The facade of the house is an essential element within the whole. Not only is the first impression that any observer perceives by stopping their gaze on the construction. Its role transcends the mere aesthetic plane since, in practice; the facades of houses are the constructive elements that separate the interior from the exterior. From this point of view, issues such as orientation, materials, typology or execution acquire capital relevance. As part of the construction, its presence is decisive to meet the requirements of energy efficiency and interior comfort included in the current legal framework.

It is precisely that regulation and the evolution of the architecture itself that has given rise to new types of facades. Systems that, in practice, denote a greater concern for the optimization of buildings in terms of energy savings, as well as for the protection of the environment. The professionals of the sector are committed to solutions adapted to the new realities, offering sustainable and attractive alternatives capable of satisfying the needs of the owners and the legal imperatives.

What is a facade?

Language scholars define the term facade as the “exterior facing of a building, especially the main one.” However, in architecture, the reference encompasses not only the face of the construction, called the main facade, but also the rear, the side facades or interiors. The final objective of each of them is none other than the protection they offer with respect to external agents and, in this sense; their functionality is understood in terms of maintaining the necessary thermal and acoustic conditions inside. A separate chapter deserves the aesthetic question although it is a factor to consider when choosing a system or another.

Different studies indicate that the cost of air conditioning accounts for between 40 and 65% of the total expenditure of the building, an issue that reinforces the importance of having appropriate house facades. The north and east facades of the constructions of our country, are the scenario by which, during the cold months, the greatest energy losses are usually recorded while, in summer, it is the south and west faces that favor gains due to the incidence of sun hours. Having an adequate building or house envelope is essential for the maintenance of comfortable interior conditions that meet the parameters stipulated by the current legal framework.

Types of facades

The evolution of the facades has been remarkable. Until the middle of the last century, the traditional facade system materialized in a single sheet whose thickness was not taken into account (except in extreme climates) in terms of thermal insulation. The introduction of the air chamber between two sheets, more than half a century ago, and the popularization of thermal insulation years later, marked an evolutionary trend that has been improving over time. In general, we can talk about two fundamental types of facades:

– Light: they are light, easy to assemble and prone to the passage of natural light although expensive in terms of air conditioning due to their particular conditions in terms of thermal and acoustic insulation. Within this denomination we can differentiate between panel facades (based on vertical panels fitted together) and curtain walls (no load on the building and based, generally, on the combination of aluminum and glass elements)

– Heavy: Constructed with traditional materials distinguishing between: transventilated or ventilated facades (enclosure composed of an inner sheet, thermal insulation and outer sheet, mainly used in institutional buildings due to its cost) and prefabricated facades (composed of wall modules that are assembled about construction).

Materials for the facade

Each type of facade has a more or less suitable material for its design and execution. The choice depends not only on the particular tastes of the owners but also on the weather conditions that this constructive element must face. In practice, the most demanded coatings or raw materials for the building envelope are stone, wood, concrete or exposed brick.

It should be remembered that this constructive element is the main scenario of energy exchange of any construction with the exterior; hence the choice of materials is so important. At present, the proliferation of Passivhaus, that is, zero-consumption constructions or the return to traditional techniques following current parameters, have contributed to the materialization of sophisticated and intelligent solutions that, in short, seek to maximize resources by reducing resources the consumption and guaranteeing the optimal conditions of the buildings without resorting to the abuse of heating or air conditioning.

Basic parameters

The Technical Building Code is the regulatory framework that includes the requirements to which any construction must respond. In practice, these particularities refer to safety (both structural, fire or use) and habitability (understood in terms of health, protection against noise and energy efficiency.

It doesn’t matter if we talk about facades of small houses, institutional buildings, facades of beautiful or less graceful houses; all of them are subject to the current legality that, among other things, establishes clear norms for the envelope of any construction. In terms of energy efficiency, for example, the regulations establish that buildings must have a façade that limits “the energy demand necessary for thermal well-being”, taking into account, among other things, the local climate, the use of the building, the station or its characteristics of isolation and inertia.

Nor does the standard skimp on requirements regarding the acoustic conditions linked to the facade, understanding it in the broadest sense of the term. The ultimate purpose of its design and execution must be aimed at reducing the transmission of both air and impact or vibration noise. Safety issues, related to stability and resistance (mainly related to the incidence of wind) or fire protection specifications, are also included in the document governing any project.

What style to choose for the facade?

They say that the face is the mirror of the soul and, technical issues aside, the facade becomes that reflection of the interior of our house. Once you decide on the type or construction system it is possible to get the house envelope to acquire the character of a modern, rustic, minimalist facade … Conferring one style or another has a lot to do with the choice of materials.

If it is a question of obtaining rustic house facades, for example, the ideal option is to opt for a wood cladding or a stone facade although, in the case of the latter, the range of finishes is so wide that it can also give life to the face view of a modern house. This contemporary aesthetic can also be achieved by a brick or concrete cladding. The prefabricated metal facades or mortar plasters and plasters with finishes of different colors, are perfect for transferring a halo of minimalism and modernity to the whole.

In any case, professional advice is a guarantee of success, not only aesthetically but also structurally, do we talk?

For more ideas, please go to: tips Ideas to improve the functionality of industrial buildings where you will find the exterior design of an industrial building is as important as the interior.

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