Designing Ventilated Façades Using 3.5 mm Porcelain Tiles

The ventilated façade is a construction solution that uses a double enclosure distanced from each other by a support structure to generate an air chamber for ventilation. This operation creates a chimney effect that activates air currents by convection, improving the acoustic and thermal insulation of the building, and increasing its energy efficiency.

Due to its nature and manufacturing, the 3.5 mm porcelain tile is a great choice for ventilated façade cladding. Its high resistance to weathering, dimensional stability, and lightness reduce the support structure requirements. It weighs 3 times less than a traditional porcelain tile and allows large formats, up to 3.6 meters, reducing the number of joints. It also delivers high color stability, impact resistance, and low maintenance over time.

Designing Ventilated Façades Using 3.5 mm Porcelain Tiles - More Images+ 24

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Instalación Vertical / Instalación Horizontal. Image Cortesía de CHC

What are the components of a ventilated façade?

Ventilated façades are composed, from the inside to the outside, of a support (constructive element that supports the structure of the building), insulation (located outside the support), air chamber (cavity between the insulation and the cladding), anchorage (elements that anchor the cladding to the structure of the building) and the cladding (exterior face of the façade).

In this detail we see a ventilated façade with hidden fixing clips. However, there are even more efficient and aesthetically clean fixing systems, such as the chemical adhesive presented at the end of this article.

(1) Cladding (2) Fixing Clip (3) Insulation (4) Support (5) T Profile (6) Bracket (7) Anchorage

(1) Revestimiento (2) Grapa (3) Aislante (4) Soporte (5) Perfil T (6) Ménsula (7) Anclaje. Image Cortesía de Grespania

Why use low thickness porcelain tiles on ventilated façades?

Composed of light modular pieces, easy to install and replace, ventilated façades made of Coverlam porcelain tiles, by Grespania, offer high technical and aesthetic standard features while maintaining their characteristics and their physical appearance throughout their useful life.

Regarding exposure to water, Coverlam has water absorption below 0.1%, resisting humidity, rainwater, and even frost. Its reaction to fire moves between the A1 (for thicknesses of 5.6 mm) and the A2 s1, d0 (for thicknesses of 3.5 mm); it is a non-combustible material that does not generate the fall of droplets or inflamed particles.

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To enhance these qualities, it is possible to apply a coating of Titanium Dioxide, called H&C Tiles, which gives the panel self-cleaning and bactericidal characteristics, thanks to the effect of the oxidation produced by the dioxide on the organic particles of a dirty façade. This allows for the elimination of odors and generates active oxygen when brought into contact with UV rays, ensuring its durability and low maintenance, in relation to other coating materials.

Horizontal Installation

Instalación Horizontal / Coverlam. Image Cortesía de CHC

Vertical Installation 

Instalación Vertical / Coverlam. Image Cortesía de CHC

How does the 'chimney effect' work?

The chimney effect consists in the ascent of air and hot gases through the duct, which is the product of the density difference with respect to the air and gas that surrounds it. This effect occurs mainly in summer, while in winter, the ventilated façade provides thermal stability acting as a heat accumulator. In this way, it contributes to keeping the interior heat more stable.

Efecto Chimenea. Image Cortesía de CHC

How to ensure that the air chamber works correctly

To allow the correct functioning of the air chamber, at least 2 free centimeters between substrates must be considered and there must be no elements that obstruct the ventilation channels. These should always be vertical.

Hospital en Almería, España. Image Cortesía de Grespania

How can the effectiveness of a ventilated façade be measured?

Its effectiveness is measured using formulas of the standard or by modeling the thermal behavior of the building in a software, for example, through Designbuilder.

It is recommended to study its operation case by case, because variables such as geographical location, climatic conditions, the structure and materiality of the cladding, among others, influence it. However, regardless of the specific situation, ventilated façades provide proven contributions to energy savings throughout the year, and if adequate maintenance is carried out, their durability is indefinite.

Centro de Salud Arteixo, La Coruña, España. Image Cortesía de Grespania

What type of fastening is recommended?

The chemical fastening system provides greater adhesion power for ventilated façades, guaranteeing a durability of up to 50 years of useful life and effective operation under drastic climatic conditions, such as temperatures between -40 ° and 90 ° C. The system works on a variety of substrates, through chemical adhesives that join the ceramic cladding with the support. Check your installation process here.

Anclaje Químico. Image Cortesía de Sika
Anclaje Químico. Image Cortesía de Sika

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About this author
Cite: Materials. "Designing Ventilated Façades Using 3.5 mm Porcelain Tiles" [Consejos y datos útiles para diseñar fachadas ventiladas con porcelanato de 3.5 mm] 12 May 2019. ArchDaily. (Trans. Franco, José Tomás) Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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