Modular homes are slowly becoming the most attractive option for many new home buyers, and that’s for all the right reasons. They are more affordable, take less time to build, offer more design options, and can be specifically tailored to fit your lifestyle and needs. With that said, a lot of variables go into choosing the ideal modular home, but there’s one constant that’s greatly underrated and most people don’t put a lot of thought into – the cladding.
In case you’re unfamiliar with it, the cladding is the outer layer of your modular home’s exterior that’s specifically designed to protect it from the elements. Furthermore, it’s also one of the most significant and visually dramatic design features of a modular home. Hence, considering all the different exterior cladding options and the fact that picking the right one will directly impact the cost and value of your home, you need to do your due diligence.
There are a few popular exterior cladding options to pick from, each of which can influence thermal insulation, reduce maintenance and improve the fire protection of your home. This is why you should approach the siding similarly to how you approach your interior – by balancing everything from colour to texture and tone. Think about the orientation of your modular home and the environment surrounding it – consider whether it’s located on a beach, in the city or nature, and pick a material appropriate to the setting.
The exterior cladding options come in varying levels of sustainability and cost, still the go-to exterior cladding option for most Australians is metal cladding. Why you may ask? Well, for several practical and aesthetics-related reasons.
First and foremost, metal requires very little maintenance. Although the purpose of exterior cladding is to enhance the look of your modular home and protect it against the elements, not many people like having to constantly upkeep their home. Since metal siding fares well against heat, snow, frost and other external elements, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your home will remain intact in the event of severe weather conditions.
Additionally, unlike other cladding materials, such as brick or wood, metal doesn’t absorb or retain moisture. This means that you won’t have to worry about your home accumulating mould, fungus, mildew, etc., which can be destructive not only to building’s exterior, but they can be harmful to your health as well. In other words, the cladding will last longer, and as a result, your home’s durability and longevity will also be significantly improved.
Contrary to what most people think, metal sliding doesn’t add too much weight to modular home’s load (cladding material is one of the more important factors builders take into account because the weight can lead to structural damage). Besides being lightweight, compared to other cladding materials like bricks and wood, it’s also easy to install. And it is added in a controlled environment during the manufacturing process.
And although the main reason why people opt for metal cladding is practicality and functionality, there’s also the aesthetic element it adds to modular houses. Metal cladding can dramatically, yet effortlessly change the overall look of your entire home, make it more appealing and thus, add value to it. It comes in a wide range of styles and finishes, and you can achieve almost any style with it, including a plethora of colouring options, rustic metal and sleek stainless steel looks.
However, worth noting is that not all metal cladding is the same. There are a few different sliding alternatives that most modular construction companies use. Some of the most popular ones used in Australia include Corten steel, zinc and aluminium alloy, and Colorbond steel. The reason why these steels and alloys are the most popular ones is their ability to withstanding the continued exposure to harsh, unpredictable Australian weather, require little maintenance and are incredibly durable. Although all three types have these advantages in common, some things also set them apart.
For instance, Corten steel is weathering steel – a type of steel that corrodes and rusts, except that the corrosion occurring is quite useful instead of harmful. The naturally occurring rust in Corten steelworks is in favour of the cladding, and it lengthens the lifespan of its structure, saving money that would otherwise be spent on maintenance and repairs in the process. Unlike conventional steel, which is prone to rust and corrosion, Corten steel is coated with copper chromium alloy that slows the weathering and makes its structure significantly stronger.
Aluminium and zinc alloy cladding is very durable and requires little maintenance. It’s ideal for modular homes located in salty coastal areas, thanks to its great corrosion-resistance properties. Moreover, zinc alloy cladding is virtually waterproof and completely recyclable, which makes it one of the most sought-after cladding choices by environmentally-conscious homeowners. This cladding is lightweight, it self-heals from scratches, and it forms a protective patina to protect against UV light and oxidization. However, it doesn’t provide the best heat and sound insulation, which is a deal-breaker for many homeowners.
And Colorbond steel is arguably the most popular siding option as most new Australian homes are built with it. It is basically steel that’s coated with zinc and aluminum alloy to bolster its corrosion-resistant properties. Colorbond comes in a wide range of different colours, and it’s specifically made to withstand the harsh Australian climate. It offers great thermal protection against heat, which significantly reduces your energy expenditure throughout the summer and it’s practically scratch and chip resistant.
Ultimately, your choice will come down to personal preferences, budget, and what your local council (if you have one) approves. When considering your budget, keep in mind that different modular home manufacturers offer different prices. Some of the other factors that may help you narrow down your options include maintenance, strength, insulation properties, and of course, looks. Each of the aforementioned metal cladding options excels in quality (in terms of performance and durability), but some of their distinct features may sway you one way or the other.