Top 5 considerations when selecting exterior cladding

Whether you’re a homebuilder or a developer, when you are building a home, there are many considerations for materials to complete the look of your home and protect it from the environment. Some options that come to mind are brick, stone, stucco, wood, fiber cement, and vinyl. Did you know you have another option that combines the durability of aluminum with multiple colors and finishes, including wood grain finishes? AL13® offers architectural cladding systems that deliver stunning aesthetics for your home while providing protection from being exposed to the elements. The AL13® Panel System leverages Aluminum Composite Material (ACM) to give buildings a bold, modern look. The AL13® Plank System has a sublimated wood grain pattern on 4” or 6” profiles to give a traditional plank look with a long-lasting wood finish. So why choose AL13®?

1. Understanding Building Code Requirements

Your building project’s requirements will be driven by the building code of the jurisdiction your project is in. In addition to the need to consult with a building envelope Engineer to determine code-compliant options for exterior cladding, you also need to consider the aesthetics of your exterior cladding. This is the largest area of the building that catches the eye, adds to the character of the building, and protects the building and its inhabitants from the elements.

The AL13® Panel System and AL13® Plank System complement architectural designs whilst protecting the building from the elements. Our systems feature durable, long-lasting finishes and are compliant with rainscreen, fire, and wind load safety requirements. We have a 15-year warranty on system components, and a 20-year warranty on the finish.

2. Performance and Safety

AL13 Rain Screen System

The AL13® Panel System and AL13® Plank System both satisfy specific building code requirements for wind, rain, and fire as verified and tested by accredited laboratories.

Our Engineering team designs, analyzes, and validates the performance of individual system components to ensure the parts that you order and install on your building satisfy code. We continuously innovate around our products – from fasteners, system clips, back plates, top caps, outside corners, panels, and planks – to ensure adherence to code while optimizing materials and improving ease of installation.

Fire Safety

Typically, each jurisdiction contains provisions in their building code for acceptance criteria of combustibility of materials used for exterior assemblies. The standards used in North America to qualify the fire performance of materials for use in exterior wall assemblies are NFPA 285 and CAN/ULC S134.
The AL13® Panel System and AL13® Plank System can be specified for your building to satisfy these stringent requirements.

Wind Safety

All buildings experience fluctuating wind loads from constantly changing atmospheric conditions. Exterior cladding is a vulnerable component to wind loads, so we designed both our AL13® Panel and Plank systems to withstand pressures that result from wind load. Both the AL13® Panel System and the AL13® Plank System are tested against ASTM E330, which is the standard used to measure their structural performance. Building engineers and/or architects can review our data to determine the suitability for your building type, building height, and geographic location.


Modern building codes in most jurisdictions require buildings to be rain screened to mitigate any water damage caused by either rain (as it impacts the exterior wall and gets behind the cladding), or moisture build up (when moisture is trapped within the wall with no means of escape). A proper rain screen comprises three parts:

  • Exterior cladding
  • A 10mm or 3/8in air gap
  • Weather-resistant barrier

AL13® systems are certified to be pressure-equalized and are designed so that water can egress between the weather-resistant barrier and the exterior wall, which in turn, prevents moisture build-up. 

3. Installation

As with any project, when building a home, you want to have it completed as soon as possible. The traditional ACM method, known as route-and-return, involves multiple parties and additional processes that need to happen off-site, which adds to the complexity and scheduling of exterior cladding installation. The AL13® Panel System and AL13® Plank System significantly cuts down on this complexity, ultimately saving you time and money. How?

  • AL13® components are cut ON-SITE. Sending parts to a third-party fabricator to be cut and bent to shape is not necessary.
  • AL13® components are ADAPTABLE. Part sizes can be cut and fitted accordingly to bridge theoretically exact drawings and imperfections of real-life.
  • AL13® installation is CLEAN AND SIMPLE. The system is mechanically fastened, meaning no caulking or gluing of joints is necessary.
  • AL13® parts are AVAILABLE at your local dealer. You can select from in-stock colours or choose from other available finish options available on
  • AL13® reps are always at your SERVICE. Your local AL13® representative is available to provide answers and guidance to any questions you may have. 

4. Design and Aesthetic Flexibility with AL13®

The AL13® Panel System and AL13® Plank System share common framing components to allow for a seamless transition between panel and plank. This means the exterior design of your building can comprise both panel and plank systems on the same plane, without any surface deviations, thus opening up almost unlimited creative design options.

If you feel that you need an option beyond our selection of standard colors and wood grain finishes, we also offer other colors that might suit your project. Should you wish to match the existing colors of another project or something you feel strongly about, we can read the color characteristics from your reference sample using our Spectrophotometer to color match your AL13® components.

5. Warranty

Aluminum has highly desirable properties that make it an ideal material for exterior cladding. The AL13® Panel System and AL13® Plank System components have finishes that conform with AAMA 2604 and AAMA 2605 (color/finish dependent), which means they are highly durable and maintain their appearance over a long period of time with appropriate maintenance.

Our systems come with a 15-year warranty on the system and a 20-year warranty on the finish. The only maintenance required is the occasional cleaning of the finished surfaces!


Choose AL13® Panel and Plank Systems for your Project

AL13® provides durable, adaptable, and aesthetic exterior cladding systems whilst committing to the protection, safety, and longevity of your building project in Canada and the United States. We continually strive to develop and improve our systems – not just components – that work together to facilitate installation, offer more design options, and provide industry-leading warranties to give you the best value in product, performance, and service than other options on the market.

You can reach out through or your local rep to get started on a free estimate for your project today!

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