These are façades that are constructed using self-supporting panels fixed or attached back to metal rails. The technology is relatively new and as such is not covered by national standards .
The most common systems :
- Single skin elZinc® panels such as slot-in façade panels and cassette panels
- Larson & elZinc composite material
- Larson & elZinc® honeycomb panels.
The joints between the panels are not 100% weather-tight, allowing some rainwater to drain down the backside of the panels during windy and rainy weather. A vented cavity behind the panels allows any moisture to evaporate and keeps the insulation dry. It also dissipates any moisture vapour that has penetrated through the insulation from the inside of the building.
Shadow joints are normally used between the panels. The façade panel system uses a tongue and groove joint, but cassette panels (whether single skin or composite) are not physically connected together and sit independently on the façade, as do face-fixed composite panels. Hidden fix systems work by hanging the panels onto the supporting substructure.
More appropriate for gently curving or flat surfaces
Gently curved façades can be facetted or even the panels themselves can be curved. However the latter is costly and so if a curved surface is required the more adaptable traditional systems are normally used.
Elegant and robust aesthetics
The joints between the panels create strong lines over the façade. The panel faces are flat (with none of the oil canning associated with traditional systems) and so create a solid look to the façade.
Use of a metal supporting system
The system will usually allow for adjustment in two or three directions, depending on the structure behind. Most panel types fit back to a metal rail sub-construction.