What is a metal cladding system - comprehensive guide

Metal Cladding Systems: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you tired of the same old boring walls in your home?

Well, it's time to jazz things up with a touch of metal! Metal wall cladding panels are all the rage in Australia, and for good reason. They bring a whole new level of style and sophistication to any space, whether it's a residential property or a commercial development.

The use of metal wall cladding is surging in popularity in Australia, and the reasons behind it are quite evident. Not only do these panels add an undeniable wow factor to any space, but they also offer a range of practical benefits.

From their durability and low maintenance requirements to their ability to protect structure and insulation against harsh weather conditions, metal cladding panels truly have it all. So why settle for ordinary walls when you can make a statement with stunning metal accents?

What is Metal Wall Cladding?

Metal wall cladding refers to the application of metal panels on the exterior or interior surfaces of buildings. It is a versatile architectural solution that provides both functional and decorative purposes, enhancing the overall appearance of a structure.

It is important to understand that metal cladding systems are a combination of a base metal (sheet metal used as base material to manufacture the panels) and system profile (the shape of the panel after it went through the manufacturing process), so both must be specified when making the selection for your project.

There is a distinction between interior and exterior applications. Interior cladding involves using metal panels to cover walls inside a building which usually do not require waterproofing features and therefore is considered mostly as an aesthetic solution, while exterior cladding focuses on protecting and beautifying the outer walls.

In Australia, various materials are commonly used for metal wall cladding like painted, coated or uncoated steel, aluminium, copper, and titanium zinc. The choice of material depends on various factors such as budget, design preferences, location, and desired performance characteristics. Architects and designers often consider the specific requirements of each project before selecting the appropriate metal cladding material.

Benefits of Metal Wall Cladding

Metal wall cladding is a popular choice for both residential and commercial buildings due to its numerous benefits. From aesthetic appeal to energy efficiency, metal cladding panels offer a range of advantages that make them an excellent option for enhancing the exterior of any structure.

Aesthetic Appeal

One of the primary reasons why metal wall cladding is favored by architects and designers is its ability to provide aesthetic appeal. With various finishes and colours available, it offers versatility in design options. Whether you prefer a sleek, modern look or a more rustic appearance, metal cladding can be selected and customized to suit your style preferences. The clean lines and contemporary feel of metal panels can elevate the overall visual impact of any building facade.

The beautiful aspect of vertical Standing Seam ribs - Snap-Line45 panels

Durability and Lifespan

Metal cladding panels are usually durable and built to withstand even the harshest weather conditions. Metal is resistant to rotting, warping, and cracking, ensuring that your building remains protected for years to come. Unlike other materials that may require frequent repairs or replacements, metal wall cladding provides lasting protection with minimal maintenance requirements.

Energy Efficiency and Insulation Properties

Metal wall cladding not only enhances the appearance of a building but also contributes to its energy efficiency. When combined with ventilation cavities, metal cladding systems act as outer skin layer of walls taking all the weathering from elements whilst the cavity behind is constantly renewing the air which provides thermal and acoustic insulation for the structure, reducing heat transfer during hot summers or retaining warmth during colder months. This insulation property helps regulate indoor temperatures, leading to lower energy consumption and cost savings on heating and cooling bills.

Low Maintenance

Another advantage offered by metal wall cladding is its low maintenance requirements. Unlike traditional materials such as wood or brick that often require regular painting or sealing, metal panels are relatively easy to maintain.

A simple cleaning routine using mild soap and water can keep them looking pristine for years without much effort. This makes metal cladding an attractive option for homeowners and developers who value convenience and want to minimize ongoing maintenance costs.

If you have a project in mind that you would like to speak to us about please contact us using the following details:

Types of Metal Cladding Systems Available in Australia

Independently on the design intent or project requirements, a person seeking a wall cladding solution for their next project has multiple choices of readily available materials that can be used as base metals for wall cladding profiles.

It is though important for one to familiarize themselves with the properties of each material, so the product selection is made wisely. Below are some of the most common products used for panel manufacturing:


Steel is the most popular choice for metal cladding panels in Australia. It is available in many options including coated, uncoated and painted steel. Coated Steel is available as Zincalume (zinc + aluminium coating to raw steel base) and Galvanised steel (zinc coating to raw steel base) - both options allow for steel to be used on external applications because the coating protects steel from weathering.

Uncoated steel, commonly referred to as Corten or Cor-ten (RedCor) is steel without coating. The lack of coating leads to a natural reaction of material surface with elements resulting in a rusty patination process giving panels the look of red/orange rust. The rusty patina acts as a shield protecting the inner core against the elements and extending material lifespan.

The robust transformation of uncoated steel - Corten

The robust transformation of uncoated steel - Corten

Painted Steel is probably the most common used material for metal cladding systems. One popular choice is Colorbond, which is a pre-painted steel product known for its durability and wide range of colour options.

Colorbond steel panels offer excellent weather resistance and require minimal maintenance, making them ideal for both residential and commercial projects.

Colorbond steel is available in standard XRW, Matt, Ultra and Metallic ranges. Also, part of painted steel options is the Selection Steel Unicote Lux range, which is painted steel but with unique textures and patterns allowing for custom aesthetic effect to metal cladding systems.


Aluminium is a lightweight and versatile material that is widely used for metal cladding panels. It offers excellent corrosion resistance and can withstand extreme temperatures without warping or cracking.

Aluminium cladding panels are available in a diverse range of finishes, including painted, powder-coated, anodized, or natural metallic finishes. This material is particularly suitable for modern architectural designs due to its sleek appearance and ease of installation.


Zinc, also known as pure zinc or titanium zinc, metal cladding systems have been around for centuries and recently regained popularity due to their distinctive appearance and long-lasting performance.

Zinc naturally develops a protective layer called patina over time, which gives it a unique weathered matt grey look. With long lifespan expectancy and self-healing properties, this material requires minimal maintenance and can withstand harsh environmental conditions effectively, making it suitable for marine environments, industrial areas and urban applications.


Copper is known for its timeless beauty and elegant appearance when used as a cladding material. Over time, copper tarnishes to different tones of weathering, with the final one being a greenish patina that adds character to the building facade.

Besides its aesthetic appeal, copper is extremely durable with outstanding corrosion resistance, and is very malleable allowing for intricate shapes and forms. Copper is a material of choice for heritage projects, coastal and high-end endeavours.

Inspiration on Orientations, Textures, Finishes and Colours

The multitude of visual options offered by metal cladding systems play a significant role in determining the overall aesthetic and feel of a building. The right combination of material and profile can create a visually stunning design that enhances architectural aesthetics and provides an appealing contrast.

Options of Orientations

Is your building asking for vertical lines that direct the passersby to look up to the sky? Or is your building asking for horizontal lines to enhance its overall width? Or maybe this is a very organic building type that requires lines to change direction or be in a diagonal placing?

Vertical orientation of panels, guiding the eyes of passersby to the skies. EXPRESSION™ Interlocking Panels

Vertical orientation of panels, guiding the eyes of passersby to the skies. EXPRESSION™ Interlocking Panels

Different metal cladding systems will offer their own features, and this includes panel orientation. Systems like SNAP-LINE45® or GENESIS™ Standing Seam are very versatile and can be applied in multiple directions. Some others, like ZenoClad are vertically oriented only, and might be the best option for classic inspired cladding applications.

Implementing Texture and Patterns

Texture plays a main role in metal cladding systems. One can achieve rhythm in a facade by exploring panel systems that offer versatility in panel modules, or different rib heights, or recessed shadowline joints. And additionally, the material of choice can also have a textured surface to enhance the possibilities of touch and feel experiences to the end user.

In the 'standing seam' range for both residential and commercial projects, systems like these metal cladding systems offer a somehow similar took, but with different installation procedures and options of customisation.

Vertical lines, enhanced by contrasting effect of light and shadow - Snap-Line45 Panels

Vertical lines, enhanced by contrasting effect of light and shadow - Snap-Line45 Panels

For modern and mimimalistic architecture requirements, custom cassettes and Expression Interlocking panels with appealing shadow lines can be used vertically or horizontally ensuring your latest projects are done with grand appeal.

And whilst ZenoClad 'board and batten' looking systems are more oriented for farm homestead looking homes, in a classic style architecture, innovative designers can explore geometric shapes, waves, or even abstract motifs that can transform a plain facade into an artistic statement and options like Savanna flat lock hooking systems present solutions that must be explored for this matter.

Explore Different Finishes for Desired Aesthetics

The extensive range of sheet metal options allow designers to achieve their desired look, independently on the direction of their creative path.

Whether you prefer a sleek modern appearance or a more rustic feel, there is a finish that can perfectly complement your vision. Let's delve into some popular finishes:

  • Matte: A matte finish provides an elegant and understated look to any building. It offers a smooth surface without any shine or reflections, making it ideal for creating a sophisticated ambiance.
Colorbond MATT Night Sky - a premium solution, perfect for architectural panels

Colorbond MATT Night Sky - a premium solution, perfect for architectural panels

  • Glossy: On the other end of the spectrum, glossy finishes add a touch of glamour and luxury to architectural designs. They reflect light beautifully, giving buildings an eye-catching allure.
  • Textured: If you're looking for something unique and visually interesting, textured finishes are worth considering. They add depth to metal cladding panels with patterns or raised surfaces that create visual interest.

Choosing Colours for Impact

The colour palette chosen for metal cladding panels can significantly impact the overall look and feel of both exterior facades and interior spaces. Here's how different colours can inspire architectural designs:

  • Architectural Contrast: Using contrasting colours can help highlight specific areas or features of a building's facade while adding visual interest. For example, pairing dark grey cladding with white accents creates an impactful contrast that catches the eye.
  • Dimensions and Sense of Space: Colours can also play a role in visually altering the perception of dimensions. Lighter colours tend to make buildings appear larger, while darker shades can create a more intimate and cozy atmosphere.
  • Luxury and Price: Certain materials like copper, zinc and aluminium, or colours, such as metallic or pearl finishes, can evoke a sense of luxury and sophistication. These premium options may be preferred for high-end residential or commercial projects.

If you have a project in mind that you would like to speak to us about please contact us using the following details:

Factors to Consider Before Choosing Metal Wall Cladding

There are several factors you need to consider. From budget constraints to architectural style, environmental considerations, and specific building regulations in Australia, each aspect plays a crucial role in making the right choice.


One of the primary factors that should influence your decision is your budget. Metal wall cladding options vary in price, so it's essential to determine how much you're willing to spend. Keep in mind that while some materials may be more expensive upfront, they often offer long-term cost savings due to their durability and low maintenance requirements.

Architectural Style of the Building

The architectural style of your building should harmonize with the chosen metal cladding panels. Whether you have a contemporary design or a more traditional aesthetic, selecting claddings that complement the overall look of a project is crucial for achieving an aesthetically pleasing result.

For instance, if you have a modern building with clean lines and minimalist features, sleek matt finishes can enhance its futuristic appeal. On the other hand, if your structure has an old-world charm or rustic elements, opting for textured metal claddings that mimic natural materials can help maintain its traditional character.

Environmental Considerations

Environmental factors play a significant role in determining suitable metal cladding materials. Climate and location can impact the performance and longevity of these panels. In areas prone to high humidity, or coastal regions exposed to saltwater spray, corrosion-resistant metals like copper, zinc or aluminum are excellent choices. They offer superior protection against rust and degradation caused by moisture.

Materials that are easily recyclable should also be considering when the environment and green architecture are the driving forces for your design.

Specific Building Regulations in Australia

Compliance with Australian building codes and standards is crucial to ensure the safety and integrity of structures using metal cladding panels.

By complying with Australian building codes and standards for metal wall cladding, several benefits can be achieved, as it guarantees the safety of occupants by minimizing risks associated with substandard materials or improper installation practices.

Moreover, adherence to regulations instills confidence among stakeholders such as architects, builders, insurers, and property owners who rely on compliant systems for their projects' success.

The National Construction Code (NCC) serves as a comprehensive guide outlining the requirements related to metal wall cladding in Australia. It encompasses various aspects, including fire safety standards, structural stability, and weather resistance.

Under the current NCC, metal cladding options must comply with AS1562.1 in order to be specified to most types of building classes. Installers, builders and designers should seek for suppliers that are able to offer certification for their metal cladding systems.

Local council regulations also play a significant role in ensuring compliance and suitability of the metal cladding of choice. These regulations may limit materials, finishes and even systems based on the suitability to urban landscape, heritage, local climate conditions, environmental impact, and aesthetic considerations.

Fire safety is of utmost importance. The NCC provides specific guidelines on fire resistance levels that must be adhered to based on the type of building and its intended use.

This ensures that the cladding material used will not contribute to the spread of fire or compromise the safety of occupants. Whilst it is understood that many metals are considered non-combustible, a certification to AS1530.1 usually is required from the manufacturer to achieve compliance with NCC.

Conclusion & FAQ's

Congratulations on reaching the end of our blog post on metal cladding panels! Now that you have a solid understanding of metal cladding panels, it's time to unleash your creativity and explore the potential they hold for your next renovation or development project. So go ahead and dive into the world of metal cladding – transform your space with its sleek elegance while ensuring safety and integrity.

No.1 APS is your premium architectural cladding supplier. Our consultants will help you explore a wide range of options on selecting the right product and design elements for your project. The team at No.1 APS has extensive knowledge of the available products in the market and can guide you through the entire cladding journey.


Can I install metal cladding panels myself?

Installing metal cladding panels can be a complex task that requires expertise. It's advisable to hire professionals who have experience in working with these materials. They will ensure proper installation techniques are followed for optimal results.

How do I choose the right colour for my metal cladding?

Choosing the right colour for your metal cladding depends on several factors such as personal preference, architectural style of the building, surrounding environment, and desired aesthetic. Consider consulting with a design professional or utilizing software tools that allow you to visualize different colour options before making a decision.

Are there any maintenance requirements for metal cladding?

Metal cladding generally requires minimal maintenance. Regular cleaning using mild detergents or soapy water is usually sufficient to keep it looking its best. Inspecting for any signs of damage or corrosion periodically will help ensure its longevity.

Can I use metal wall cladding in extreme weather conditions?

Yes! Metal wall cladding is known for its durability and ability to withstand various weather conditions. However, it's important to select the appropriate materials that are specifically designed for the climate in which they will be installed.

What are the fire safety standards for metal wall cladding?

Fire safety standards for metal wall cladding vary depending on local regulations and building codes. It's crucial to consult with professionals who can guide you on the specific requirements and ensure compliance with all necessary safety measures.


All roof, architectural panels, and wall cladding types manufactured by No.1 Roofing & Building Supplies are tested and fully certified to the new AS 1562.1:2018 standard.

This gives you real peace of mind for your next building project.