Corrugated cladding is a type of metal exterior wall covering. Several types of metal are used in cladding, but steel, aluminum and copper make up the majority of them. This type of wall cladding is used for a number of reasons, but mostly for its durability, cost and aesthetics. The most basic style of corrugation is a wave pattern, similar to that found inside a cardboard shipping box. Other forms of corrugated cladding have other bend patterns, but the patterns are always symmetrical.
Wall coverings are made of corrugated rather than sheet metal for a number of reasons. Corrugated metal has higher structural strength perpendicular to the corrugation. In addition, the material has greater flex parallel to the corrugation. This will give the building a greater structural stability when pressed from one direction and additional flex from the other, which can protect a building from some environmental threats. In addition, the corrugated sheets stack better and are easier to transport and use than flat sheets.
There are a huge number of different types of corrugation, but they all have one thing in common. Corrugated cladding is always a repeated pattern. The metal may have a nonstandard design, but the format will always repeat eventually. This allows the sheets to stack easier and lowers their cost, but it also allows the sheets to have a specific structural and flex rating.
While a number of different metals may be used for corrugated cladding, most of the time, it is steel, aluminum or copper. Steel cladding is inexpensive and easy to use. Most of the time, it is galvanized steel, meaning it is specially processed to resist corrosion that is covered in zinc. The zinc layer protects the steel from water and prevents it from rusting.
The biggest drawback to steel cladding is its tendency to corrode. As time and the elements wear away at the sheet, the base metal is slowly exposed. Once the steel is out to the elements, it will quickly rust and fall apart.
Aluminum corrugated cladding has an appearance and cost very similar to steel and is nearly weatherproof. On the downside, aluminum is very soft in comparison and will dent easily. This material cannot be used in any location where the building may suffer impacts, such as a loading area or a place that has frequent hail storms.
The last common metal is copper. It sits in between steel and aluminum in terms of strength, but it has a very unique set of features. When exposed to the elements, copper will oxidize but not fall apart. In addition, copper has a striking appearance both when oxidized and when protected. As a result, copper is often used as a decoration as often as it is used as a true wall covering.