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What are the Different Types of Cladding Materials?

B. Turner
B. Turner

Cladding materials are a type of construction product used to finish and protect the exterior walls of a home. Exterior cladding, also known as siding, can be used to give a home the desired appearance while keeping water, wind, and other elements out. A homeowner's choice of cladding materials can have a big impact on the design of the structure, and may also influence factors ranging from energy efficiency to sound control.

Before cladding materials can be installed on a structure, builders must first create suitable framing to support these materials. Typically, contractors use wood or metal beams and studs to frame the home, then fasten siding directly to these framing members. Others may construct the basic shell of the home from concrete, masonry, or other products rather than traditional framing materials. Moisture barriers, plywood sheathing and insulation may be added between the structure and the cladding materials to add strength and improve energy efficiency.

Stucco cladding can be applied directly over an exterior surface.
Stucco cladding can be applied directly over an exterior surface.

Lap siding represents one of the most common cladding materials used on residential structures. This type of siding consists of thin horizontal strips or vinyl, wood, or composite products arranged in overlapping rows. Some manufacturers also produce siding made from fiber cement or metals like aluminum and copper. Specialty cladding products also come in vertical strips or panels to create a variety of different designs.

Exterior cladding is also known as siding.
Exterior cladding is also known as siding.

Masonry offers another versatile and durable type of cladding system. Most modern brick homes consist of standard wood, metal, or block framing with a brick veneer installed along the exterior surface. This same design technique can be used with stone or other masonry products, which are either attached to the home using mortar or metal brick ties.

Some exterior cladding materials are simply applied directly over the exterior surfaces of the home. One example is stucco, which can be used to create a highly-textured, weatherproof finish. Commercial builders rely on a more advanced form of stuccoing, known as exterior insulated finish systems, or EIFS. This type of cladding is particularly beneficial in areas that experience frequent hurricanes or other severe storms.

Because of the relatively large size of most commercial structures, builders often use cladding panels rather than masonry or lap siding. Panels allow the builder to cover the structure more quickly, and give it a less busy appearance, with fewer joints for water or air to seep through. Cladding panels can be constructed from cement, steel, or other forms of metal depending on the application.

Discussion Comments


A few years back, I bought some property with a house that needed more or less everything updated or replaced. On the recommendation of a friend, I purchased some aluminum sheet cladding to use for the exterior wall cladding.

It was not the cheapest option, but I thought it was worth the cost for the quality. I especially like that the aluminum cladding comes in different colors. I didn’t have to paint the outside of the house. Also, using a hose on the exterior keeps the cladding looking pretty good.

Aluminum also provides better protection than some alternative materials, and looks new for a longer period of time. With all the work that was needed to turn the house in to a livable home, I did not want to have to replace the siding anytime soon.


When we remodeled our home, we decided to change the look with new cladding. Removing the existing stucco was a pretty big project, but it was well worth it in the end. After checking out different types of cladding available, we decided to go with brick cladding.

We hired a mason to put on the brick cladding. It was beyond our do-it-yourself project abilities. We had the option to use a false brick cladding.

It was less expensive, but we went with actual brick in the end. There are some very nice false brick styles, but we really liked the real brick best.

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    • Stucco cladding can be applied directly over an exterior surface.
      By: Galina Barskaya
      Stucco cladding can be applied directly over an exterior surface.
    • Exterior cladding is also known as siding.
      By: Dennis Oblander
      Exterior cladding is also known as siding.