Architecture has always been exciting, but when key players like terracotta panels step on the stage, a sudden glamorous transformation is observed! From adorning buildings to revolutionizing construction, these panels keep getting popular by the day.
What are terracotta panels, and how are they made?
Terracotta is an ancient building material recorded as early as the 7th century in Greece architecture. Burnt earth! That is what they literally mean in Latin.
The initial preparation stage begins by taking a mixture of clay and water, shaping in plaster, or molding it. The resulting paste is left to dry in the sun or under improvised drying conditions. Upon drying and heating at a temperature of about 1832 degrees Fahrenheit, the brick is then left to cool to form a red-brown slab or terracotta panel.
The red-brown slab becomes a competitive alternative for other architectural materials like concrete, glass, and natural stone.
These properties make terracotta loveable.
Other than rooting from a most civilized nation by ancient standards, terracotta panel’s properties give them an upper hand compared to other building materials. Their properties include but not limited to;
- Resistance to fire
After facing an inferno-baptismal ceremony, terracotta panels become super strong and resistant to heat. This makes them preferable to other materials as they can be used in very high temperatures settings.
As many terracotta panels are strengthened by fire, they also protect buildings from inferno since they can’t burn nor spread the fire.
- They are pervious
If you are looking for a building material that naturally allows air to pass through, think about terracotta panels. Terracotta allows air to penetrate through its minute pores guaranteeing buildings proper air circulation.
Also, this property makes these panels the most effective for constructing artificial structures for plants. Terracotta’s natural porosity allows air to move freely in and out of the plant houses hence promoting their growth.
As a perfect insulator, terracotta is used to keep buildings warm during a blizzard and cool in blistering summer. They form a perfect buffer between your house’s internal environment and buttering weather outside.
The main ingredient in a terracotta panel is soil. As we know, soil is a natural and eco-friendly resource. And with the current global sensitization on ecological protection, this property gives terracotta a lead ahead over other materials like glass.
Upon its full utility, terracotta disintegrates back into clay, which is a natural material and poses no challenge to dispose of.
- Strong and easy to clean
As a result of the intense heating process, terracotta becomes a very strong and firm material that withstands pressure.
Cleaning terracotta is an even simpler process. A slight brush against it removes the dirt and leaves it clean.
- Renewable resource
Clay and water are renewable resources, and this makes their use as construction materials near-perpetual. Unlike other paneling materials like aluminum, terracotta can hardly be depleted. Recycling of these panels also raises the bar for terracotta a notch higher. They are reused, and not just once!
The installation of terracotta panels is quite simple. Grooved panels are very easy to stack together, and with a pressure scale of about 20 megaPascal, they can withstand bolting and clipping during mounting.
Other paneling materials like stone lack an equal level of pressure resistance, and upon pressure release, after installation, they give in and break. Metal, on the other hand, has high-pressure resistance but very low heat resistance.
Grooved terracotta panels can be stacked together with minimum effort and little concern over damages resulting from immense heat and pressure.
- Colour options and design
Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder! Terracotta panels could only champion this saying so much based on the wide variety of styling, from color to design.
When it comes to color, terracotta panels give the other paneling materials quite a head start as they come naturally pre-colored. The red-brown hue is a result of the iron present in clay reacting with heat, which doesn’t fade or require recoating. This red-brown color is glamorous and fits any form of interior décor and exterior designs.
Based on the region they come from and the type of clay, terracotta panels have a wide color range, from grey to pink to white and other colors; the choices are limitless.
The design and shape of terracotta panels could also vary depending on the preference of the architect. This is made possible during the molding process of making the panels.
Terracotta panels have changed our entire perception of architecture and, with their impressive capabilities, we are expecting more and more people to adopt them.