The rising decarbonization trend of the housing and building stock responds to a global strategy seeking urban sustainability. This necessity to reduce the demand of energy by any kind of building has translated into the proliferation of new architectural solutions that help to reach nearly zero energy buildings. Step by step, we can find in new building sites and, specially, in refurbishment projects; the use of solar panels; installation of high-performance windows and doors; mechanical ventilation systems with heat recovery; and thermal envelopes such as ventilated façades.
The latter is key to eliminate thermal bridges and avoid the outer skin of the façade to be in contact with the inside wall and, therefore, there is no heat loss. Ventilated façades are also useful to avoid condensations and to bring comfort to the building tenants.
Moreover, ventilated façades are the perfect solution to reduce the consumption of heating in winter, since the air in the chamber remains tight due to the lack of enough external heat to make it flow, and consequently it behaves as an additional insulation component.
In summer, the air within the chamber does get warmer and warmer thanks to the higher aggressivity of the sun radiation on the façade, which provokes the so-called stack effect. Warmer air tends to go up, what refreshes continuously the inside walls of the building and, consequently, reduces the need of use of cooling systems such as air conditioners and fans.
VENTILATED FAÇADE ELEMENTS
Then, what elements is a ventilated façade composed of? This architectural solution is made of 3 main parts (from outside to inside): an outer skin, a fixing system and a thermal insulation in the outside of the building wall.
- Faveker® contributes the external skin to the building’s visible envelope, with an alveolar extruded ceramic panel that is high resistant and adds to the building some extra sustainability, since this is a 100% recyclable material and has over 50% recycled content in its composition. Thanks to digital printing technology, used to reproduce on ceramic any design, aesthetic possibilities with Faveker® are endless.
- The next component is the fixing system. This consists of brackets to support and retain the profiles where the cladding elements, such as Faveker® ceramic panels, are installed. These systems usually combine different materials. In our case, brackets and profiles are made of aluminium alloy; clips and screws are made of stainless steel, rubber is made of EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer), and polypropylene thermostops.
- And last, the third element of any ventilated facade is the outside insulation, that it is usually made of rock wool, glass wool or polyurethane foam. The biggest advance of insulating the façade from the outside is that this solution helps to eliminate thermal bridges and, thus, the building energy saving is increased.
There is not a unique system that works for all ventilated façades, as each project has its own singularities; and aspects such as the requirement for a certain fire resistance, panels orientation, height between floors, joint alignment or the size and material of the panels, make an option more appropriate than a different one to install the ventilated façade successfully and with guarantee of durability.
Whatever the system is, there is an essential factor: the chosen solution should be authorized. What does it mean? That is that the system has been tested together with the cladding by an external laboratory, having to overcome several conditions to which the future ventilated façade might be subjected, such as wind load resistance, resistance and reaction to fire, impact resistance, freeze-thaw resistance or resistance to extreme temperatures, protection against driving rain and drainability.
The results are reflected with detail in a document known as European Technical Assessment (ETA), which is available to anyone who wants to review it and use ventilated façade in their project.
Faveker® has recently updated their ETA in collaboration with The Catalonia Institute of Construction Technology (ITeC), including new systems and XXL porcelain panels (up to 1,80 meter long). To access the report, click here:
Among all approved systems for the installation of Faveker® ventilated façades, two main categories are distinguished:
- On the one hand, those anchoring the ceramic panels by means of clips.
- On the other hand, the second type includes those systems that need horizontal profiles to hold and retain the ceramic panels.
Both of these are hidden anchoring systems; that is, they are unseen once the ventilated façade is installed, favouring both the aesthetics and the final design of the building. One of the main advantages of all Faveker® systems for ventilated façades is that ceramic panels can be installed with up to 1500 mm spans without the need of any intermediate support profile, what translates into significant savings of material as well as installation times. Moreover, thanks to the production by extrusion carried out by Faveker®, no mechanization of the panel is needed, so pieces are not weakened by any external action after production.
HIDDEN ANCHORING SYSTEMS THAT USE CLIPS
The FTS 502 B system is the most complete one among all the hidden anchoring systems that use clips. Available for all types of porcelain ceramic panels, that is, GA16, GA20 and GA30, the system consists of brackets and grooved profiles fixed by means of screws, EPDM profile and thermostops. The groove facilitates the installation and levelling of the clips. The only element that is different for the installation of each ceramic piece is the type of clip. All options have a B-s1, d0 reaction to fire.
In the case of the FTS 502B for GA16, a double clip anchors every panel and the one above, so the system has an additional safety in case of any breaks. Furthermore, with this type of clip the system becomes accessible after installation, as any panel can be removed and reinstalled at any time without having to disassemble any other piece around. This is very useful when a broken panel needs to be replaced or some works need to be done in the chamber some period after the installation is completed.
FTS 502B for GA20 uses a simple clip that holds the weight of the ceramic panel when installed on the bottom part, and that retains the tile against movement when installed into the top kerf. The system is particularly easy to install, as only the bottom clips need to be fixed. Moreover, this system allows vertical orientation of panels, taking advantage of the hollows of the extruded Faveker® GA20 ceramic tile. It has a stronger version, 502B+, that uses a 1 mm thicker clip, recommended for big size panels and projects with special requirements.
FTS 502B anchoring system for GA30 is very similar to the GA20 option, but uses a much more resistant clip to hold safely a panel that due to its thickness is much heavier.
HIDDEN ANCHORING SYSTEMS THAT USE PROFILES
The second group of systems (FTS 502A, FTS 506 and FTS 506 GR) includes those consisting of continuous and discontinuous horizontal profiles to anchor the ceramic panel. These do not include EPDM profiles so their reaction to fire is A1. These systems are made of flat vertical profiles on which horizontal profiles (continuous or discontinuous) are fixed. The main advantage of this type of systems is that they can adapt very well when the façade has an out-of-phase design, which allows to innovate with the aesthetics of the façade.
FTS 502A system is common to GA16 and GAV ceramic panels by Faveker®. It consists of a C- shaped aluminium continuous horizontal profile that that is anchored in the kerfs of the back of the ceramic panels. This system is accessible after installation, so tiles can be removed and reinstalled at any time in a very simple way.
FTS 506 system is the option of continuous horizontal profile for GA20 ceramic tile. Its installation is extremely easy and has a variation, FTS 506 GR, that uses only 15 cm discontinuous profiles, what results into important time and money savings.
In conclusion, the range of anchoring systems for Faveker® ventilated façades is very wide. Some projects will be open to the use of several systems, even to combine them, and there will be other projects that will require one single system for the whole building. Whichever is the case, the use of systems that have been authorized by an external independent organization is key to achieve results that comply with safety, durability and high performance.
More detailed information on each of the anchoring systems for Faveker® ventilated façades may be found at https://faveker.com/en/products/systems/ .
In addition, there is a large number of training resources such as installation videos (https://www.youtube.com/c/GresArag%C3%B3n/playlists) and installation books (https://faveker.com/en/downloads/installation-guides/) available, as well as a 3D simulator to view each of the systems before and after installing Faveker® ventilated façade.