Integrated Cladding Support Systems for Better Thermal Performance

Cladding has become increasingly common in building design and is used for various reasons such as preventing wind and rain from entering a building structure, improving energy efficiency, and increasing insulation from sound. It is also used for aesthetic purposes and fire resistance. Cladding can be made from many different materials including a variety of metals, composite materials, vinyl, or wood, stone, concrete. Regardless of the material, cladding provides an extra layer to the outside of a building, and it usually is attached either to the structural frame or to an intermediate layer of battens or spacers.

One of the main challenges with modern cladding is that installation typically includes thousands of small attachment points in the building envelope’s exterior and into the sub-framing; each point requires a thermal break in order to ensure thermal performance of the building. Installation can be costly and time consuming, as well as imprecise. Consequently, there is a demand for high performing cladding support systems that go above and beyond by offering thermally broken support systems that are easy to install and that have high load carrying capacities capable of handling gravitational and wind loads.

This course will introduce the reader to the foundational aspects of cladding and cladding support systems, discuss the challenges of thermal performance, and examine the benefits of new support system technologies that improve thermal performance while reducing installation time and cost.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the basic purpose and challenges of thermal performance in modern cladding systems.
  2. Explain the challenges associated with cladding support systems and installation.
  3. Discuss the importance of mitigating thermal bridging when specifying cladding systems.
  4. List the ways certain railing systems can accommodate different cladding materials.

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OAA 1 Learning Hour