The modern internal facades are designed to add colour, texture, aesthetics and enhance the building functionality. The exterior and interior claddings are equally important but, the solutions are different owing to their functionality.
The products for exterior cladding are mainly meant to be weather-resistant, bring about structural integrity, enhance durability, safety and security and provide thermal and acoustic insulation. On the contrary, interior design and cladding materials differ in some of their properties such as abrasion resistance, hygiene, bending resistance etc. They are suitable for decorative as well as demanding applications like furniture, cladding for the office and residential buildings, sanitary facilities etc. The criteria for choosing interior materials are dependent on factors that are more specific to an interior environment and not exposed to any harsh external conditions.
To achieve the modern approach to architectural design, designers today have a plethora of interior cladding systems and materials available - Wood, ceramic, glass, metal panels, solid surfaces, to name a few. The contemporary building designs are focused on enhancing daylight, allowing natural light and natural ventilation through their exterior cladding solutions. Optimization of these natural elements through complementing interior facades are the focus of new-age designers and architects.
Compact interior laminate boards are suitable for areas requiring high impact and moisture resistance. These interior finishing panels come as a range of High Pressure Laminates (HPL) or phenolic compact panels for heavy-duty areas of application such as sanitary and wet rooms. The demand for anti-microbial surfaces has drastically increased post pandemic and hence compact interior panels powered by HPL are more in demand. Along with offering anti-microbial properties, it has non-porous surface, is easy to clean, scratch and moisture-resistant, solvent and impact resistant, and is harmless in food contact applications. It can also be used for internal wall cladding, cubicles, ceilings, tabletops, furniture, washbasins, railings, column cladding etc. Through its colour palette, it brings a range of colours that can be used for any conceivable area.
The Polyvinyl Chloride panels are highly durable. The panels are available in an array of colours, effects, styles, designs and finishes. It provides innumerable options and design ideas to match the existing decor of any space. They are suitable for exterior (building envelopes) and interior applications of residential buildings and commercial spaces. They are easy to clean, require low maintenance and dust-proof and are hence good for rooms, kitchens, children and elder's rooms.
For exterior building facades, it is seen that high-performance glass reduces the ingress of heat and manages the solar heat gain and high-performance glazing enhances energy performance. For interiors, the glass facade has long been used to impart a sense of spaciousness, sleek and minimalistic look.
Also, fire-resistant windows like dual-panelled glass windows, apart from contributing to energy efficiency, provide double the time for the fire to break in. Heat-treated tempered glass is four times stronger and effective than regular glass. Wired glass windows and windows with steel framing followed by wood and aluminium also offer excellent fire protection.
Mirror panels, on the other hand, can help create an illusion of spaciousness. They are best suited for narrow hallways and foyers that cast reflection to provide a visually bigger appearance.
Wooden panels add warmth and elegance to a space. They enhance the aesthetics of the interiors with smooth and clean surfaces. They can last long through routine maintenance with proper cleaning, painting, varnishing, staining for sealing the wood etc. Wood is a natural insulator and hence wooden panels offer acoustic and thermal insulation; thereby providing thermal comfort - keeping the interiors warm during winters and cool during summers. Shiplap, reclaimed wooden panel, tongue and groove, decorative panels like veneers are a few contemporary options.
Laminated chipboard and MDF panels are suitable to provide a strong foundation for interior projects and finishes. Chipboard panels with lamination are less susceptible to mechanical stress and are suitable for designing furniture, for kitchens, cabinets, headboards and bathrooms. Laminated Chipboards are heat and noise resistant, are hypoallergenic, do not emit odours, and are durable. They come with a wide colour range from monophonic, natural wood to imitation of metal or stone to bright and juicy colours. Melamine-faced chipboards are manufactured by mixing wood particles with strong adhesives (resin). They are a great choice for cabinet interiors as they are scratch and moisture resistant.
Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) panels are commonly used for kitchen units, wardrobes and modular furniture. This single plank wood is a common type of engineered wood that provides a smooth texture and excellent finish to the interiors. It is a flexible material that helps achieve preferred design, style and texture. The other advantage of MDF panels is that they can replicate the look of natural wood. But a meticulous design and execution strategy is essential while installing these panels as it is not very resistant to water, moisture or any liquid.
While no material can make a building completely fireproof, it takes a longer time for the fire to affect fire-resistant materials. It is crucial to incorporate fire-resistant materials for buildings, in which, in case of fire, the occupants get enough time to evacuate. Gypsum, for instance, is a popular fire-resistant interior finish choice. Drywall is composed of gypsum pressed between two sheets of thick paper; gypsum in itself is not flammable, and by adding water to the structure, it blocks the transfer of heat through the drywall. Some drywall manufacturers add glass fibers to gypsum that increases the fire-resistance quality and maintains the structural integrity.
Other popular materials include brick, fire-resistant glass for windows (including steel, wood and aluminium), concrete, plaster, fiber cement board, heavy timber etc. Fabrics mostly do not resist fire, but some fabrics are more combustible than others. Untreated natural fibers such as cotton, linen, silk burn more readily than wool. Fibers with tight weave wool, polyester, and fabrics that are treated for flame-retardance are good choices for interior decors. Curtains, draperies, and other articles in the house can have the burning rates reduced by the application of flame retardants through chemical treatment.
Interior facades have now become an integral aspect of new buildings, including commercial, residential and even retail. A thorough design process, planning and implementation for each requirement are imperative to achieve planned outcomes.