Exterior building cladding: A Guide to Exterior Wall Cladding Materials

12 Stunning Options for Cladding Exterior Walls

Appearance and longevity — these two elements should be top priority when choosing cladding for exterior walls. Whether it’s home-sweet-home or a commercial property that needs to have an easily replicated look, cladding panels for exterior walls need to provide that combination of performance and aesthetics to be worth the investment.

The problem is that many property owners can’t distinguish between a product that simply looks good on the surface and one that’s built for long-term beauty and stability. With the proper material selection, you can get the best all-around value for your property.

The key is in choosing a modern material that’s uniquely engineered to protect the structure while also showcasing top-quality aesthetics. Take a look at some of the vast design potential that’s possible with cladding crafted from fiber cement.

1. Lap

Cladding exterior walls with a lap look can create a classic appeal. Lap has a familiar feel and it creates linear design qualities, a gentle texture and beautiful shadow lines. An easy choice for most homes, fiber cement lap provides better strength and protection than traditional wooden cladding for exterior walls, which is often susceptible to rotting, color fading and overall deterioration. Fiber cement lap embraces a classic look without the extensive routine maintenance work of wood.

2. Board and Batten

Board and batten, another popular choice, rotates the orientation of individual panels so the cladding creates a vertical design. Often seen in coastal regions and throughout the heartland, board and batten cladding brings an authentic look to homes in a range of architectural styles. 

Modern fiber cement cladding simplifies the installation process — which is traditionally quite labor intensive — by featuring an easy, clip-in cladding system that speeds up the process and minimizes potential installation errors.


Earth Tones

Earth tones are popular in both residential neighborhoods and commercial designs. The benefit of using modern materials is that you can recreate a range of textures and styles with a single product that’s engineered to last.

With a built-in rainscreen that provides moisture management, fiber cement stone cladding for exterior walls can be combined with smooth architectural panels and/or wood cladding for exterior walls that are also crafted from fiber cement. This allows you to mix and match earth-tone exteriors without worrying about the compatibility of different cladding products. Brick-style, stucco-style and wood-style — no matter what look you’re after, fiber cement tile cladding for exterior walls makes the process simple and seamless.

4. Shake

Shake delivers an impeccable texture that can be styled to feel refined or rustic, depending on the surrounding features and color selections. Traditionally, wooden cladding for exterior walls was the only option for creating an authentic shake style, but that’s no longer the case. Crafted for superior weather protection and overall durability, fiber cement cladding panels for exterior walls can capture the beauty of shake with greater fire safety and weather resistance.

5. Monotone

Smooth cladding panels can deliver an exquisite ambiance — one that’s worthy of a luxury residence. A monotone palette embraces the sleek look of the exterior wall cladding and elevates the entire design. Neutral tones that catch the light, like beige, cream or taupe are popular selections for upscale residences.

6. Variegated Approach

Mix it up! Working with a modern cladding exterior walls product gives you the ability to play with color, texture, orientation and style — without scrambling to find compatible materials. Fiber cement cladding designs pair together without effort so you can combine a brick-style facade with colorful board and batten or wood grain lap rather easily.

7. Stone Veneer

Let’s be honest — stone can be an expensive commodity when it comes to exterior walls. Plus, it isn’t always energy efficient or easy to work with. The smarter strategy is to choose a stone cladding for exterior walls crafted from fiber cement. This allows for much faster installation without the need for a mason, and it results in a beautiful finished product that will last.

8. Brick

Likewise, traditional brick exteriors require the expertise of professional masons, and the installation process can be slow and tedious. Modern building materials like fiber cement allow the freedom to install exterior wall cladding in no time, thanks to the intuitive clip-in design and large panel fabrication. Easy, fast and built to last, fiber cement cladding for exterior walls is simply the smart choice for getting the bold look of brick.

9. Metal

A huge benefit of using fiber cement cladding panels is that it’s easy to replicate the look — which is a huge advantage for commercial properties that plan to expand. Different locations can express the same signature style that reflects the organization’s brand and character to create consistency across buildings.

10. Contemporary Color Block Panels

Colorful exterior walls like this are becoming very popular with commercial organizations that want to stand out from the crowd. Any cladding with big color needs to maintain consistency, so it’s essential to get a durable, long-lasting exterior wall cladding option that can resist color fading from sun exposure. Fiber cement is one such material that’s built for long-lasting beauty.

11. Wood

Showing off natural wood grain patterns — without worrying about dry rot, moisture damage or mold — can be a complicated goal. The easy solution? Wood-look fiber cement cladding. Fiber cement wood cladding for exterior walls is more durable and resistant to the elements, so it maintains its allure year after year. Plus, wood-style fiber cement is suitable for both residential and commercial properties.

12. Architectural Concrete Look

For a more urban aesthetic, the sleek exterior of architectural concrete can call attention. Unfortunately, concrete doesn’t always age well, and cracks can become a major concern down the line – both in terms of structural integrity and aesthetics. A concrete-inspired facade crafted from fiber cement can provide a practical solution for achieving this unique look while also setting up the exterior walls for success in the long run.

If you’re looking for a fiber cement that brings form, function and absolute beauty to any project, rely on Nichiha. We are your go-to source for cladding exterior walls with a stylish, durable and long-lasting finish — plus, we have an abundance of exciting design styles and colors to choose from. 

Contact our experts at Nichiha to explore attractive options for residences, commercial properties and more.

5 Cladding Systems for High Performance Buildings

A high-performance cladding system protects a building envelope from rain, snow, and other outside elements, by deflecting, draining, and evaporating moisture on the outside and inside of the wall system.

The design must ensure the building cladding systems’ durability, energy efficiency, and sustainability. The cladding’s aesthetic appeal for high-rise buildings or modest homes provides the structure’s first impression and influences the feel and look of the surrounding environment.

What Is a Cladding System?

The building cladding refers to all the components attached to the building’s primary structure (parts that keep a structure standing), and form the non-structural, external surfaces. Often, cladding attaches to the structural frame of the building as prefabricated panels.

A high-performing cladding system provides much more than just a building’s exterior facade and aesthetics. Quality cladding systems:

  • Transfer wind and impact loads to the structural framework
  • Protect the structures from external elements (rain, wind, snow, ice)
  • Provide thermal insulation to create an airtight building envelope, to control the inside environment
  • Provide security and privacy, and prevent the transmission of sound
  • Limit the spread of fire
  • Provide openings for daylight, ventilation, and access

High-quality, properly-installed, and well-designed cladding materials for buildings minimize air leakage, maximize thermal performance, and optimize natural daylighting. These features lessen the need for mechanical and electrical service, and contribute towards a sustainable, energy-efficient, safe, and durable building.

The Four D’s of High-Performance Cladding Systems

High-performance cladding systems must provide effective deflection, drainage, drying, and durability:

  1. Deflection refers to an exterior building’s cladding’s ability to deflect rain, ice, and snow that hits the outer wall surface. Designers can assist the cladding’s water deflection with overhangs and gutters. 
  2. Drainage refers to cladding materials for buildings’ capacity to permit water that finds its way behind the outer surface to drain. Architects and builders can handle this with an application of a water-resistant barrier over the sheathing and a drainage gap between the sheathing and the cladding. However, stucco cladding, which can’t deal with large volumes of water, requires enhanced drainage that uses a drainage mat to increase the space between the WRB and cement membrane. The space allows more accessible water flow down and within the cladding.
  3. Drying refers to a cladding system’s permeability or ability to allow ventilation within the system to encourage drying. Building codes typically require vapor-permeable exterior cladding, to allow moisture or condensation to pass through it as a vapor when warmed by the sun. Including open space at the base and top of the wall cladding will allow airflow and additional drying. 
  4. The durability of a cladding refers to the system and its components’ ability to withstand continued and repeated exposure to ultraviolet rays, thermal expansion and contraction, and wetting-and-drying cycles. Durable cladding systems will help prevent leaks and protect the building envelope.

However, other vital features you should consider when selecting a high-performance cladding system include:

  • Sufficient airtightness, continuous insulation, and control of thermal movement
  • Fire resistance
  • Low maintenance
  • Ease of installation

5 Sto High-Performance Cladding Systems for Buildings

Sto offers various easy-to-install, high-performance cladding systems, that all meet the requirements for water deflection and drainage, the ability to dry out, airtightness, fire resistance, low maintenance, and the durability to last the lifetime of the building.

Our systems integrate all the wall components into one tested, code compliant system: air and moisture barrier, continuous thermal insulation, and numerous aesthetic façade surface options to accommodate all your design needs. You can combine multiple facades in a single system without transitions and product compatibility design challenges. 

Our tested systems also ensure that all components work together as mandated by today’s building codes. We cover all the features of our wall systems under a single system warranty.

1. StoVentec® Rainscreen Systems

Rainscreen claddings protect against the effects of moisture (especially vital with water-absorbing claddings) by providing a ventilation gap between the siding and air and moisture barrier. The small gap (as little as ½-inch) allows for proper drainage and drying.

StoVentec® Systems offer a complete, fully-tested, and code-approved high-performance ventilated Rainscreen® system that includes an air and moisture barrier, non combustible mineral wool insulation, an installer-friendly, adjustable sub-framing system, and our impressive StoVentec® Rainscreen® cladding.  

In the U.S., StoVentec® ventilated rainscreen cladding systems come in several finishes, in order to provide designers with a range of aesthetic choices to create distinctive building facades with highly engineered performance characteristics.

StoVentec® Masonry Veneer Facades

StoVentec® masonry veneer facades offer a drained and back-ventilated rainscreen wall system with aesthetic options of thin brick, masonry, and tile.

StoVentec® Glass

StoVentec® Glass provides an open joint, drained, and back-ventilated rainscreen wall system with an opaque glass façade, offering aesthetic choices of back-colored glass, frosted glass, and custom printed glass.

StoVentec® Render

StoVentec® Render is a drained and back-ventilated rainscreen wall system, offering aesthetic opinions of Sto textured finish, Stolit Lotusan self-cleaning textured finish, and StoCast, Sto’s prefabricated resin cast shapes.

2. StoPanel Systems Prefabricated Exterior Wall Panels

Sto’s prefabrication solution, Sto Panel Technology®, features finished exterior wall panels. The StoPanel® system panels consist of cold-formed metal framing and other applicable components, including continuous insulation (ci), glass mat sheathing, air and moisture barrier, sub-framing, and facade aesthetic.

Prefabrication provides several significant benefits:

  • ݈Reduces delivery time and labor needs
  • Helps to stay on budget
  • Boost quality control and assurance
  • Improves job site safety
  • Reduces change orders
  • Lessens construction wastes

StoPanel® Classic NExT ci

StoPanel® Classic NExT ci prefabricated wall panel includes steel framing, gypsum sheathing, and StoTherm® ci façade

StoPanel MVES

StoPanel® MVES prefabricated wall panel includes steel framing, gypsum sheathing, and Adhered Masonry Veneer (AMV) – thin brick, natural stone, ceramic tile, or cultured stone.

StoPanel® Mineral ci

StoPanel® Mineral ci prefabricated wall panels include steel framing, gypsum sheathing, and StoTherm® Mineral ci façade. 

StoPanel® Dri-Design®

StoPanel® Dri-Design® prefabricated wall panels include steel framing, gypsum sheathing, and Dri-Design® metal façade.

StoPanel® Swisspearl®

StoPanel® Swisspearl® prefabricated wall panels include steel framing, gypsum sheathing, and Swisspearl fiber cement façade.

StoPanel® Impact ci®

StoPanel® Impact ci® prefabricated wall panels include steel framing, gypsum sheathing, and StoTherm ci system, designed specifically for large and small missile impact performance.

StoPanel® 3DP Powered by Branch Technology

Working together, Sto Panel Technology® and Branch Technology created an exceptional 3-dimensional design for exterior walls. The prefabricated, panelized wall integrates the building envelope layers into a customizable 3D printed lightweight, robust, and easy-to-install composite shape. Branch’s unique Cellular Fabrication (C-Fab®) 3D printing process allows you to create a highly functional and unique architectural façade panel in virtually any shape or form.

StoPanel® XPS

StoPanel® XPS prefabricated wall panels include steel framing, gypsum sheathing, and StoTherm® ci façade that includes Extruded Polystyrene Foam Insulation 

StoPanel® Brick

StoPanel® Brick prefabricated wall panels include steel framing, gypsum sheathing, thin masonry veneers, or thin brick.

StoPanel® Precast

StoPanel® Precast prefabricated wall panel includes steel framing, gypsum sheathing, and a variety of integral decorative & protective finish options to replicate precast concrete.  

StoPanel® Metal

StoPanel® Metal prefabricated wall panels include steel framing, gypsum sheathing, and metal façade

StoPanel® Backup

StoPanel® Backup prefabricated wall panels include steel framing, gypsum sheathing, and air/moisture barrier. Builders apply facade on-site.

3. Drainable EIFS (Exterior Insulation Finishing System) – StoTherm® ci Wall Systems

StoTherm® ci cladding systems combine continuous insulation (ci), air/moisture barrier, drainage, and numerous aesthetic finish options to create a high-performance, sustainable wall cladding. The eye-catching and durable system maintains maximum curb appeal, and saves money through lower energy bills.

StoTherm ci MVES

StoTherm® ci MVES (masonry veneer engineered system) with masonry veneer in natural stone, ceramic tile, or manufactured stone which conforms to applicable building code requirements.

StoTherm® Mineral ci

The StoTherm® Mineral ci system incorporates non-combustible, mineral wool insulation and continuous air and moisture barrier with Sto’s high-performance finishes to produce an advanced high-performance wall cladding assembly. 

StoTherm® ci XPS

Durable, high-performance StoTherm® ci XPS incorporates high R-value extruded polystyrene insulation into the wall system and StoGuard® fluid-applied air and moisture barrier, creating an air and watertight wall ensuring thermal efficiency and excellent durability. 

StoTherm® ci

StoTherm® ci combines StoTherm® and the StoGuard® waterproof air barrier system for enhanced energy efficiency and protection against moisture intrusion. 

StoTherm® ci HI-LM CMU 180

High-performing, energy-efficient, and hurricane-resistant StoTherm® ci HI-LM CMU 180 provides a continuous insulation wall cladding that integrates StoGuard® waterproof air barrier and StoTherm® insulated cladding and drainage capabilities over concrete masonry unit substrates. The StoTherm® ci HI-LM CMU 180’s engineering meetsthe stringent Miami-Dade County, Florida NOA criteria for large and small missile impact resistance, air and water infiltration, and wind load resistance.

StoTherm® ci 1177-LM

High-performance StoTherm® ci 1177-LM exterior wall cladding system integrates a seamless air and moisture barrier with continuous insulation, advanced drainage capabilities, and Sto® Armor Mat XX Mesh for additional reinforcement and impact resistance over glass mat gypsum sheathing. The engineering of StoTherm® ci 1177-LM meets the stringent Miami-Dade County, Florida NOA testing criteria for large and small missile impact resistance, performance on 16-gauge steel studs with gypsum sheathing.

StoTherm® ci 1177-SM

High-performance StoTherm® ci 1177-SM exterior wall cladding system integrates a seamless air and moisture barrier with continuous insulation and advanced drainage capabilities over glass mat gypsum sheathing. The engineering of StoTherm® ci 1177-SM meets the stringent Miami-Dade County, Florida NOA criteria for small missile impact resistance, air and water infiltration, and wind load resistance.. 

StoTherm® ci HI-PLY

High-performance StoTherm® ci HI-PLY exterior wall cladding system integrates a seamless air and moisture barrier with continuous insulation and advanced drainage capabilities over CDX exterior plywood sheathing. The engineering of StoTherm® ci HI-Ply meets the the stringent Miami-Dade County, Florida NOA testing criteria for large and small missile impact resistance, air and water infiltration, and wind load resistance.

4. StoPowerwall® Stucco Systems

StoPowerwall® Stucco Systems provide fully-tested stucco systems with superior moisture management and comprehensive design options, ensuring low maintenance and durable claddings with all of the protection and energy efficiency of StoGuard®.

StoPowerwall® Stucco Systems combines protective and aesthetic elements into a superior wall cladding, including StoGuard® fluid-applied moisture and air barrier, StoPowerwall® Stucco, and Sto textured finishes and coatings that keep out moisture while furnishing many design options. Sto systems include the Sto DrainScreen drainage mat for added moisture protection and optional Crack Defense, an additional fortification layer for crack prevention. 

StoPowerwall® DrainScreen MVES

The StoPowerwall® DrainScreen MVES stucco wall system with thin brick, masonry, tile, or cultured stone veneer, includes the moisture protection of StoGuard® air and moisture barrier and Sto DrainScreen to reduce the risk of water accumulation. 

StoPowerwall® ci

StoPowerwall® ci energy-efficient stucco wall systems include continuous insulation of outbound extruded polystyrene (EPS).

StoPowerwall® DrainScreen

The StoPowerwall® DrainScreen Stucco wall assembly combines the durability and strength of traditional stucco with StoGuard moisture protection,Sto DrainScreen and Sto high-performance finishes; however, it does not include insulation. 

StoPowerwall® ExtraSeal®

The StoPowerwall® ExtraSeal® stucco wall system applies directly to CMU with Sto ExtraSeal air and moisture protection.

5. StoQuik® Silver Systems Cement Board Stucco

StoQuik® Silver Systems combines the strength of a cement board substrate with moisture protection of StoGuard air and moisture barrier, draining and drying of a drainage mat, and the versatile performance and design options of Sto’s textured finishes – without the moisture exposures, complicated installation, and labor steps of traditional stucco. 

StoQuik® Silver DrainScreen™MVES

The high-impact, weather-resistant StoQuik® Silver DrainScreen™ MVES cement board stucco system provides superior moisture protection with thin brick, natural stone, ceramic tile, or manufactured stone veneer for exterior vertical above-grade walls in residential, low-rise commercial, and institutional construction. 

StoQuik® Silver DrainScreen™

StoQuik® Silver DrainScreen™ is a durable, cement board stucco system that provides superior energy efficiency and improved water drainage.

Why Choose Sto’s High-Performance Cladding Systems?

Sto’s cladding systems have all the vital features that a high-performance system needs: moisture protection by deflecting, draining, and evaporating moisture on the outside and inside of the wall system, long-lasting durability, and energy efficiency.

Simple to install, time-saving Sto systems combine all the wall components into one unit: continuous insulation, air and moisture barrier, sub-framing system, and many aesthetic façade surface options to accommodate all your designs needs.

Learn more about engineered building enclosures today by downloading this comprehensive guide.

Interior and exterior (exterior) finishing of buildings

At the final stage of construction, when the foundation, load-bearing structures and ceilings are built, finishing work begins. At first glance, they are carried out in order to give the structure a finished look, so that it meets certain aesthetic requirements. In fact, the situation is somewhat different. Exterior and interior decoration enhances the performance of the building. These jobs include:

  • installation of window and door blocks;
  • plastering, cladding and painting;
  • glazing and decoration;
  • floor covering device, etc.

Decorating modern buildings is certainly a complex process that requires not only professionalism and knowledge of materials, but also a creative approach.

Public and administrative buildings play an important role in urban architecture. As a rule, they are characterized by concise forms, but thoughtful design. Works in them include:

  • exterior finishing work;
  • interior decoration;
  • interior arrangement.

Public and administrative buildings, first of all, are public places, therefore certain requirements are imposed on them. They should have convenient entrances and spacious parking lots. Ceilings in rooms should be at least 270 cm, and windows and doors should be located as rationally as possible. All materials used must have certificates of quality and environmental safety. And no less important requirement: the arrangement of buildings with engineering systems: video surveillance, alarms, notifications, telephony, and so on.

Finishing of industrial buildings and structures

Finishing of industrial facilities is characterized by more functionality than aesthetics. In this case, the following stages are predominant:

  • protection from the adverse effects of the external environment: temperature extremes, humidity, precipitation, glaciation, snow drifts and strong winds, that is, the exterior finish should mainly protect the supporting structures and extend their service life;
  • Facades must be UV protected, fire resistant and have good thermal and acoustic insulation;
  • Exterior cladding work must provide vapor barrier, but allow enough air to pass through, to prevent the formation of condensate.

Exterior finishing of buildings

Regardless of the materials of supporting structures and walls, the final work should hide flaws and defects and fundamentally improve the exterior of the building. Materials such as artificial stone, porcelain stoneware, plastering and facing bricks proved to be excellent. But before choosing any of these building materials for the exterior of the building, initially, it is necessary to make an examination and calculations. In most cases, it is they that determine the choice of the optimal material, since in one case, the weighting of structures with exterior finishes can cause cracking and warping of the foundation, and in others, the facades will not have the functionality that is needed. For example, the building will not be adequately insulated.

Interior decoration of buildings

Interior decoration of buildings, first of all, must fully comply with the purpose of the premises. Despite the fact that this type of work is primarily intended to create comfortable and aesthetic spaces, the principle of rationality is also fully present here. For example, in a public place, it is better to build stairs from strong and durable materials, and in rooms with high humidity it is necessary to use moisture-resistant materials. Also in the premises, great attention should be paid to the environmental friendliness of materials, for example, it is hardly worth sheathing the walls of a bedroom with PVC panels, even if they are very beautiful. Color schemes are also of great importance, since a light blue office space is unlikely to encourage your employees to work productively.

Advantages of cooperation with our company

Our company specializes in exterior and interior decoration of buildings and structures, and we know everything about the final stage of construction. We carry out work at a professional level in Moscow and the Moscow region at low prices. Our specialists are highly qualified and have extensive successful experience. Any objects are available to them: administrative buildings and industrial buildings, private houses and apartment buildings. We use only high-quality materials from well-known and trusted suppliers. Our credo in the implementation of all works: high aesthetics and maximum functionality. Our experts perform work quickly, without loss of quality. We strictly maintain the technology, and therefore we are confident in the quality of our work and give a guarantee on them. Entrust the finishing to professionals!

Exterior decoration of the house – choosing materials for facade decoration –

Types of materials for exterior decoration

The facade of the building creates the first impression of the house. In addition, the exterior finish of the house protects it from rain, frost, bright sun and other natural phenomena. Therefore, the choice of materials for finishing the facade of the house should be approached responsibly.

Today there is a wide range of finishing materials for outdoor use. When choosing a finish, it is necessary to take into account both the appearance, color, style of finish, as well as its strength and durability.

So, at present, the following options for exterior decoration of houses are popular:

  • plastering, or wet façade, is carried out using plaster mixtures that can be applied to the walls of the house in various ways;
  • external finishing with piece materials – tiles, natural or artificial stone or other similar materials;
  • facing a house with decorative bricks;
  • thermal panels that are dry-attached to the walls.
  • Let’s dwell in this article on the exterior decoration of the house with a hinged facade.

    Finishing a house using the hinged facade technique

    Hanging ventilation facades are very popular, as they have a number of advantages:

  • the exterior finish of the house is quite strong and durable;
  • a large selection of finishing materials, which allows you to implement any design of the facade to your taste;
  • it is possible to place thermal insulation under the casing, as well as to hide communications.
  • Materials for the curtain wall

    The curtain wall is based on a framework. It is assembled from metal profiles. In addition, other materials are needed for the exterior of the house in this way:

    • thermal insulation material for wall insulation;
    • vapor barrier film;
    • a protective impregnation is also required to finish a wooden house.

    Choice of material for the load-bearing structure of the curtain wall

    The load-bearing structures for ventilated facades are made from various materials:

    • galvanized steel;
    • stainless steel;
    • aluminum;
    • wood.

    Wooden battens for house decoration carry an increased risk of fire hazard. Therefore, it is necessary to use them for exterior decoration of houses with great care. The use of wooden profiles for ventilated facades is increasingly being abandoned in favor of galvanized steel profiles.

    Profiles for ventilated facades made of zinc-coated steel combine low cost, durability and low weight.

    Stainless steel profiles are also durable, but more expensive.
    We recommend the Primet metal profile in galvanized steel for curtain walls.

    The Primet profile is designed for a long service life in the construction of private houses, residential and office high-rise buildings.

    Galvanized profile meets the requirements of Russian and international quality standards. You can buy a profile for ventilation facades in our branch in Moscow.

    Selection of insulation for ventilated facades

    For insulation of a ventilated facade, you should choose only non-combustible material – one of the types of mineral wool: slag, stone or fiberglass.