The exterior wall surface of a building forms the skin of the building. These surfaces or building components are commonly referred to as cladding. The purpose of the wall cladding coverings is to provide the building with a weather-resistant exterior envelope. 

The exterior building envelope should be designed and constructed to prevent the accumulation of water within the wall assemblies and cavities. There are many different types, styles, and material choices for exterior wall coverings. The wall cladding also provides aesthetic and architectural appeal to the building's exterior.

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Exterior wall claddings include the following:

1. Wood products including hardboard, panels, shingles and shakes, plywood, plank siding, OSB, clapboard siding

2. Masonry products such as brick, stone, simulated stone, poured concrete, concrete panels, and concrete blocks

3. Vinyl siding

4. Fibre-cement siding

5. Metal products, such as steel or aluminium siding

6. Stucco over wood framing or concrete block

7. Synthetic Stucco (EIFS or Exterior Insulation Finish Systems)

8. Asphalt shingles

9. Slate or clay tiles

Every type of exterior wall cladding has various characteristics associated with the installation, durability, appearance, and cost differentials. Factors to be considered:

1. Weather-tight – the ability to resist water, snow, and wind

2. Strength – resistance to mechanical damage

3. Structural Properties – capabilities of carrying loads

4. Insulating Value

5. Maintenance requirements

6. Common Failure Modes

The best wall claddings are highly resistant to wind, water, vermin entry, and mechanical damage. ideal exterior wall claddings are inexpensive, easy to install which reduces labour costs, provides excellent security and cosmetic appeal, long economic life, and provide good insulation qualities. Most sidings and claddings do not provide all the aforementioned qualities. It is important to plan your project to meet all considerations.