How to choose decorative panels for exterior wall decoration at home
The construction market offers a wide range of materials for decorating the exterior walls of the house. Decorative panels combine moderate cost, high-quality noise and heat insulation and a presentable appearance. Using available material, the exterior is designed in accordance with various stylistic concepts, but without the use of natural stone or brick, which are many times more expensive. Decorative panels finish both private houses and office buildings, high-rise buildings. With their help, the building will gain a solid, respectable appearance and special comfort. Any type of decorative panels for the exterior walls of the house imitates the surface texture of a particular material. There are a lot of color variations: from traditional natural shades to bright, catchy tones. Decorative panels are made of metal, clinker, fiber cement, porcelain stoneware. Let's talk about varieties of decor for decoration, features of each type and applications.
Advantages and disadvantages of paneling a facade
Decorative panels are used not only as decoration of exterior walls. They perfectly protect the house from cold or street noise. Depending on the type of material the panels are made of, their technical characteristics also vary. Most types have several advantages:
- Reliability and durability. Mechanical damage to the coating is not terrible.
- Quality soundproofing. The option is ideal for homes with "cardboard" walls.
- Thermal insulation. The panels, despite their decorativeness, qualitatively save heat particles, which becomes a salvation for buildings in which heating systems can not cope with the loads.
- Relatively light weight compared to natural stone or brick for decoration.
- The composition of the materials includes special coloring pigments that do not fade under sunlight. The panels also have a wide range of textures and colors, which are extremely rare among natural materials.
- Decorative material is completely unattractive to pests, fungus and mold.
- Long service life. Of course, decorative panels cannot be compared with natural materials, but manufacturers are constantly trying new technologies that can increase the duration of their operation.
- Relatively low price. Decorative panels are suitable for budget repairs, when you want to spend a little, but get a beautiful result.
- Easy to care. Wall panels for the facade, as a rule, do not require painting, puttying or primer. They are simply fixed to the surface and the material is ready for use.
Decorative panels are easy to install. Moreover, you can work with the material at any time of the year, except for severe winter frosts. Before mounting, the surface must be removed only from strongly protruding defects.
Types of panels by material and simulation
Decorative panels are made of various (mainly artificial) materials. Composites occupy a special niche in the market. These materials are based on mixtures of organic and inorganic components. As a result of applying various technologies and conducting experiments with formulations, manufacturers periodically present new products with improved characteristics. The search for the ideal material that perfectly protects the house from frost and heat, retains heat, weighs little and looks respectable, continues to this day. Consider the most popular types of wall panels for decorating house facades, their technical characteristics, advantages, disadvantages and scope.
Facade siding is a fairly common material that is very popular among owners of private houses. Initially, wooden boards were used, which they began to stack using a special "lap" technology. Previously, a different technique was used - “seam to seam”. When overlapping boards are located, there are no seams-gaps between them, which does not allow rainwater and precipitation to fall under the panels, thereby protecting both them and the walls of the house. Wood did not serve for long, since two centuries ago there were no special compounds for its processing. The wood was replaced by polyvinyl chloride, better known as plastic. PVC siding has established itself as a long-lived material. On average, its operating life reaches 50 years. PVC panels do not need to be systematically treated with antifungal formulations. If the surface is dirty, it can easily be washed with ordinary water from a hose. However, plastic panels also have disadvantages:
- They can melt in the sun on extremely hot days. This is not about ordinary summer temperatures, but about those rare cases when even asphalt pavement softens due to stuffiness.
- PVC is quite sensitive to mechanical damage. If you throw cobblestone into the facade of the house, a hole with broken edges will form on the panels.
After the PVC panels, metal siding appeared. The material is strong, durable, but can be susceptible to corrosion if manufacturers have not processed it properly. Plastic siding has the richest range of shades and the widest range of textures. Most often, its surface imitates expensive natural materials. Wooden panels look aesthetically pleasing and neat, despite the “poor” brown gamut of colors. Metal is usually painted in the same tone without patterns. Although the advantages of the latter type of siding are obvious, wood and plastic panels do not leave the market, as they have their own buyer. Mostly the facades of private houses and the outer walls of offices, which are located in high-rise buildings, are finished with material.
Most at the mention of the word "siding" immediately represent long "boards". This is really the most common type. But in fact, there is another kind of siding - basement. The panels have impressive dimensions (rectangular fragments) and are made only of metal or special polymer compositions. Neither polyvinyl chloride nor wood are used to make this decorative material. As the name implies, initially it was used only for finishing basement floors. The lower part of the building is exposed to more aggressive environmental influences, and therefore it must be protected more reliably. Due to the high strength, high-quality sound insulation and beautiful appearance, this type of siding began to finish the entire facade, and not just its base. However, the cost of one sheet is an order of magnitude higher than that of conventional panels.
Although the assortment of colors and textures for basement siding is quite diverse, imitation of brick and stone remains the most popular option. Neat panels cover the most unpretentious walls and give the house a neat and beautiful look.
Fiber cement panels
Fiber cement panels are made from a mixture of sand and cement with the addition of special microparticles (cellulose, fiberglass, mineral additives). The last component is responsible for regulating the humidity level in a range that is optimal at certain temperatures (adapt to environmental conditions). Also, micro-granules act as a reinforcing substance. Its content in the material does not exceed 10%. The surface of fiber cement panels is coated with a special protective composition. The material is heat- and frost-resistant (withstands more than 100 cycles), durable, fireproof, characterized by low cost and excellent soundproofing qualities. Fiber cement panels are available in the form of large slabs. The surface can be textured (with imitation of stone or brick) or smooth. The material is used for full and partial wall cladding of private houses and low office buildings. Additional staining is often required.
Fiber cement slabs were the first to use the Japanese. In the Land of the Rising Sun produce more than 1000 options for textures and colors of the material. Sometimes fiber cement panels are called Japanese, paying tribute to the discoverers.
Wood-polymer composite or facade WPC is produced in the form of wide boards, which, like siding, are overlapped. The material is made from wood chips and polymers (usually polyvinyl chloride), crushed to fibers. The percentage of component content can vary greatly depending on the conditions in which the panels will be used. Wood is mixed with a polymer component and pressed. The result is a durable, textured material that does not contribute to the development of mold and fungus due to the inorganic composition. WPC has low thermal conductivity, frost resistance. It is fireproof, does not absorb moisture, is easy to install, provides high-quality sound insulation and is not afraid of contact with chemicals. Use WPC panels for the exterior decoration of the walls of cottages, office and public buildings. Thanks to a wide range of colors and textures, the material is used to design exteriors in various styles: from modern high-tech to light provence.
Since the main component of WPC is wood, the material is classified as environmentally friendly, the coating does not emit any harmful substances during operation.
Ceramic granite is obtained by pressing and subsequent firing of a slip. It is a mixture of feldspars, water, quartz sand and white clay. Initially, porcelain stoneware was used exclusively for finishing floors that were subjected to increased loads. Gradually, the material began to be considered as an option for decorative cladding. After that, his appearance underwent dramatic changes. The range of colors was expanded, since coloring oxides began to be added to the slip. They are evenly distributed in the semi-molten mixture during firing. Coloring oxides give the finished porcelain stoneware various shades. However, to reduce the cost of decorative panels, pigments began to be added directly to the surface of the tiles, impregnating only the top layer.
The material is classified by thickness, size and scope. Porcelain tiles are produced in the form of tiles (from 5x5 cm and up to 120x360 cm). Large panels, if necessary, are subjected to waterjet cutting. The thicker the plate, the higher its value. For the decoration of thresholds and steps, a special type of porcelain stoneware with a rough anti-slip texture is used. The material is used for cladding the walls of cottages, private homes and government buildings over several floors. Porcelain stoneware frost-resistant (withstands more than 25 cycles), heavy-duty, does not support combustion. Pigments on the surface of the material do not fade over time, while maintaining a respectable appearance. The material does not allow heat to pass through well and is not afraid of moisture; it provides high sound insulation.
Clinker is made from shale polymer clay and additives by roasting at high temperatures. The material is available in three forms:
- Paving stones. Used to decorate tracks.
- Tile. It is used for interior and exterior wall decoration.
- Brick. It is used for facing buildings outside.
The material got its original name because of the specific sound (“blade”) that the bricks make when they collide. By technology, the clinker is fired until completely baked. In addition to fireclay clay, it includes feldspar and minerals. The clinker is fireproof, frostproof and very durable. The material has a rich assortment of colors (from red to light gray) and a rough surface texture, which is typical for simple brick. Clinker is used for cladding the walls of private houses, office buildings and cottages of low floors. By weight, the material is classified as heavy. Clinker is located in the middle of the price range of decorative panels.
Metal plates are made of galvanized steel or aluminum, the layer of which is coated with polyvinyl chloride. The back of the panels is treated with anti-corrosion compounds. Metal plates are produced in the form of “boards” (siding) or “bricks”. On the front side, a polymer layer protects the surface from moisture. Metal plates are painted in calm colors and bright colors. The texture of the material imitates the surface of stone, brick or wood. The latter option is particularly popular, as a natural tree for decorating the facade from the outside is impractical. Metal plates easily allow heat to pass through, so building should not be insulated with this material. Paneled private homes and high-rise buildings. When facing, it is recommended to use an additional layer of thermal insulation.
Sandwich panels are available in the form of rectangular plates. The material is multilayer. On the "cut" you can see the layers of insulation, vapor barrier, metal and plastic. Sandwich panels have a long service life, reliably retain heat inside the house and prevent moisture from entering. This option is ideal for those buildings whose walls are too thin and not designed for the harsh domestic climate. Sandwich panels are available in various colors: from acid shades to calm colors. With a strong decrease in temperature (less than 20 degrees), the seams between the panels freeze. Unfortunately, the material is quite fragile: it is easy to damage both during installation and during use. Sandwich panels are mainly used for cladding private houses.
Neat facade panels in light shades, imitating smooth plaster with dark joints between them, are ideal for the German style of fachwerk. The design will help to create a cute “toy” exterior of the house, which seems to be located on the alpine slopes.
Translucent panels consist of two sheets of tempered glass, between which an aluminum frame is installed. Glass blocks transmit light, which allows them to be used as a successful symbiosis of windows and walls. The material is quite expensive. Manufacturers offer a wide selection of designs of translucent panels, which are used not only for decorating private houses, but also for cladding skyscrapers and ordinary high-rises. In the last two cases, the material makes it easier to integrate modern buildings into the city’s architecture and make them lighter and more “airy”. Translucent panels can be painted in various shades, which allow you to combine exterior details with the color scheme of the landscape of the site. In budget options, for the walls of arbors, greenhouses, conservatories or greenhouses, multilayer sheets of polycarbonate and glass are used (they also belong to this category).
For facing the house, such material is unsuitable. They produce cassette, sectional, frame-and-beam, modular and mixed translucent panels. Designs are classified into types, based on the characteristics of the mounting methods. The panels do not allow moisture to pass, have an average thermal conductivity. For home decoration, a layer of special insulation is used, which is built into the structure.Translucent panels are durable, withstand mechanical stress, have a relatively low weight.
The aluminum composite panels are a multilayer structure in which a layer of minerals or plastic is enclosed between the aluminum sheets. Several layers of color coating are applied to the front side of the material, and a protective film and varnish are fixed on top. Some panel models have a light glossy shine. Aluminocomposite “boards” with a high degree of rigidity are lightweight. The material is produced in the form of beams, the length of which can vary. Use an aluminum composite to decorate the facades of private houses, government buildings and the reconstruction of old buildings. In the latter case, light weight reduces the load on dilapidated walls. Panels do not belong to heat-insulating materials, but at the same time they are non-combustible. The aluminum composite is characterized by excellent sound absorption.
For various types of decorative panels, different installation technologies are used. Although the algorithm of actions for all remains the same:
- First of all, they take measurements. If necessary, the panels are cut and adjusted to the parameters of the surface to be decorated.
- Then the wall is prepared. Cleaned from old finishes. Align if there are serious defects.
- Next, install the frame. For example, a similar design is required when installing siding.
- If the finishing material does not provide high thermal insulation, then before installing the panels the facade is insulated. The material is placed inside the frame.
- After that proceed directly to fixing the panels.
You can attach the material to the wall using self-tapping screws or dowels (for concrete walls), on building glue, which is applied with a notched trowel. For example, metal siding will require screws. Their hats are reliably masked in hidden seams. The easiest to install are lightweight panels made of polystyrene foam (polystyrene), which are simply planted on building glue. However, the material will not last long. Frame structures are made independently of metal (less often than wood) or purchased in a ready-made form.
With home improvement, a competent facade decoration is able to extend the life of the building and make staying in it as comfortable as possible. Facing material should combine a beautiful appearance that harmonizes with the design of the landscape, and high technical characteristics. Panels can imitate the surface of wood, stone, brick, plaster. For example, this is a great option for those who want to decorate the walls of the house with rare material with an unusual texture, but cannot afford such a luxury. If we turn to products manufactured by bona fide manufacturers, then the coating will last for more than one year.