Ask the expert: Brick rainscreen cladding – ADC

Senior Technical and Design Advisor Marcus Franklin of Wienerberger UK – sponsor of the School of Specification – answers readers’ questions on brick rainscreen cladding.

Wienerberger’s Corium brick tile cladding was specified by Marks Barfield Architects for the Cambridge Mosque

Why choose a brick rainscreen over a traditional brick façade?

Brick rainscreen cladding offers the appearance of traditional brickwork with the added benefits of increased speed of construction and lighter overall weight. Installation is less weather dependent than traditional brickwork and systems can be installed from MEWPs and mast climbers, reducing the need for scaffolding.  When all elements of the construction are factored in, brick rainscreen cladding can be a more cost- and time-effective solution. Added to this, systems that utilise purpose-made bricks require less raw materials and create less waste.

What is the typical wall build-up?

Brick rainscreen systems are typically installed onto aluminium, helping-hand support systems to create an insulated and ventilated cavity. For most projects, the substrate is a lightweight steel frame but brick rainscreen systems can also be used as a protective and decorative cladding over concrete, masonry and timber-framed structures. Some systems are also suitable for offsite fabrication.

HTA Design’s 295 Holloway Road student housing project uses Corium brick tile cladding from Wienerberger to striking effect

How much choice/flexibility is there in terms of brick type, bond, mortar, and joint finish?

Clay brick offers a huge range of colours, sizes, textures and finishes and the same is true for brick rainscreen cladding systems. Special shapes allow the creation of corners, projections and soffit details to maintain the appearance of traditional brickwork.

What is the typical design life of a brick rainscreen and can it be demounted and reused or recycled if required?

Clay brick is inherently durable and providing that all design and installation is carried out in accordance with the recommended guidance and the cladding is properly maintained, brick rainscreen systems should offer a long service life. Fully tested and certified systems ensure performance and safety. Steel and aluminium components are 100 per cent recyclable. Clay brick waste can be broken down to a smaller aggregate size and used for a variety of purposes, including foundation construction.

What guarantees are available?

Manufacturers typically offer a material warranty.

To find out more about brick rainscreen cladding please visit the Wienerberger website.

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Source: Architecture Today