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Should you choose bricks or brick cladding?

Bricks are the material of choice for almost all external walls in most buildings across the country. Brick cladding is giving traditional bricks a run for their money, though, with increasing popularity and wide availability. Building designers of the future will now need to consider the important choice between traditional brick or using brick cladding panels instead.

Traditional brick buildings are what we usually see, where bricks are placed in a flat row to form a pattern that is put together using a mortar. Dimple finished with a shovel to leave a neat and attractive appearance. Although the brick cladding is fairly new in the UK, there are several systems available that consist of lightweight panels made in a factory with brick slips embedded in the back. Some systems consist of brick slips mounted on insulation to improve the thermal performance of exterior walls. The panels are then affixed to the substrate at that location with a connection pointing to the mortar to complete the display.

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In comparing costs, it will first appear that traditional bricks and installation costs are lower than with brick covers. However, by eliminating the need for masonry support in multi-storey properties, cladding offers a reduction in frame costs and foundation costs. Brick cladding also has benefits when looking at initial expenses. It takes nowhere near the length of time to install cladding as it does with bricks, thanks to its simple design, meaning that the project is completed faster. It also reduces initial costs such as pole climbers, scaffolding, waste disposal, cranes and shipping requirements. For more information on Brick Cladding, visit www.telling.co.uk/architecture/brick-cladding/

The brick cladding panels are made in a factory setting, so you can expect the cladding to have a higher quality workmanship than what you get with traditional brick making. Design and on-site installation also play a major role in presenting high-end products. There are various finishes and components for corners, window openings and doors to satisfy even the most difficult of architectural designs.

So, the choice between traditional bricks and cladding might be a difficult choice but cladding can offer many benefits, even though you might be wary. Which choice will be used in a project will depend on elements such as cost, schedule and design complexity.

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Where cladding offers benefits that cannot be done by conventional bricks, is with additional protection that cladding of brick panels provides on existing structural material. You can improve the thermal performance of exterior walls, protect buildings from moisture such as those caused by rain and snow, and prevent cracking damage from extreme temperatures.

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