Cladding attachment solutions are essential products in the building industry created to improve the project’s characteristics. Designers and architects who prefer to use modern materials such as ACM panels and slick sidings for cladding applications require attachment solutions to ensure energy efficiency and building stability. In the “what are cladding attachment solutions (part 1)” article, we discussed energy codes, exterior insulations and standard requirements for cladding attachment solutions. This section will provide information about cladding attachment solutions available in the market for ACM panels, Aluminum sidings, Wood sidings, and other practical facade materials.

Available Cladding Attachment Solutions and Systems

A wide array of proprietary and generic cladding attachment systems are available in the market, designed to satisfy ACM panels and different siding materials requirements. They also feature various materials, including galvanized steel, Corten steel, stainless steel, pure aluminum or alloys, fiberglass, and plastic. Each system has its unique approach for different projects. However, these approaches can be classified as continuous framing, intermittent clip and rail, sub girts systems, long fasteners, masonry and other engineered methods.

Almost all cladding attachment solutions and systems are suitable for ACM panels, one of the best products for exterior applications. Attachment systems are available to accommodate numerous claddings for constructions of all latitudes and exposures. However, typically more extreme the wind load or the heavier the cladding material, the tighter the gaps and spacing of the solutions compromise the practical thermal functionality. Therefore, the ideal solution is the one that provides optimal structure and thermal functionality for the cladding materials needs of the particular project.

Each cladding attachment solution for ACM panels and decorative boards comes with exceptional thermal efficiency, cost, and installation ease. All of the cladding materials and systems can be installed with steel stud wood, concrete block backup walls, and almost all solutions lending themselves better to commercial facilities than residential projects. However, some architects and designers manage to utilize them for homes and personal properties.

Continuous Framing or Sub-girts Attachment System

Sub-girts which are continuous framing systems, are the forerunners to the more thermally efficient clip and rail attachment solutions that have been produced in the past few years. Due to the advantages and unique characteristics of metal sub-girts, architects prefer to use them as cladding attachment solutions in various applications. However, three primary types of sub-girts are used in the construction industry: vertical sub-girts, horizontal sub-girts, and crossing sub-girts.

Vertical Sub-Girts

The vertical sub-girts system features continuous galvanized steel framing pieces, generally eight-to-twenty-gauge z-girt or c-channel profiles. These profiles are vertically attached to the backup wall section. Commonly, the girts have space to line up with the stud framing behind the main structure. ACM panels and other cladding systems are installed or attached directly to the outer flange of the support. In vertically oriented cladding usage, additional horizontal supports can be applied to the exterior of the verticals.

The vertical z-girts are typically not thermally efficient cladding solutions. Due to the excessive thermal bridging, it is better not to use these particular supports in typical applications.

Horizontal Cladding Attachment Solutions

The horizontal metal-sub girt cladding attachment solution for ACM panels consist of continuous galvanized steel framing members. In this system, eighteen to twenty thickness or gauge sub-girt profiles are horizontally attached to the steel studs or a concrete wall. Installers consider standard gap sizes between the backup wall and the supports depending on the cladding material loads.

Like vertical sub-girts systems, the cladding material is directly attached to the external flange of the supports. In this system, it is better to use additional vertical supports for more stability. The thermal efficiency of these supports is not considered high. Thus, architects may reconsider using them if thermal properties are essential for the facility. The exterior insulation system installed between the sub-girts is degraded significantly, and it is only 30% to 50% effective for ACM panels cladding systems. However, the horizontal approach is more recommended in typical applications compared to vertical support systems.

Crossing Continuous Framing

The crossing sub-girts are the most popular type of continuous framing in the cladding attachments industry. This attachment solution features two straight galvanized steel or aluminum framing particles. They consist of eighteen to twenty gauge supports profiles attached in a crossing pattern to the concrete backup wall or the steel studs. Depending on the cladding loads, designers define the spacing between these framings and attach the cladding material directly to the outer rim of the girts.

Crossing sub-girts are more thermally efficient and can be used for different applications. For example, exterior insulation installed between crossing continuous frames is not degraded considerably, and they provide more than 50% efficiency for the cladding material. However, this particular system can be improved by using low conductivity isolation thermal washers or breaks between the girts and the backup wall.

Check the part 3 of this article to know more about cladding attachment solutions that building industry requires.