adding depth with the ventilation plane.
Composite Cladding Applications
Composite cladding has long-term benefits, is the best choice for outdoor buildings, and can be applied in numerous ways.
Hide Unappealing Walls
Composite cladding can be used as an alternative to rendering brick walls. By installing cladding, you can easily hide cracks, an unsightly concrete finish, or an ugly paint job.
There are many different styles and colours of composite cladding to complement any residential or commercial building. Composite cladding not only adds curb appeal but is an attractive, long-lasting option.
Clad Your Garden Rooms
Protect your garden room from extreme weather elements by installing composite cladding. Your garden room will be well insulated whether you use it for entertaining guests, use it as an office, or for recreational purposes.
Additionally, during the warmer months, the composite cladding will keep your room cool. Matching the garden room cladding with your house and composite decking will ensure you have a cohesive look.
In the absence of composite fencing, you can conceal an unsightly wooden fence with cladding boards. You can also use them to create a privacy screen for your garden, balcony, or backyard if you choose the joists and beams that are suitable for composite cladding.
Use It as a Garden Feature
To add a truly unique look to your garden area, composite cladding can be used as benches and seating areas and conceal big planters. Not only will it look coordinated and structured, but you can play around with the various composite wall cladding colours to create unique patterns.
Use It Indoors
Composite cladding can be used as a feature interior wall in your home or office. You can create contemporary styles with precision using the clean lines of composite cladding. It will be easier to clean and maintain too.
Use It as a Home Extension
As an extension of your home, the composite cladding will increase its value besides adding curb appeal. You can add a stunning and appealing look to your house by adding composite cladding to the second-floor extension.
How long does composite cladding last?
Unlike traditional wood timber cladding, which has a lifespan of ten to fifteen years, composite cladding is engineered to last twenty to twenty-five years. The difference is that composite cladding is exceptionally low maintenance and does not need annual treatment to prolong its lifespan.
What is the difference between cladding and weatherboard?
Cladding added to a building increases its efficiency in heat retention, weather resistance, and specifically for aesthetic purposes. Weatherboards are overlapping exterior cladding made from wood, fibre cement, and vinyl to keep out the rain.
Will cladding my house make it warmer?
Composite cladding is engineered to insulate heat, thus lowering the cost of your bills.
How are composite materials disposed of?
Composite materials are disposed of by heating them to a high enough temperature to remove any resin or dissolve it chemically. These processes are called pyrolysis (heating) and solvolysis (dissolving).
Composite cladding is an incredible application for commercial spaces and residential homes. It is an eco-friendly and sustainable option that has been key to the UK government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions by the year 2050.
When installing Ecoscape’s composite cladding to your home, it not only insulates your home and reduces your energy bills, but it also positively impacts the environment and it’s a small start to big changes for the planet!