What is a ventilated facade

Ventilated façades are an outdoor cladding building solution that can be applied to both new build and refurbished buildings. It is of special interest to architects for a number of reasons such as:

  • Improved thermal insulation.
  • Improves the façades’ continuous finish
  • Faster to install and to clean


Ventilated façades allow for the circulation of air between the supporting wall and the cladding material, such as marble, ceramic tiling, metallic panels, etc. In this manner, the supporting wall is protected from both the cold and heat resulting in energy savings.


ventilated façade operation

Air circulating in the chamber of the ventilated facade


Index of contents

  1. Ventilated façade elements
  2. How do ventilated façades work


Ventilated façade elements


Ventilated façades comprise the following elements:

Supporting wall

Any type of façade enclosure that may be used as a support to attach the ventilated façade. This can be a concrete or ceramic brick wall.

Thermal insulation

This is the material that provides thermal and acoustic insulation. It must be a continuous finish in order to avoid thermal bridging. Among the most commonly used options are projected or adhesive mortar bonded insulation.

Attachment method

These types of façades may be attached with any of the following methods:

  • Attachment points with resin anchor and threaded rod.
  • Profiles. It comprises a series of mounts attached to the supporting wall and anchor points that maintain the panelling fixed to the previously installed profiles.

Ventilated air chamber

Space between the supporting wall and the cladding material. In summer, it protects the supporting wall by allowing ventilation and preventing heat conductivity. Whereas in the winter, the chamber prevents humidity to be transferred to the supporting wall.

Natural stone panelling

Cladding installation is the last step in the ventilated façade process.

One of the most adequate materials to use in ventilated façades are the 3cm thick natural stone slabs, since these allow for a correct attachment with any of the above described methods. There is no specific slab size required for this type of façades. On the other hand, we must avoid using raw cut and polished natural stone finishes.

Following is a list of natural stones that can provide a good performance for this building system:


Detail of the elements a ventilated façade

Elements of a ventilated façade


How do ventilated façades work


Ventilated façades have a different type of performance depending on the outdoor temperature, varying greatly between seasons.

During the summer, the air chambers work like a chimney, i.e., sunlight hits the façade heating up the cladding and also the chamber. This hot air then rises making room for cooler air to cool down the chamber and maintaining the comfort inside the home..


Operation of a ventilated façade in summer

Operation of a ventilated façade in summer


In the winter, solar radiation is not as strong as to produce this chimney effect. However, the air inside the chamber remains warmer than the outdoor air, producing the effects of a heat accumulator that maintains the system’s thermal stability along with the thermal insulation that is attached to the supporting wall.


fOperation of a ventilated façade in winter

Operation of a ventilated façade in winter




Image: Wikipedia

Cover image: @acerojoaquintorres

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