Back to basics: Claddings are the insulation’s protective armor

When suitable insulation for the site has been selected and installed, it is time to pay attention to the claddings. In this article, you can recall the benefits of claddings and what kind of alternatives there are.

Why do we need claddings in insulation?

Insulation without claddings is roughly the same as if a jogger went out in the rain wearing only thermal underwear. Even in a high-quality layer, you won’t stay warm for long if you don’t have a waterproof outer layer.

Or imagine a knight without armor. Even if he is a brave hero, without protection it would be pretty daring to go to the battlefield. When wearing metal armor, everything is okay even if a dragon comes along and gives you a little flaming.

The important function of claddings is to protect the insulation. Protection is needed from many external threats:

  • mechanical damage, bumps, and wear
  • the effects of the weather, such as wetting, ultraviolet radiation, and wind erosion
  • corrosion.

Claddings also bring other benefits. They…

  • contribute to keeping the insulation clean
  • prevent the insulation from dusting into the environment
  • give the insulation a neat appearance and enable them to be integrated into the architectural whole of the object.

In short, the claddings help keep the insulation working longer.

Different claddings for different conditions

So what kind of claddings should you choose? There are claddings for every use, from aluminum sheets to acid-resistant steel.

The properties required from insulation and cladding materials usually depend greatly on the site and its conditions. For example, the following matters must be clarified:

  • What temperature is the insulation at?
  • Is there an increased risk of fire at the site?
  • Are there different vapors and gases in this space?

Sheet metal claddings are the most common claddings used in industrial insulation. This type of cladding is made from smooth or profiled sheets: smooth one is suitable for covering pipes, equipment, and casings, and profiled one is for the surfaces of large tanks and walls.

In a galvanized steel sheet, the zinc surface protects the underlying steel by corroding itself and thus preventing damage to the steel. Various thicknesses from 0.4 millimeters to 1 millimeter are used for galvanized steel sheets for claddings. However, when using this type of cladding, it must be remembered that zinc salts are toxic and the galvanized plate must not come into contact with food. Galvanized steel sheets are also available with paint coating, which means there is no need for on-site corrosion protection.

The aluminum sheets used as claddings are different mixtures of aluminum and other materials. By alloying aluminum with, for example, copper, zinc, or manganese, the mechanical and physical properties of the aluminum sheet can be adjusted to the desired level. The advantages of aluminum sheets are lightness and good resistance to acidic climates and seawater. However, it is not suitable for cladding fire insulation due to its relatively low melting temperature, and it is weaker than steel in strength.

Stainless and acid-resistant steel is used as cladding in places where other cladding materials do not achieve sufficient durability. Stainless steels are very tough, so machining them requires particularly sharp tools. The corrosion resistance of the materials is good and they withstand oxidizing acids, but only to a limited extent non-oxidizing acids, such as sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid. Due to their durability, they are also suitable for the food industry.

In addition, there are pre-cladded insulation products and elements that only need fixing and sealing.

Sheet metal claddings are our specialty

To make cladding the insulation as easy as possible, we manufacture ready-to-install sheet metal cladding and base reinforcement systems at our factory. All parts of the sheet metal cladding system are available, including various shaped pieces, so the installation phase on the site is quick.

We make sheet metal claddings both in standard dimensions and according to customers’ individual needs, so the parts are always suitable.

Other advantages of sheet metal claddings are e.g.

  • incombustibility
  • resistance
  • effective protection for the insulation below soundproofing
  • recyclability
  • very little need for maintenance.

You can learn more about these great products here.

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