How To Clad Steel Frame Buildings

Steel frame buildings are increasingly popular due to the speed of their install, sustainability aspects and affordability. Steel structures can be a very cost-effective way to give yourself more space. However, depending on usage, cladding must be an aspect taken into consideration. Cladding is the most effective way to heat your steel frame building and there are many options available depending on the use of your portal frame building.

What is cladding?

Cladding is usually made prefabricated in panels that are attached to the structural frame of the building. Some cladding systems can be purchased off the shelf from Timmins. While others are manufactured as part of a full project build, where exact made to measure lengths are fabricated. Cladding systems can also include additional components, such as windows, doors, gutters, roof lights, vents and so on.

How To Clad Steel Frame Buildings

Steel cladding sheets attach to the steel structural frame of an industrial building, farm shed or agricultural building. The steel frame building is fabricated to include side rails, longitudinal bracing, purlins and roof bracing; all designed to easily attach cladding to.

Cladding is attached directly to the structure of the steel frame building, however, it does not contribute to its stability. Cladding is designed to insultate, and protect the inner shell of the steel frame building from external elements, for example, wind, rain and snow. When taking into consideration what cladding to use and how to clad a steel frame building, the weight of wind loads and snow loads must always be taken into consideration. The steel frame building must be able to contain the weight of not only the cladding itself but the weight of snow.

Wind causes positive and negative pressure on the surface of steel frame buildings and cladding must have adequate strength and stability to resist this load, both in terms of the type of cladding selected and its connections back to the steel frame structure.

How is cladding manufactured?

Steel cladding sheets are manufactured in a range of corrugated and other profiles, such as trapezoidal. The various profiles are fabricated from sheets fed through machinery banks. Most manufacturers of steel cladding sheets will allow the steel to be pre-aged, thereby coating it was preservatives. Cladding can also be painted with a wide range of colour variants and textures.

Types of cladding for steel frame buildings

When it comes to selecting the right type of cladding for your steel frame building, you must assess what the building is being used for. Some of the most popular types of steel building cladding that you can choose from are insulated or non-insulated single skin steel cladding sheets. The one you decide to go with will be dependant on the purpose of your steel frame building. If your purpose is to keep crops cool and dry or to house agricultural machinery, then there would be no need to pay a premium for insulated panels. If you do choose to opt for single skin cladding with no insulation, it’s a good idea to have a fleece liner applied. This will hold any condensation and allow it to ‘wick’ down to the gutter, rather than drip.

However, if you need the storage to be at room temperature, then an insulated steel cladding panel is recommended.

An additional aspect which needs to be taken into consideration when choosing the type of steel cladding sheet is ventilation. If your steel building needs to be closed up for a long period of time, for example during the winter months or outside of your seasons. Condensation may begin to build up and this will require your building to be ventilated. You should also be aware that even some ventilated buildings will still get condensation.

Polyester coatings versus plastisol coatings.

Polyester cladding is utilised more commonly in the agricultural sector, mainly due to it being very cost-effective, and having a long life-span. The polyester coating makes the cladding easy to adapt or freshen up – even after an agricultural steel frame building has been up for a number of years.

The polyester that Timmins use within the cladding sheets range is extremely high quality, and available in colours to suit not only the external environment but your individual tastes. So for a long-lasting finish that withstands the test of time, polyester coated cladding is an excellent choice. It is also a very competitively priced option.

Plastisol on the other hand, is a high quality, 200-micron coating with a 40-year life expectancy. It’s also more scratch-resistant and protects against colour fading.


For more information on steel cladding, give Timmins a call on 01673 878 800 or visit or cladding page.