What is Aluminum Cladding?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

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.

Aluminum cladding is generally more expensive that vinyl cladding.
Aluminum cladding is generally more expensive that vinyl cladding.

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.

Aluminum cladding usually doesn't need to be repainted.
Aluminum cladding usually doesn't need to be repainted.

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.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments

@Heavanet: I think you will be very pleased if you choose home improvement items with aluminum cladding. I purchased a home over a decade ago with aluminum cladding in many areas, such as siding, window fixtures, and doors. Not only do aluminum clad items make the home look very attractive, but they also last even after years in the elements.

Does anyone have experience with home products that have aluminum cladding? I am planning to do some home improvement projects this year that include new exterior doors and siding. I don’t want to go over my planned budget, but if aluminum cladding is durable, I think it would be worth the extra cost.

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