Jul 14, 2023

Metal Cladding: 5 Best Exterior Metal Panels Available in Australia

Metal cladding is an umbrella term for a family of metal cladding materials including but not limited to aluminum, steel, copper, zinc and iron. Cladding in general refers to the installation of one material over another with the intention of protection. Cladding provides an exterior skin that absorbs damage from weather, water, force and time which would otherwise have damaged the underneath material. Cladding is usually installed on the exterior of houses to fortify them against the weather.

However, cladding serves an aesthetic purpose as well. Installing cladding is often a choice made by homeowners who want to efficiently update the appearance of their home without having to invest in extensive renovations.

Most cladding types can be installed internally or externally, but metal cladding specifically is more common as an exterior cladding material. This is because of its durability, which makes metal the ideal choice to fortify homes against weather damage, and because of its weight. Metal cladding panels are generally heavier than other types such as tile, vinyl or timber, which contributes to why it is not often used internally.

Exterior metal cladding is very popular in Australia and widely distributed throughout the country. Consumers will have their pick of quality materials and suppliers for their external cladding. This is widely due to the fact that metal is an intelligent choice for robust, practical cladding against strong weather and wear. Metal house cladding is also waterproof and sustainable. Some cladding metals like aluminum are 100% recyclable, ensuring consumers that they are contributing to a future of ethical and environmental construction.

Four types of metal are more popular than others as a choice of cladding material. Their profiles are:

1. Iron

Corrugated iron is a very popular building material in Australia primarily used for roofing. However, it has merits as an external wall cladding material as well. Corrugated iron is available in metal sheets with a wide coverage that makes installing corrugated iron cladding panels a simple task. As a versatile material, corrugated iron can be used to create a cohesive external façade by linking the appearance of the roof to the wall exterior.

2. Zinc

Zinc is one of the softest metals used for cladding. It is very malleable and is favoured by manufacturers for its flexibility in construction. Zinc is also resistant to rust/oxidization, meaning that it can last in good condition for as long as 80 years. Zinc has a low carbon footprint and is recyclable, making it also a sustainable choice. Despite its malleability, zinc is also quite durable and requires very little maintenance. However, it is not as strong as the other metal options which makes it less favourable in tough conditions such as homes which are at high risk of regular weather events.

3. Aluminum

Aluminium is one of the most popular styles of metal cladding. It is extremely durable yet lightweight, making it an ideal choice for construction and an excellent choice for cladding specifically. For detailed information into the manufacturing process and design applications of aluminium, see here.

4. Steel

Steel cladding is probably the most widely used type of residential metal cladding systems in Australia. Australia is home to a range of high-quality steel cladding manufacturers such as Colorbond and timba.

Colorbond steel cladding is renowned for its durability, versatility, and aesthetic appearance. Steel cladding comes in a vast range of styles, finishes and colours. This gives the homeowner a huge amount of flexibility when it comes to designing the exterior of a house. For more information on the many diverse types and styles of steel cladding, see here for an overview of Colorbond's product range.

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5. Aluminium black

Aluminium has a natural resistance to termite damage, rust, water and fire. It will never rot and is likely to last well into the decades despite experiencing heavy wear. Aluminium is also extremely low maintenance and will not require re-sanding or repainting over the years.

4. Interlocking zinc

Zinc cladding is extremely stylish and has seen a meteoric rise in popularity over the past decades. Zinc cladding can be fashioned into multiple styles and colours, which makes it a versitile cladding option. One particularly stylish cladding choice is dark, interlocking Zinc, which provides a slightly fuller finish to aluminium to create a hearty and contemporary look.

3. Colorbond black

Black also looks exceptionally good on steel. A standing seam dark roof paired with Colorbond black steel cladding is a testament to modern design and the future of industrial aesthetic. Though it is more common in professional buildings such as offices, there has recently been a rise in residential black painted steel production, which provides a brutalist chic sure to bring any building into the 21st century.

2. Aluminium timber look

One of the best applications of aluminium is its ability to mimic other materials. Aluminium can be manufactured and painted to resemble natural timber. This is an excellent way to take advantage of the many practical benefits that aluminium holds over timber – such as durability, flexibility, and ease of installation – yet still employ the aesthetic appeal of an authentic wooden look.

High-quality aluminium cladding panels will be almost indistinguishable from authentic timber, especially from a distance. Timber-look aluminium is most often employed as an accenting feature, such as a garage door or an accent wall of the exterior façade.

1. Colorbond white

Of all the Colorbond shades and colours, white is certainly one of the top contenders. A calm white colouring softens the harshness of the steel, producing a rustic romanticism that works best with coastal as well as traditional design styles. The average price for a Colorbond cladding sheet varies from $53-$97 AUD per square metre depending on the type of cladding chosen. For example, Colorbond's corrugated iron is usually much cheaper than the patented powder coded steel that they are most known for. Browse the Colorbond steel cladding catalogue here.