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Design Advice

Choose The Right Cladding For Your Building Project:
Zincalume®️ or Colorbond®️

When selecting cladding for your building, there are two main options you’ve likely come across: Colorbond®️ and Zincalume®️. Both of these products are made to suit Australian conditions, and they both do a great job of lasting long-term on the exterior of your shed. But which is the right one for your needs?

Firstly, what’s the difference?

Both cladding options are strong and durable, but the difference that matters to most people between the two is the cost and the variety of colours and finishes available.

Zincalume®️ is an unpainted blend of aluminium, magnesium, silicon and zinc. It is designed (and has been heavily tested) to stand up to Australia’s harsh environmental conditions. It’s rust-resistant, it doesn’t scratch easily, and it comes with a lower price tag than Colorbond®️.

Colorbond®️, as the name might suggest, has colour (and some other protective coatings) bonded to the base material, so it is available in a variety of colours and finishes. It is a low-maintenance, long-term cladding material that also allows you to add a bit of colour to your shed.

Which cladding is right for your shed?

Well, that depends on the location of your structure and what you plan on using it for.

First, you’ll need to look at any restrictions that apply in your area. Some councils may require that new buildings be clad with Colorbond®️, and others may have no specific cladding requirements. It’s also common that structures close to airports, like hangars, have restrictions on the amount light the roof can reflect, so it doesn’t interfere with airport activities.

If the council or other restrictions do not require Colorbond®, the next thing to consider is what look you want for the exterior of your building. While Zincalume®️ cladding will you give farm shed that classic Aussie look, it might not be what you’re after for new development in a commercial area.  

Unlike Zincalume®️, Colorbond®️ is available in a range of colours and finishes to suit your tastes and the goals for your project. Colorbond®️ is available in contemporary or classic colours which can be used in combination to create a modern two-tone exterior on your building.

When choosing your colour, you’ll need to keep in mind that different colours have different solar absorptance and solar reflectance properties. Solar absorptance and solar reflectance properties affect the amount of heat from the sun that gets absorbed by your structure and transferred to the interior of your shed. Lighter colours reflect more of the suns heat, and so can be better suited to sheds in hot, sunny positions. Darker colours absorb more of the suns heat, making them require more insulation, or cooling, to stay at a comfortable temperature.

You should also consider using a contrasting colour for the trim and doors of your building as a way to add interest or highlight particular architectural features. 

The next thing to consider is cost. If you have no specific requirements to use Colorbond®️, you might be able to save some of the cost and go with the Zincalume®️ cladding. If you’re concerned about the appearance of the Zincalume®️, a popular option economical option is to use Zincalume®️ on less visible surfaces of the structure like the roof, and use Colorbond®️ for the visible walls. Mixing the two claddings can offer substantial savings on large structures, and still create an attractive exterior.

If you decided Colorbond®️ is not for you or is out of your price range, Zincalume®️ is your next best choice. It’s rust-resistant and is designed to last in Australia’s conditions, costs less, but does not offer the colour and design choices you’ll get with Colorbond®️. It’s most suitable for structures where the outward appearance is not critical, and it’s commonly used for hay sheds and other farm sheds.

Steel cladding not what you’re looking for?

There are some situations where standard roll-formed steel cladding like Colorbond®️ or Zincalume®️ might not be the best solution for your wall cladding. In these cases, you might look at incorporating precast concrete cladding panels or precast structural walls into the building design. Precast concrete panels can be used as exterior cladding on commercial buildings to create a modern, streamlined finish.

Concrete panels are often used as fire rated walls on industrial buildings, to enable construction right on the lot boundary. Another situation where precast concrete panels are useful is as cost-effective retaining walls to level a sloping site. Concrete perimeter panels are also regularly used on the inside of the steel columns to create a no-gap holding area for bulk produce or grain.

Picture: A TechSpan Building With Pre-Cast Concrete Cladding

Industrial Spring Water Processing Shed Exterior

Still unsure what sort of cladding will best suit your shed needs? Talk to our experts.

Our expert team will ensure your new building is structured to work.

We’ll help make sure that every aspect from the cladding to the colour is suited to your needs. Contact us today for a free design consultation.

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