Why use aluminium for brise soleil?

Brise soleil systems were once cast in concrete. Timber has also been used extensively. Today, aluminium is regarded as the go-to material for solar shading blades. Why is that?

In a nutshell:

  • Aluminium is the most popular material for brise soleil systems today
  • It has an excellent fire rating of A1
  • It has a high strength-to-weight ratio and can span long distances
  • Aluminium offers great natural corrosion resistance but is also suitable for anodising and powder-coating
  • It supports modern methods of construction – lightweight and easy to install
  • Aluminium can look great – it can be extruded, shaped or curved according to architects’ designs

Here are five reasons to start off with.

Aluminium has an excellent fire rating

With an A1 fire-rating – the highest in the Euroclass system - aluminium is considered non-combustible. Even when coated (which will also increase the cost) timber is never going to score higher than A2.

Aluminium has a high strength-to-weight ratio

In short, aluminium is strong and lightweight. That means it can span longer distances with fewer fixings than timber, helping architects achieve the clean lines their designs often demand. Being lightweight, aluminium is also easier (and safer) to install – an important HSE factor.

Aluminium offers great corrosion resistance

A quick science lesson... when exposed to oxygen, aluminium develops a thin oxide layer on the surface, which protects it from corrosion. Even when damaged, the oxide layer will regenerate. Timber, on the other hand, always needs specialist treatment to prevent it from rotting, warping and cracking.

Aluminium supports modern methods of construction

Modular brise soleil systems can be assembled off-site, reducing the time (and risks) of on-site installation. Many façade specialists supply brise soleil as pre-assembled cassettes. Timber is typically too heavy for this approach and is therefore more labour-intensive to install.

Finally, aluminium can look great

We’ve talked about the clean lines, but aluminium can also be extruded, shaped or curved to bring architects’ bespoke designs to life. Powder-coating and anodising are great options for aesthetic purposes and longer-lasting protection. In fact, aluminium can even be powder-coated to look like wood.

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