Posted October 21st, 2013 by Lenora Hamilton
Architectural metal panels are a beautiful addition to nearly any structure. Keep reading to find out why architectural metal panels are so popular and what makes them a great siding choice for so many different applications.
The Facts about Architectural Metal Panels
Exterior siding is primarily intended to protect a building from moisture damage. Because it is also necessary for the siding panels on large structures to flex and move as the building moves in response to wind, siding used on these types of buildings must be loosely attached to the exterior wall. The two goals, protection and movement, may seem at odds with each other, but achieving both protection and the necessary degree of flexibility is possible using specially designed architectural cladding. Metal is a popular material for architectural cladding panels because it is by nature more flexible than wood, vinyl and other building materials and generally stands up to tough climates better than less durable materials. In addition to being more flexible than other siding materials, metal tends to expand when heated by the sun. All of these factors must be considered when using architectural metal panels on the exterior surface of a structure.
Wet-Joint versus Dry-Joint
Architectural metal siding can be configured in one of several ways. Some configurations are designed to be open at both the top and bottom to facilitate pressure equalization and thermal expansion. Other types of panels are open only at the bottom. These siding systems, known as wet-joint siding applications, do allow small amounts of moisture to seep behind the panels, so waterproofing and insulation are critical when using these systems. On the other hand, dry-joint installation employs panels that are constructed in such a way that water does not penetrate behind the siding but that still allows the panels to flex as necessary. With dry-joint siding, the connections are recessed above and below the panels and the panel is completely closed on the top, bottom and sides. Dry-joint siding systems are more difficult to install but eliminate the need for extensive waterproofing of the interior wall and sealing between joints. Dry-joint siding also prevents discoloration of the panels that sometimes occurs as water passes behind the siding panels and travels down the panels below.
The Appearance of Metal Panels
Architectural metal siding ranges from utilitarian to artistic in appearance. Architectural metal looks great in combination with glass windows and can be installed in dozens of ways. The panels may be left unpainted, or may be stained or painted to protect and enhance the surface. Panels may be lined up in vertical or horizontal ridges, placed close together, separated with spacers or raised at varying intervals from the interior wall. The panels may be used to give a building a smooth polished appearance, or geometric patterns using color and irregularly shaped panels may be created.
Although architectural metal cladding was originally developed for use on high-rise structures, the beauty and protection offered by architectural metal paneling also enhances more modest structures. Designers of office buildings and manufacturing facilities frequently specify architectural metal cladding to protect and add flair to their structures. For your next commercial structure, check out all the possibilities of architectural metal by contacting Wade Architectural Systems for more information today.