Aluminum cladding is cladding that is created using a thin coating of aluminum on the exterior of the product. Cladding in general is the application of one type of substance or material over a different material, effectively creating a protective layer on the underlying material. The use of aluminum, sometimes spelled "aluminium," in creating high-quality cladding is common, especially with architecture products like windows and doors.
In some instances, aluminum cladding is manufactured using a process known as extrusion. This is usually the case when the aluminum is serving as a skin over another metal. Essentially, the process calls for compressing the two metals together using some type of high-pressure equipment, or using some sort of die to create the adhesion. In both processes, extreme and constant temperatures of heat are necessary to create the necessary bond.
A number of building materials are clad with aluminum. For example, wood window cases are sometimes outfitted with aluminum cladding as a means of adding strength to the casings and the window sashes. The exterior skin helps to protect the wood from weather damage, extending the life of the casings for a number of years. As an added benefit, the presence of the cladding makes it much easier to clean the casing using basic cleaning products.
The same general concept is often used with the creation of exterior doors that are coated with aluminum cladding. Thanks to the protective skin, the door can stand up to extreme weather conditions without warping or deteriorating for a number years. With modern manufacturing methods, the thin skin can easily be tinted to any color desired, and can even be impressed with wood grain designs, allowing the door to have the appearance of natural wood.
Aluminum cladding can also be used as siding on the exterior of a home. The aluminum panels are available in a wide range of colors, and hold up well in just about any climate. As a result, the home that is outfitted with this type of exterior cladding does not have to be painted; simply hosing off the cladding from time to time will keep the exterior looking fresh and clean.
In terms of cost, products made with aluminum cladding are more expensive than those created using vinyl and other forms of cladding. The benefit is that the aluminum provides greater protection, and allows the product to look new for a longer period of time. This means that the life of the products is extended significantly, allowing the consumer to use the product for longer periods of time before replacement becomes necessary.