10 Aug Aluminium versus stone cladding systems
At Invention Steel, our close collaboration with architects and designers in UAE often begins at the early stages of a project, even before it is submitted for planning approval. This initial phase is particularly fascinating as the building stands as an architectural canvas, a blank slate for designers to craft something truly iconic.
During these early project discussions, one of the central questions that naturally arises pertains to the selection of materials for the building’s facade. This choice is influenced by the existing architectural context of the area and the client’s vision for their structure.
The pivotal decision of whether to utilize aluminum cladding or stone/natural materials on the facade is typically the first that needs to be made. In this article, our aim is to provide an impartial assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of both options. It is worth noting that while we specialize in metal rainscreen solutions, we recognize that aluminum cladding may not always be the optimal choice for every project. Therefore, our objective is to guide you in making an informed decision.
Let’s delve into the essential criteria and evaluate the performance of Aluminum Cladding versus Stone Cladding:
While the most of may seem to favor Aluminum Cladding at first glance, it’s important to recognize that Stone and Natural products hold a unique place in architectural design. Especially when dealing with marbled and multi-faceted color stones, they offer qualities that are nearly impossible to replicate on an aluminum or metal surface. Design, after all, is driven by creativity, and beauty is subjective. If you have a genuine affinity for stone, then it may be the right choice for your project.
Let’s take a closer look at the key criteria:
- Cost: In a straightforward comparison, aluminum is considerably more cost-effective than stone.
- Weight: Aluminum is significantly lighter than stone. For instance, a 60mm panel of Limestone would weigh approximately 150kg per square meter, while an aluminum panel would weigh around 8.5kg.
- Flexibility: Aluminum offers remarkable flexibility, allowing it to be molded into a wide range of shapes and forms. In contrast, stone and natural products are typically limited to flat slabs or panels.
- Availability: Both aluminum and stone cladding materials are readily available supply.
- Lead Time: Aluminum cladding generally has shorter lead times for delivery to the site compared to stone. This is due to the fact that stone for a project typically requires a bulk order from a quarry, specifically extracted for the project.
- Ease of Replacement: The ease of replacement depends on the specific design of the cladding system. Some aluminum cladding systems may require surrounding panels to be removed to access and replace a single panel, but sourcing a matching replacement is relatively straightforward. With stone panels, the process can be more complex, as matching with existing panels can pose challenges, given that all original stones came from the same batch.
- Range of Finishes: Aluminum offers a vast array of finishes, including over 200 RAL colors, each with different gloss levels, an extensive range of anodized finishes, and various surface treatments such as shot-peening, brushing, grinding, and polishing. Stone, on the other hand, offers a somewhat more limited range of finish options.
We hope this article provides you with valuable insights to aid your decision-making process. Please feel free to reach out to us to discuss any project-specific inquiries you may have.