The early days:
In the early days of construction, the wall was simply a single barrier made of easily available material like stone or wood. The idea was to protect grain, livestock and people against the elements and invasions. One of the earliest known walls was built from tempered earth by the Shang dynasty in ancient China. Insulation was poor and the walls offered very little protection against rain.
The advent of the ‘Sealed Wall’
New material and improved technology tried to make walls that controlled water penetration. The wall evolved from a monolithic structure to a variety of architectural elements that ‘sealed the face of the wall’. Porous surfaces such as concrete were treated with a surface sealant to block water absorption. While this was an improvement over mass walls, water managed to find its way through gaps in the sealant.
The ‘Screened-Drained’ or External Wall Cladding used today:
The industry achieved a break-through with the ‘screened-drained’ wall. The new theory focused on preventing water on the external side of the wall from reaching the internal side. Therefore, this wall was developed with two layers – the outer layer or external cladding is separated by an air cavity or insulation that creates a break between the two walls which allows for drainage of moisture. The ventilation in this layer lets the moisture dry, preventing it from reaching the internal wall and providing the most effective protection against water.
While there is a variety of external cladding on the market, one of the most popular ones is the vinyl external cladding. Among the benefits:
1. Because vinyl cladding is a combination of PVC and other material it will not rust, corrode, warp or crack. Cladding made of natural material is vulnerable to all of the above.
2. Vinyl cladding is maintenance free. It requires no repainting as the colour is inherent throughout the material and it does not fade.
3. Cleaning is very simple – all it needs is mild soap and water.
4. Insulated vinyl cladding offers significant energy bill savings for homeowners.
5. DIY installation is possible, adding to the relatively low cost of the material.
6. Comes in natural finishes, enhancing the kerb appeal and value of your house.
Thanks to external wall cladding, today’s walls offer protection, energy efficiency and good looks.