Ventilating facades

While in previous decades ventilated façades were mainly used in office and public buildings, in recent years they are increasingly being used in the construction and renovation of new private houses.

Façade solutions can be broadly divided into two types: ventilated systems and classic plaster and brick façades. In a ventilated system, the back of the façade roof is well ventilated. This ensures the longevity and good appearance of the façade covering.

There is a wide range of ventilated systems, with wood, ceramics, metal, artificial and natural stone, as well as composite materials, all available as façade coverings. In common parlance, such façade systems are referred to as breathing, but this expression does not describe the actual physico-structural process.

The latest and most durable is the ventilated render façade, where the finishing render is applied to a cementitious or other material substrate, with an air gap behind it to allow water vapour that penetrates through the barrier to escape without damaging the façade surface. This type of façade solution is new in Estonia because of its high cost, but is already widely used elsewhere. This is particularly suitable in our climate, where the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures is large most of the year, resulting in an intensive movement of water vapour from a warmer room to a colder one – the outdoors.

The growing popularity of ventilated systems is also reflected in the design of classic stone and plaster façades as ventilated. Unfortunately, they are still rarely used in Estonia, due to the scarcity of knowledge and their apparently higher price. In fact, a solution that is cheap at the time of construction usually turns out to be considerably more expensive during its lifetime, due to high maintenance costs and short lifetime.