Cladding - Elite Agri Solutions


Jon Jon|Mar 27, 2023

Elite Agri Solutions strives to provide background information on topics which are hard to research. In cases where no reputable print resources were available for us to reference, we interviewed industry experts, so it is inevitable that the contents of this document will contain inaccuracies and bias. Use this as a resource to help you ask the right questions, not as a source of definitive answers. Elite Agri Solutions and its employee will not be responsible for the consequences of any decision made based on this guide. Where text or data has been copied directly, the sources have been noted, otherwise it can be assumed that all the information in this guide has only been curated by Elite Agri Solutions and is not our original property.

(Information in this document was gathered from product manufacturers and contractors)


Flashing can be bent on site with a break or standard profiles can be ordered. For a barn where there will be few unique pieces, it is best to order standard profiles. Painted flashing should be ordered from the same supplier as other cladding products. Even the difference in paint between lots can become noticeable as the cladding weathers.

It should be noted that aluminum and concrete are reactive and anywhere aluminum is used in contact with concrete it should be effectively coated or separated from the masonry by an impervious membrane.

Bi-metal (galvanic action) corrosion can occur between any two metals that are dissimilar, make sure that fasteners are compatible with building products before they are used. For example, fastening aluminum flashing with a common steel nail might lead to significant corrosion problems and unsightly rust stains. Likewise, using aluminum flashing with steel cladding can cause corrosion as well.

Condensation Control

Rolled steel roof profiles are typically rolled from lightly galvanized steel, the exposed face is primed and painted, but the back side is relatively vulnerable to corrosion, particularly when exposed to moisture and agricultural gasses.

CondenStop and Drip Stop are two brand names of leading condensation control products that are applied directly to the underside of steel roofing products. These products are thin fibrous coatings that are designed to absorb condensation as it forms and evaporate it back into the environment. This keeps condensation from dripping onto the truss system and the contents of the barn.

Insulated roof panels are a product that is a laminated sandwich of exterior steel roof cladding, foam insulation, and an interior ceiling cladding. This product is designed to span much greater distances between supports than single skin ribbed steel roofing because it is typically a heavier gauge (22-26 gauge) and the adhesion to the foam core creates a rigid structure between the two steel skins. Most of these products are designed to completely seal between panels, acting as the vapour barrier as well as the cladding. Even a thin layer of insulation will make this product effective in limiting condensation. These products work well with barns constructed with glue laminated mass timber beams and steel frame buildings because of the large spans between members.

Blanket insulation products are typically a thick fiberglass batt laminated to a vapour barrier available as a continuous roll. The product is typically applied between the cladding and the structure and interlocks to form a vapour barrier.

Quilt insulation is typically a thin fiberglass batt stitched to a vapour barrier. This product provides the minimum insulation required to prevent condensation and is typically used in cold environment buildings. Foiled bubble insulation is also available and is installed and preforms very similar to quilt insulation.

If the barn is to be used as a warm environment it is likely best that a polyethylene vapour barrier be installed under the trusses and that a hard ceiling cladding be installed. This allows a foot or more of loose fill insulation to be blown in on top of the ceiling cladding.

Steel Cladding

The standard thickness of steel for roofing, walls and ceiling is all 29 gauge. Sometimes 26- or 24-gauge steel will be used for special applications such as for flashing, trim and where increased sheet strength is required.

Roofing sheets are susceptible to getting kinked as they are being handled and installed. For large roofs it may be advisable to order the steel split in half the length and install it as two rows. There will be slightly more material required because of the overlap between tiers, but because steel is priced by the linear foot, regardless of sheet length the overall cost will be roughly the same. Typically sheet length is limited by a max transportation length of 48’.

Steel ceiling cladding can be used as part of a diaphragm bracing system.

Steel ceiling cladding can be fastened directly to the bottom of trusses if care is taken to ensure that bottom chords are spaced correctly before bracing is installed. Plywood and plastic ceiling cladding usually cannot span 4ft without sagging and requires strapping to support the product. If a ribbed product is run perpendicular to the trusses, air flow across the barn ceiling can be compromised. Ribbed products also pose a challenge for mounting equipment and conduit to the ceiling. Plywood has the benefit of being able to attach equipment anywhere, not just on the strapping. Plywood, however, is more difficult to wash and doesn’t give as neat of a finish than other cladding options.


Plywood is a versatile material that is easily cut and fastened as an interior finish on walls and roofs.

All plywood edges must be supported by strapping, blocking or framing.

For plywood installed on interior surfaces the following table from the Ontario Building Code specifies the thickness:


Thickness of Plywood Interior Finish

Item Column 1 Column 2 Column 3
Maximum Spacing of Supports, mm o.c. Minimum Thickness, mm, on Supports with no Horizontal Blocking Minimum Thickness, mm, on Supports with Blocking at Vertical Intervals not Exceeding 1.2m
1. 406 4.7 4.0
2. 610 8.0 4.7


Plywood used as cladding shall be an exterior type plywood. Edges of plywood cladding shall be treated with a suitable paint or sealer.

When plywood is applied directly to sheathing it shall not be less than 6mm thick.

If plywood is to be applied over framing or furring strips (strapping), then the minimum thickness is specified in the following table:



Minimum Plywood Cladding Thickness

Item Column 1 Column 2 Column 3
Spacing of Supports, mm Minimum Thickness, mm where Face Grain Parallel to Supports Minimum Thickness, mm where Face Grain at right Angles to supports
1. 406 8 6
2. 610 11 8


If plywood is installed in panels, it shall have all edges supported. If more than a 2mm gap is provided between panels, caulking or batten strips shall protect the vertical joints between panels. Horizontal joints between panels shall be protected by flashing or a minimum overlap of 25mm.

Plastic Options

Plastic paneling is popular in agricultural buildings because it is bright, easy to clean, will not deteriorate, is not affected by moisture, and will not harbor disease. Plastic paneling typically comes in flat or corrugated sheets, insulated sandwich panels, or hollow panels with supports crossing the core (‘truss core ‘). Plastic paneling is commonly used in milking parlours, pig barns, wash bays and biosecurity change rooms. Corrugated sheets are commonly used as a ceiling cladding in all types of livestock barns as they will not deteriorate with condensation.

Plastic paneling typically can span a maximum of 24 inches before needing support. Plastic panels are prone to shifting with temperature change and manufacturer instructions should be followed for installation instructions.

Though plastic is impervious to moisture, joints between panels are not sealed, so a proper vapour barrier system should be installed behind the paneling.

A disadvantage of plastic paneling is that under high heat it become quite flammable. It is typically not the source of the fire, but when exposed to flames will readily combust as has been seen in many pig barn fires.

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