When it comes to protecting your building, the first place to look is the roof. And one of the most popular choices for both commercial and industrial properties is roof cladding. This hard-wearing solution offers exceptional protection against adverse weather conditions and general wear-and-tear. You’ll likely have spotted roof cladding on many buildings but may not know whether it is the best solution for you. That’s where our guide comes in. Here, we’ll lead you through everything from why you should choose roof cladding through to what the different types available are.

What is roof cladding?

So, let’s start with the basics – what exactly is roof cladding? In short, it is a specialist, waterproof material used on roofs to form the outside/external surface. This provides a layer of protection for the important, structural elements below. There are various roof cladding options available on the market, some of which we will discuss later, but all of them will offer a basic set of benefits for the building owner.

Pros and Cons

Cladding isn’t the only option out there when it comes to protective roof solutions. However, there are many reasons why it may be the optimal choice. Let’s take a look at some of the Pros and Cons to help you better understand if it’s the right solution for you.


  • Robust – Roof cladding is one of the strongest and most durable solutions you can go for. One of the most popular options is metal cladding which has exceptionally high resilience to things such as water, electrochemical reactions and corrosion.
  • Style – With a number of different roof cladding options to choose from, it can be used for aesthetical purposes too. You can stay in keeping with the surrounding area, make a standout mark or even showcase your brand colours effortlessly.
  • Low maintenance – cladding panels are designed to be strong but they are also impressively easy to maintain. Seeing as they can withstand harsh weather conditions and wear-and-tear, they require minimal repair and continue to look their best for many years to come.
  • Improves Structure Strength – By means of offering a protective barrier against the elements, roof cladding improves the mechanical strength of any building. It does this by reducing the impact of water damage and helping to control movement during temperature changes.


  • Paint Degrading – As the roof is exposed to direct sunlight, coloured cladding can fade over time. In addition, wooden cladding has been known to go grey due to high UV exposure. There are finishing treatments available that can prevent this including UV-resistant products.
  • Rust – Some metal cladding sheets will fall victim to rust if given the time. This normally happens when sheets are cut down to fit and the edges are left exposed. In an ideal world, these sheets will be re-coated with the same layer as the manufacturer applies to minimise the risk of water damage.
  • Dents – If not properly installed or if hit by a heavy hailstorm or other hard objects, metal cladding can become dented. This can also happen if overhanging trees fall during extreme wind conditions.

Different types of roof cladding

If you’ve decided that roof cladding is a strong runner for your building, it’s time to look at the different types available on the market.

Steel Cladding

Available in a wide variety of colours, steel cladding is one of the most popular options. This is down to its cost-effective pricing and longevity. Steel roof sheets are normally galvanised with a zinc or zinc aluminium alloy which heightens its strength.

Wooden Roof Cladding

As one of the most sustainable options on our list, wood or timber roof cladding has two components – a watertight membrane and an overclad top layer. With high impact resistance and good insulation properties, it is a popular choice for residential properties.

Composite Cladding

A cost-effective alternative to other roof types, composite cladding is non-structural and lightweight. It can be made from expanded polystyrene and has very high insulation properties. If you’re looking to create an eco-friendly property, composite cladding is a viable option.

Fibre Cement Cladding

Entirely manmade, fibre cement cladding is normally used as an alternative to wood or PVC options. It can be made in a variety of colours and finishes which also being very budget-friendly and low-maintenance.

Stone Cladding

For a very traditional look, stone cladding uses very thin sheets of natural stone. It is primarily an aesthetical choice which is quick to install and has impressive longevity. It is also easy to install and requires minimal labour costs.

Weatherboard Cladding

Normally made from reconstituted hardwood, weatherboard roof sheets can be painted or stained to suit your home. As with other options, they are extremely hard wearing and are quick to fit.

How long will roof cladding last?

The longevity and lifespan of your roof cladding will depend, largely on the material chosen. Other contributing factors include the general weather conditions in your area, the likelihood of impact from external sources and how well it is fitted in the first place.

Metal or steel cladding, which is one of our specialisms here at Industrial Roofing Services, can last upwards of 50 years. This is why it is a popular choice for commercial warehouses and industrial properties. If the wooden cladding is treated and maintained properly, it can also last anywhere between 40 – 60 years – however, remember that degradation of wood happens from the moment it is cut. Again, fibre-cement cladding has a lifespan expectancy of at least 40 years And, stone cladding is the most variable with suggestions of between 20 to 75 years, depending on the product used.

Roof cladding is a popular choice for many reasons – many of which we have mentioned in this guide. If you would like more information about steel roof cladding or any of the other options listed here, our expert team is always on hand to help. Get in contact today to discover more.