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Architectural Cladding Vs. Facade: An Close-Up Exterior Examination

Choosing the right facade is no farce when it comes to exterior planning and construction.

When it comes to curb appeal, builders and architects are likely going to spend quite a bit of time focused on a building’s facade. But what makes this such an important part of the build process? It’s all about creating an interesting and inviting frontage for a home or business to welcome visitors (or owners).

But when crafting this curb appeal, many homeowners setting off on their new home or renovation will ask how architectural cladding vs. facade compare. How can you choose the right option for your home? To help, we’ve both put together this close-up look at the difference between the two and how you can decide on the right options for your build.

If you want to learn more about architectural cladding, check out our other resources:

1. How much does architectural cladding cost

2. How to choose the best architectural cladding

3. Pros and cons of architectural cladding

What is a facade and why does it matter?

Façade is a somewhat fancy term for the exterior appearance of a building or structure. More specifically, facades usually refer to the front part of the exterior that faces the public of the street and is seen as the face, so to speak, of the building. So the front of a home that faces outward to passersby will be the facade, and because of this, nearly every structure has one.

Facades differ from one another in how they are designed and decorated. A facade can have any blend of materials, colours, systems, and designs worked into it to create a unique appearance. This can include everything from window and door placement to siding selection and roof angles.

Facades matter because they add personality to a build. They can help underscore a brand’s identity in a corporate construction job just as much as they can help make a house feel like a home. Facades encompass anything that adds architectural character. Otherwise, all of the homes we build would look and feel the same. And that would be boring, to say the least.

A closer look at architectural cladding

So how is architectural cladding different from a facade? Well, while the two terms are often used interchangeably, this is actually inaccurate. In fact, architectural cladding is a component of a unique design and facade, but it is not a facade in and of itself.

Architectural cladding is the application of one material over another to create a safe and sound exterior that also has quite a bit of curb appeal. Cladding, regardless of what it’s made out of, is designed to protect structures from the elements. Different claddings, or coverings, come in a variety of materials, colours, shapes, and sizes. The mixed use of all of these can contribute to the look and feel of a facade.

Architectural cladding has specific appeal for use on facades because it has a unique modern look that can add style to the structure. It is also a great insulator, adding the energy efficiency of the buildings it’s used on. What’s more, it can not only help with regulating temperature but also sound that is let into (or out of) a structure. 

Face off: Architectural cladding vs. facade

So which should you choose for your home or business? It turns out that since every building includes a facade of some sort, you’re already covered. What stands up for grabs is what you actually want to cover your façade in. And the options are fairly limitless. Here are just a few of the types of materials you can expect to find included in a facade, often in combination with one another.

  • Architectural cladding
  • Clay
  • Stone
  • Vinyl
  • Brick
  • Stucco
  • Glazing
  • Glass
  • Concrete
  • Timber
  • Fibre cement

As you can see, architectural cladding tops the list as an option for your facade of choice. This exterior material comes in a variety of options itself including copper, zinc, aluminium, and steel. These metals vary in the size of the panels, colourways available, and how they weather over time to produce a unique patina.

Architectural cladding is one of the simplest and distinctive ways to elevate the entrance and face of a home or office building. It can help an architect or designer create a facade that either blends in or contrasts with the environment according to their design intentions while also being a sustainable and eco friendly option that improves energy efficiency. 

Choosing the right architectural cladding for your project

How can you decide on the right type of architectural cladding for your facade? There’s really no wrong answer since all metal claddings are designed to withstand the elements. In many cases, it comes down to the style or colour palette you’re looking for. It can also depend on how you’re planning to install it on the home façade itself.

For example, steel comes in a variety of colours and finishes to help match any aesthetic choice, from modern to more traditional façades, including matte finishes. This galvanised product will stand up to Mother Nature for extended periods of 50 years or more. However, it’s less flexible as a product when installing, making it less of a fit for designer elements such as curves.

In contrast, aluminium provides for flexibility without sacrificing price or design. Aluminium metal cladding comes as a painted or finished product that can represent anything from dark greys to white as well as finishes that mimic the look of weathered copper and zinc without the price tag. 

Is it worthwhile to invest in a facade?

Absolutely. Your home’s facade is its face to the world and what you’ll think of when you think of home. It’s also quite worthwhile to contemplate the materials used in the facade beyond design. Products like architectural cladding provide an advantage over timber, for example, by being long lasting with almost no maintenance needed in comparison. Cladding can also be more cost effective than options such as stone or brick which can add up the costs when it comes to both materials and installation.

Architectural cladding also offers the advantages we’ve already mentioned around insulation and energy efficiency. Other facade materials like vinyl and glass simply don’t compare.

Upgrading a facade with architectural cladding that lasts

Architectural cladding is a functional design element that can upgrade any facade. When it comes to architectural cladding vs. facade, there’s no question that the two go hand in hand. The only question is which style you prefer and who you’ll turn to for a stellar installation and build experience.

And the answer to that is Advanced Metal Cladding here in Melbourne. We’re the area’s leading provider and installer of cladding products specialising in architectural roofing and facades when it comes to residential and heritage projects. We focus solely on residential projects, collaborating with builders and contractors to provide innovative solutions that encompass everything from substructure consultation to cladding install.

Our owners have a combined 40 years of experience when it comes to the cladding industry including everything from new builds to restoration work. If you’re considering architectural cladding for your facade, start with the Advanced Metal Cladding team by requesting a free quote on 0497 009 390.

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