When starting any business, the key to a successful start is to have a good understanding of what to expect and what your first steps might look like. Fitting new cladding or repairing existing cladding is a difficult and often strenuous job, and knowing what to expect can give you a headstart and a better footing in the industry from the very start. Here, we’re exploring what cladding is, what the job entails, the types of cladding you might face, and what you need to consider when it comes to installation.
What Is Cladding?
The act of installing cladding is, quite simply, applying one material over another on the exterior of a building. This essentially provides a skin, adding an additional layer with prefabricated panels that are attached to the wall. This can be done for three main reasons – to act as a long-lasting wall covering, to provide a layer of insulation for the property or, quite simply, for aesthetic purposes. Parts of the building can be cladded to create unique decorative features that double up as protection and insulation.
The Types Of Cladding
There are a number of different types of cladding and materials to choose from, each of which offers its own unique benefits and uses. These can include:
- Composite – Composite panels are particularly common for commercial buildings, designed to be installed quickly and cheaply. They are air and watertight and typically fire resistant and can be ideal for acoustics and long-lasting quality.
- PVC – PVC cladding is a hard-wearing, long-lasting and low-maintenance cladding material, perfect for any building. They come in a variety of colours and designs, including woodgrain outer films, embossed textures and more.
- Rain Screen – Rain screen cladding is a unique kind, usually attached to a support structure which is then attached to the building. As the name suggests, the panels are resistant to rain and other weather types and can reduce condensation by creating ventilation within a cavity.
- Cement – Cement is one of the most highly durable cladding options, very rarely damaged by weather or by pollutants. It is resistant to mould and mildew and is generally lightweight and easy to cut to unique shapes.
- Heat-Treated Timber – Heat-treated timber cladding is the ideal option for those wanting timber cladding, as the heat treatment reduces the moisture content and makes it far more stable and long-lasting.
- Brick Slip – Brick slips are thin slices of brick that will replicate the appearance of a brick wall, but are far lighter. They can be fixed to any existing substrate, making for an easy way to change the appearance of the building.
When it comes to starting your own cladding business, you need to have an understanding of not only how installation works, but of the disposal of old cladding, how to remain safe and the aftercare following installation. You should consider the following:
- Disposal – When installing new cladding, there may be times where you need to remove and properly dispose of previous existing cladding first. In these cases, you need to take precautions to ensure safe removal and disposal. While newer cladding involves safe and stable materials, older cladding could contain or have developed harmful materials, including asbestos, moulds, and similar. If the cladding you’re removing is newer, you could recycle the materials accordingly.
- Safety – Health and safety should be at the forefront of any construction job, and cladding contractors are no exception. You should always conduct risk assessments for the health and safety of you, any employees you may have, as well as any potential risks to the public. This includes transporting the cladding to the site, as well as around it, and carrying the cladding while fixing it to the building. You’ll need to ensure that the proper protective gear is worn and that all regulations, including the Work at Height Regulations 2005, are adhered to.
To ensure that you are fully covered in the case of any accidents or injuries, you should invest in public liability insurance for cladding contractors. This will make sure you have financial support and reassurance in the case of an accident, injury or damage.
- Aftercare – Some cladding materials will need a level of aftercare over time. You could choose to offer this aftercare as one of your additional services, including the cleaning of any PVC or similar material cladding, oiling and waxing of wooden or timber claddings and any repairs from wear and tear over the years. Most cladding is designed to stand the test of time, maintenance may be minimal, but it’s important to understand this regardless.
For more information regarding starting up your own cladding business, or for help with employers liability, public liability and other relevant insurance products, get in touch with a member of Ashburnham Insurance on FREEPHONE 0800 1696137.