Cladding Attachment Solutions are products that manufacturers produce to help architects and builders construct a more stable exterior wall for the building. There are various types of cladding attachment solutions in the market, and each has its unique usage and advantages. Some of these supporting products are including sub-girts, clip and rails, long screws, etc. Architects utilize each system for a particular project. For instance, construction that features an ACM panels cladding system can benefit from almost all types of attachment solutions.

Cladding attachment solutions must satisfy modern building standards and codes. Thus, they often provide thermal efficiency and considerably good insulation property for the cladding material. But, more importantly, they are used to improve the safety of the building materials by overcoming wind and cladding loads. In part 1 of this article, you understood the general requirements for calling attachment solutions and the modern building codes. Furthermore, in part 2, we discussed one of the most standard solutions for cladding materials, such as ACM panels using sib-girts, known as continuous framings. However, for providing more information for our readers, we decided to add essential information about cladding attachment solutions for ACM panels and other siding materials.

Clip and Rail Cladding Attachment Solutions

Clip and Rail attachment systems are becoming a popular approach due to their more thermally efficient characteristics that can support ACM panels and all types of cladding materials. They can be attachment solutions for board and lap cladding which utilizes standard nail and screw fasteners, adhered veneers, stone veneers, aluminum composite cladding systems for the installation process.

These cladding attachment solutions consist of horizontal or vertical rails, which are attached to intermittent clips. These clips are then bonded with the structure of the building through the cladding materials. Generally, only the clips go through the exterior fabric. However, in some cases, the web of the railing may also cut through part of the cladding system. In such situations, the web can degrade the thermal performance of the systems.

Manufacturers often produce rail from galvanized steel, stainless steel, aluminum and alloys, fiberglass, plastic or a combination of these substances. Less conductive clip material and fasteners can provide a better thermal efficient system. Thus, stainless steel and fiberglass will perform better than materials such as galvanized steel fasteners. The maximum gap size between clips is often defined by the cladding wind load and the stiffness of the railing particle. Additionally, low conductivity solutions are beneficial since they are more clips needed at detail sections. However, this is not essentially accounted for by the current energy regulations and codes. Still, it will become a consideration shortly, as thermal bridging in such areas is becoming a concern.

Types of Clip and Railing Solutions Available in The Market

There are many types of clip and railing products available that act as cladding attachment solution in the building industry. However, some have become more practical and popular due to their ease of work and stabilizing characteristics. Followings are the few yet essential systems that are available in the market:

Galvanized Steel Clips

This clip and railing solution utilizes alternate generic metal supports made from cold-formed galvanized steel. This type generally takes 16-to-20-gauge metal z-girts or c-channels to suit the cladding cavity. Dimensional adjustability comes from using separate back-to-back l-brackets that are screwed together as installed on the insulation. The ACM panels or other cladding materials are attached directly to the railings with short screws. The thermal efficiency of galvanized steel clip and rail cladding attachment solutions can differ considerably from less than 50% to as high as 75%.

Stainless Steel Clips

This system is similar to galvanized steel clips, but it is made from stainless steel. The material is four times less conductive than galvanized steel, meaning it is more thermally efficient. Due to the low conductivity of stainless-steel cladding attachment solutions, these systems can perform perfectly with thermal efficiencies ranging from 65% to 85%, depending on the spacings and clips measurements. For installing ACM panels with these attachments, pre-drilling the stainless components can help with the fasteners.

Thermally Isolated Clips

This type of solution features proprietary heavier gauge galvanized steel slips with plastic pads or washers installed between the clip and backup structure of the ACM panel. Plastic washers are also usable as attachments and fasteners for heat transfer reduction purposes. The sub-girts are attached to the clips with screws, and the cladding is installed on the girts. In terms of thermal efficiency, the plastic particles can reduce the heat flow through the buckle to performance levels similar to the stainless-steel system. However, the primary key to maximize thermal efficiency is to reduce the number of clips. The performance of this system is generally between 60% to 90% depending on the manufacturer’s details.