Cladding can make a huge difference in the appearance of your commercial premises, whether you own anything from an office building to a retail park. Materials used are incredibly versatile, which means that recreating your brand image or even simply replacing small panel sections becomes a simple task.
However, similarly to any other aspect of a building, cladding panels go through their fair share of wear and tear and over time, start to experience visible damage. Although cladding damage is inevitable, there are many different preventative measures you can take to ensure that they stay in immaculate condition for as long as possible.
Different Types Of Cladding Damage
Cladding panels are placed on top of a building as a form of a protective layer to avoid deterioration of the material it has been made from. Every material including aluminium, ceramic and even timber can benefit from an additional layer of cladding. Not only does cladding bring aesthetic advantages, but can also help to insulate the building and reduce noise.
Many different factors contribute towards cladding damage and why you may need to consider repairs or replacement. Here we run through the top types of damage your cladding may experience.
Corrosion continues to be one of the most common types of cladding damage and luckily is visible, which means that it can be spotted before it increases in severity and causes an irreparable problem.
During the manufacturing process, cladding panels are cut into a standard size and covered with a protective plastic coating, which stops the material from beginning to corrode when exposed to varying weather conditions. However, as every building is different, in many cases, panels need to be cut down to be able to fit the size and shape of the building. During the cutting process, the plastic protective coating is removed from the edges.
If left uncovered for a long period of time, the unprotected panels begin to corrode; this is called cut edge corrosion. Although it does take a considerable amount of time, if left untreated, the corrosion will spread across the panel, and unfortunately, a full panel replacement will be the only solution to solve the issue.
Although it is often left unconsidered, cracking cladding panels is a serious issue and can happen all year round. In the UK, we are constantly exposed to different weather conditions and a switch between temperatures. One day may be frosty and the next filled with sunny spells, which can start to have a significant impact on cladding panels.
During the Autumn and Winter, without adequate protection, the sudden drop in temperature can cause cracks to form in panels. Unlike when we are exposed to the cold, your cladding cannot be wrapped up in warm layers which means that the longer it is exposed, the bigger the cracks will become. Rainwater will start to settle in the cracks, which will then freeze as it gets colder. The constant switch between freezing and melting means that the water will expand, therefore, widening the cracks and worsening the condition of panels.
If cracks are left to freely spread through panels, they begin to allow more and more water into the deeper layers, eventually reaching the roofs, guttering and walls. Long-term exposure to cracking will weaken your building causing an unstable property.
Paintwork is key for maintaining the appearance of your building. Not only does it help to create a positive first impression, it can also count towards brand reputation. Unfortunately, with constant wear and tear, your paintwork can start to appear damaged and unappealing. Here are some of the main paintwork damage your cladding may experience:
Dry, sunny weather doesn’t necessarily mean that your building is free from potential damage. UV rays from the sun, over time, begin to impact paintwork and deteriorate. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet rays starts to split the molecule bonds in the paint, which makes the colour fade and the surface feel as if it is covered with a layer of chalk.
Many different factors contribute to why exterior paint begins to bubble and create a blistering effect. If you fail to clean the surface of any dirt and debris before the application process, the paint will find it tricky to stick and eventually begin to lift. Blistering can also be caused by too much moisture on the surface. All surfaces must be completely dry with no dampness before adding paint.
To stop paintwork from starting to flake and peel, it is critical to ensure that all surfaces have been primed with good quality adhesion before the application process. Similarly to blistering, excess moisture also plays a huge part in why paint begins to peel. It occurs when moisture is allowed to get between the paint film and surface.
You would be surprised how much damage animals such as birds, rats and wasps can have on building’s cladding panels. Birds, in particular, can quickly begin to ruin panels through their droppings. Not only do bird droppings look horrendous, but, when left, also start to corrode the cladding. Bird droppings are filled with uric acid which eats away at both the protective layer and paintwork. Over time, the acid will reach the inside of the cladding panels, corroding its way through the surface, eventually causing holes and cracks.
Rats are known for being the prime culprits for burrowing their way into cracks or holes that are left unsolved on your building. Especially in the colder months when they are looking for a location to keep warm, so will find even the smallest of holes and cracks in the cladding, then nibble their way through. In some cases, rats burrow too deep into the cladding and find themselves in the structure of the building, eventually, causing the walls to crumble. f you notice rats on your premises, it is important to ensure that they are removed before they have a chance to cause an infestation. We suggest contacting a nationwide pest control such as NBC Environment.
As wasps and bees are super small, they can get into even the smallest of gaps in the cladding and build their nests. They will particularly settle in the openings of cladding, which means that if you haven’t had a protective layer added, will speed up the process of cut edge corrosion. If bees build their nests and start to produce honey, this also runs the risk of attracting an ant infestation. For useful information on how to get rid of wasps or bees next, take a look at Safe Bees.
Buildings that have had metal cladding in the past are more liable for experiencing rusting, which similarly to cut edge corrosion, will begin to spread across panels. Due to the reddish, brown appearance of rust, it does look incredibly unattractive on a building and if left, will start to flake.
Rust is formed through a process called oxidation. Oxidation relates to the reaction that occurs between iron and a combination of oxygen and water. If iron is left for long enough unprotected, rust becomes unavoidable. In some cases, it takes up to a year and others as less as just one week. Once formed, it becomes increasingly harder to remove signs of rust unless you opt for full cladding spraying.
Not only is rust unappealing to the eye, but can also cause panels to begin to deteriorate. Panels can quickly become weak, which means it becomes harder for them to hold their weight on a building and you risk them falling.
Scratches & Dents
In many cases, when it comes to industrial buildings such as warehouses or car garages, the odd scratch and dent do become inevitable. There are a number of accidents which can lead to cladding panels becoming damaged, from delivery drivers accidentally hitting the building, to paintwork being scuffed by employees carrying large boxes.
Although you cannot avoid the small amount of wear and tear that comes alongside daily use, after years of being hit, scratched and dented, you may want to consider getting the most damaged panels repaired. Repairs can be quick and easy and luckily, does not mean that you need to have the entire building’s cladding replaced. Single panels can be sanded down, filled, reshaped and then using cladding spraying, recoloured to match the rest of the building.
Keep An Eye Out For Cladding Damage!
Many different types of cladding damage can easily be fixed through regular maintenance and cleaning. By always keeping in mind the most common types of cladding panel damage, you will know the signs to look out for and have the chance to resolve the issue before it causes an irreparable problem.
Badly maintained cladding panels filled with scratches, dents, rust or even bird droppings can quickly begin to damage your business’s reputation. Many visitors have often made their mind up on their first impression of your company before they even step inside, merely due to the exterior of your property. To ensure that new customers, clients or even potential employees immediately put their trust into you and are willing to invest money, it is vital to keep your commercial building in immaculate condition.
If you’re looking for any cladding repairs or spraying, feel free to contact Just Spray. Our experienced team are happy to help you help you to resolve any issues with cladding panels; all come alongside a free quotation!