What is Sintered Ceramic?

There are times we are asked “what is sintered ceramic?” so we thought we would help explain that to you today. You may have also heard it called man-made stone, artificial stone, sintered stone or ultra-compact surface.

Sintered ceramic is formed by heat and extreme pressure without melting to the point of liquefaction. Simplified, it is an accelerated version of what happens in nature over millions of years to create natural stone.

The process relies on using natural materials, ground down to small particles and then compacted under heat and pressure.

It starts with natural ingredients such as: Silica, Quartz, Feldspars, Clays and Mineral pigments.

The mix of powdered or sand materials determines strength, hardness, chemical stability, and workability. The ingredients are processed under extreme heat and a pressure of more than the weight of the Eiffel Tower to form one solid slab. It is fired in the kiln/oven at 1200 degrees to dry out and in doing so is baked and the particles are fused together.

Because the slab is made from natural materials, it is UV resistant. And, because it is put under such pressure and heat, it is highly resistant to scratching, extreme temperatures, water and stains. To find out more about Ceramitex – Sintered Ceramic Facade System go to our contact page and send us a message today.

 

If you have any trouble viewing the video – you can click the link to check out the first video in our Elemex Vlog Series

Hello and welcome to today’s episode. Today we are going to talk about exterior corners.
Here at Elemex, we prefer mitered corners on all our surfaces. As you can see by the examples, the mitered corner gives a striking dimensional appearance to any returning edge.

Open or butt corners are often used in the industry and here are a few samples of what that might look like.
The negatives about an open corner are that you can see into the system and see the insulation or framing behind the panels. This takes away from the exterior appearance.

Also an open joint system allow a lot more moisture into the system as snow and rain can go directly into the wall cavity.
Our prefabricated panels will keep your corners looking straight and not have to deal with lining up miters on site during installation.

What is Corten? Weathered steel is often referred to as corten and it usually takes 2-4 years to reach the rusty patina look.
Here is an example of an untreated piece of metal that has been exposed to moisture. As you can see – the material can be affected and stained by moisture or oils.

Another issue with the corten steel is that it can lead to rust staining on other parts of your building nearby.
You have probably noticed buildings with the look of corten as the rust develops naturally. The issue is that sometimes it is so unpredictable and uneven that it makes the building look shabby instead of aged. There are products on the market that can replicate the look without the mess and unforeseeable outcome.

Ceramitex includes an Iron Corten pattern that you could use on your building. It is very durable and has the look of corten from day one with the bonus of not fading or changing over time. As you can see how easily damaged real corten can get damaged versus Ceramitex.

If you have any trouble viewing the video – you can click the link to check out the third video in our Elemex Vlog Series

Today we are going to discuss the definition of efflorescence. Efflorescence occurs when salt migrates to the surface of a porous material like concrete, brick, stone or stucco and forms a coating. Salt that is dissolved in water or another liquid solution will move to the porous surface and then evaporate which leaves a coating of salt. It sometimes travels through the masonry or other construction material and occasionally it is already in the material and the water penetrates and moves it to the surface. This crystalline deposit of salts may appear white or have a grayish tint and often sparkles a bit.

The word efflorescence means “to flower out” in French and in these cases it is salt flowering out of the surfaces. These are samples of primary efflorescence which causes staining. Sub-efflorescence, also known as spalling, is much more expensive to fix and we cover that issue in another episode. Cleaning of the surface is often temporary and not necessarily a cure for future recurrence.

Using a facade like Ceramitex is a way of avoiding the issue altogether. The sintered ceramic is not porous like many masonry materials and repels water from the surface.

To see more about the Ceramitex or other Elemex facade systems, visit our website or contact a representative for more information.

Today we are going to talk about the definition and comparison of spalling. Spalling is the pitting, flaking, delaminating or cracks that appear in concrete or bricks when the temperature goes below freezing and the moisture trapped inside expands. It can even be caused by the embedded steel reinforcement bars corroding and causing stress on the surrounding concrete. Over the course of years this will worsen and could even lead to structural issues.

Spalling is not attractive and makes a building look unmaintained. It could potentially be hazardous as falling debris or trip hazards and the appearance lowers the value of the property.

Ceramitex – sintered ceramic facade system is a perfect choice for a durable exterior that won’t crack or delaminate as the sintering process of high heat and pressure doesn’t allow moisture to penetrate the surface. It is also graffiti, scratch and impact resistant.

To see more about the Ceramitex or other Elemex facade systems, visit our website or contact a representative for more information.

Today we are going to discuss color trends. We thought we would share some of our favorite and trending colors and tell you a bit about them.

Ceramitex is offered in solid colors, some that appear to be marble and others even look like wood. Some of the colors currently trending are Iron Corten and Trilium. The Satin finish is highly resistant and ideal for commercial applications.

Stonitex is our natural stone façade made of a granite surface. Some of the colors currently trending are American Black, Cambrian Black & Bethel White, some real classics.

You can see how well the various colors work with metal or stone surfaces.

With the colors of aluminum plate virtually endless and the ability to mix with natural stone as well, there are so many beautiful combinations available. Which combination will you choose?

For more information on color availability, visit our website or contact a representative for more information.

Today we will be talking about our Tru-90 -our precision route & return fabrication process for aluminum plate. This  delivers a superior aesthetic that requires no welding or grinding.

You can see the traditional Bullnose Edge which was the conventional method. This method is more labor involved and expensive as it requires welding and grinding.

Now we offer the Tru-90 Edge which is a more modern innovation for a clean finished look to the project. It also allows for a variety of facade panels including sintered ceramic, ACM, and natural stone to share the same look with a sharp clean edge on the return.

If you would like to find out more information about Tru-90 Aluminum Plate – you can contact a representative today.

A surface that is a challenge to keep clean can be frustrating so when it comes to your exterior cladding choice, we want to offer a durable product that is easy to maintain. Ceramitex -Sintered Ceramic Facade System does not require any special care and it is very easy to keep clean.

General cleaning just involves washing with water or a diluted, household detergent such as dishwashing liquid, which is enough to restore the surface to its original condition. Occasionally deeper cleaning might be needed especially following installation when cement may be left on the surface. Power washing at medium pressure is also an effective way of removing any deposits of dirt and grime.

Not all building facades warrant the same amount of care and attention. A buildings location, function, geographic and atmospheric conditions all play roles in determining the level of cleaning effort necessary to achieve the desired appearance.

Once again, thanks for watching and please subscribe now to keep updated on our vlog series.

Solstex by Elemex is a revolutionary facade system that enables designers and architects to incorporate lightweight, large-format photovoltaic panels into a building’s facade instead of on its roof. This unparalleled design flexibility is enhanced by the ability to be seamlessly integrated with the various Elemex facade systems including: Ceramitex – Sintered Ceramic, Alumitex (Plate or ACM) and Stonitex – Natural Stone.

Solstex leverages high-efficiency, weather-resistant photovoltaic panels that not only reduce your building’s carbon footprint, but also generate LEED credits and savings that cover the cost of installation within 10-12 years.

Solstex – Solar Facade System

  • reduces your building’s dependence on fossil fuels
  • generates up to 16.9 W/sq. ft.
  • earns up to five LEED credits
  • covers the cost of installation in 10-12 years
  • exceeds IEC standards in high temperature, high humidity, and extreme weather

With Solstex, your building will be uniquely designed to harness the power of the sun.

If you would like more information about our Solstex – Solar Facade System – you can check out the website at elemex.com or contact us at info@elemex.com.

Transit and High-Traffic Areas

Are you worried about protecting the exterior cladding for a project in a high traffic area? Whether you’re talking about an airport, a bus terminal, a train station or a busy downtown corner, Ceramitex® – Sintered Ceramic panels are ideal in high traffic areas as the sintered ceramic, unlike many other masonry materials, is non-porous. Ceramitex is made from natural materials and is UV resistant; it repels water and dirt, is easy to maintain and impervious to chemicals.

Ceramitex® panels are impact and scratch resistant, offering that added protection at street level on your transit or high traffic area project. Does your project require more than one type of facade panel such as Aluminum Plate or ACM in the design? Our Unity® attachment technology allows for seamless integration of a variety of facade panels on the same attachment platform, giving you multi-panel design freedom.

To learn more about why Elemex has the best cladding choice for your transit and high-traffic areas, check out our website today at www.elemex.com

Rainscreens

Today we will be talking about Rainscreens and specifically the difference between Drained and Back-Ventilated Rainscreens and Pressure-Equalized Rainscreens.

As a refresher a Rainscreen is the first line of defense against the elements.

A rainscreen system is an exterior wall detail where the cladding stands off from the water barrier applied to the sheathing to create a capillary break and to allow drainage and evaporation.

There are two types of rainscreens, first is the Drained and Back-Ventilated rainscreens (D/BV) and secondly is the Pressure-Equalized Rainscreens (PERS).

The biggest difference between the two is that Drained and Back-Ventilated rainscreens are traditionally an open joint system that allow you to see between the panels and see the cavity of the wall system. Exposing insulation and the Air-Vapor-Barrier to the elements and harmful UV rays.

A Pressure-Equalized Rainscreen has a closed joint via infill strips that act as air dams in both vertical and horizontal joints.

The air pressure equalizes and keeps rain and snow from getting driven into the wall cavity – This significantly reduces the amount of moisture that goes into our system. Our systems have passed the AAMA 508-07 test for pressure equalization.

If you have any questions regarding rainscreens and wish to speak to one of our experts please contact us at info@elemex.com

NFPA 285 Fire Test

Ceramitex has passed rigorous North American testing and we, at Elemex, continue to acquire testing that allows us to build in high-velocity hurricane zones and other strong weather areas.

Today we are going to look at the NFPA 285 test being performed on the Ceramitex facade system.

The NFPA 285 is the test for the Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non-Load Bearing Wall Assemblies.

First, a wall is built that includes all of the components of the wall assembly. You can see that there is an opening in the middle of the wall which will be used to simulate a fire breaking out of a window and migrating to the building’s facade. The height measurements are noted on the surface.

Within minutes you can see the fire plume begin to exit the window, and at the 5-minute mark the exterior burner is ignited, which adds to the intensity of the flames on the wall assembly. Gas flow rates are increased throughout the testing period, to mimic a growing fire.

Gas flow rates and burner placements are critical for the uniform heat distribution requirements and temperature requirements specified in the testing standard.

The testing requires that the flame propagation is not high enough to ignite the floor above the floor of origin which prevents the assembly from acting as a chimney and causing fires that spread to multiple floors by way of the exterior of the building.

Conditions of acceptance include: flame height not exceeding 10 feet vertically or 5 feet horizontally from the center of the window head within the 30 minute time-frame, and temperature data during the test must not exceed the specified temperature.

You can see the full list of tests on our website and within the Spec Data sheet for all of our products including Ceramitex, Alumitex, Stonitex and Solstex.

Subscribe to our channel today to learn more about facades with definitions, comparisons, and more.

And check out our website at Elemex.com for information on all of our products.

New 2020 Ceramitex® Colors

Moving forward into this new decade, we thought we would share with you the newest colors available for Ceramitex. New to our 8mm Ceramitex collection, we are excited to introduce Baltic, Feroe, Liquid Sky, Liquid Embers, Liquid Shell, Helena, Khalo, Laurent and Rem. These gorgeous colors were inspired by the latest trends in design, are aesthetically innovative, and touch on the future of global trends. A variety of finishes are available, including velvet, polished, matte and ultramatte.

With a look inspired by Italian Carrara Marble, our new 6mm Ceramitex in Calacatta Luxe offers bold veining in dark gray, blue, brown and gold on a bright white background. Also joining our 6mm collection is Just White, offering a classic, clean and pure look. So, whether your next project design is modern, traditional or sophisticated, we can achieve your vision. If you’re interested in seeing our full color availability or you’d like samples, please reach out to us at info@elemex.com

Today we will be talking about UNITY® our proprietary attachment technology. Unity is engineered to work with all Elemex exterior cladding surfaces to create all-in-one facade system.

Some of the features and benefits of Unity are:

  • Seamless Integration – The Unity technology allows for seamless integration of a variety of facade panels on the same attachment platform, giving you multi-panel design freedom.
  • Ease of Installation – Each of our facade systems follows the same installation method giving installers the ability to efficiently install our systems on site.
  • Design Flexibility – Unity supports both simple and elaborate projects; from flat panels to complex shapes and sizes. Engineered for complete architectural design control.
  • Proven Performance – Elemex has a 50+ year history in the facades industry and all our facade systems are North American code compliant.

The Unity® Attachment System can be used the following products:
Alumitex® ACM, Alumitex® Plate, Ceramitex®, Solstex , Stonitex®

If you have any questions regarding Unity and wish to speak to one of our experts, please contact us at info@elemex.com or visit us at elemex.com

Your building’s facade is the first line of defense against the elements.
There is only a certain amount of patching that can be done to extend the lifespan of a crumbling or outdated exterior. If you are finding air or water infiltration, the leaks may present as staining, drafts or even extreme damage. It may be time to consider recladding, and you can use this opportunity to create an efficient barrier with less maintenance and an updated look.

Here are a few examples of recladding that have been completed with our Ceramitex® – sintered ceramic and Alumitex® – aluminum facade system. Solstex is our solar facade that could be incorporated as you are updating and planning for environmental and efficiency considerations. Our project management team is your resource to help optimize, coordinate, and facilitate your project. Contact us today and let us assist you in choosing the best products for your reclad project.

We are all in this together. You have continuing education requirements; we have the courses you need to help maintain your credentials. Licensed architects must earn continuing education credits each year to fulfill AIA membership requirements and if you are working on getting licensed, some AIA-approved courses count toward the experience requirement for licensure. Continuing your education is important to you and Elemex is committed to helping you meet the challenge of this uncertain new landscape. So, whether you are working from home or the office, we are available to support you virtually, including virtual presentations and CEU’s.

After participating in our Innovations in Rainscreen Surfaces and Mounting Systems CEU presentation, you should be able to:

  1. Discuss how modern rainscreens are a vital part of a water management system intended to work with the building envelope
  2. List the common terms and definitions related to rainscreens and rainscreen mounting systems
  3. Describe the most common types of materials used for rainscreens
  4. Compare and contrast rainscreen installation methods, fasteners, and new attachment technology
  5. Evaluate and specify the most appropriate rainscreen systems and materials for projects

Upon completion, we will report your course credit to the AIA on your behalf and you will receive 1 AIA LU as well as a certificate of completion. Reach out to us today at info@elemex.com and let us help you continue your education requirements and we may even treat you to lunch! Thanks for watching.

Today we will be talking about non-combustible materials specifically our Alumitex® Plate product. Aluminum Plate is a high strength, low weight aluminum alloy sheet that is durable and has excellent formability. The solid aluminum plate panels are non-combustible and therefore have no installation limitations.

The International Building Code (IBC) requires that external wall assemblies (cladding, insulation, and walls) on high-rise buildings with combustible components must pass a rigorous real-world test made known by the National Fire Protection Association under the name NFPA 285. In the United States, the use of PE core ACM on high rise buildings has been heavily regulated for decades. In Canada we have done the CAN/ULCS-114 test for non-combustibility. Our panels meet and exceed these test standards allowing you to use our panels in any capacity on the building facade.

There were several issues worldwide with combustible material cladding being used, specifically non fire-rated Aluminum Composite Material (PE – or polyethylene) instead of FR (Fire Rated) core which doesn’t comply with the building code. This can have devastating consequences as we have seen over the years with major fires due to improper cladding.

At Elemex®, we are manufacturing facade panels rather than just supplying sheets so we know the details of the building in advance and therefore which products should be used as per the regulations. We have seen a trend of using Aluminum Plate rather than ACM for many buildings now, as it is solid and won’t burn like some composites. The advantage of plate is that there is the versatility of creating crisp lines or curves and there is endless possibility of color choices as it is post painted.

For more information about Alumitex® Plate, contact us at info@elemex.com.

Today we want to feature a building in Ottawa, Canada that we think you will find interesting. NORR was tasked with completing renovations for the Canada Science and Technology Museum for Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations.

The project required: envelope upgrades, new mechanical and electrical systems, new entrance facilities and overall aesthetic enhancements to the museum. The 80,000 sq. ft. exhibition space and over 2,900 artifacts needed an impressive exterior to represent the world-class experience contained within. As you approach the building, the use of Ceramitex® provides a beautiful white facade that amalgamates with the intricate angles of the building elevations and roof.

Something that is quite exciting and impressive is that it doubles as a 250-foot long projection screen with an integrated lighting system. The National Film Board of Canada created an astonishing video, and using 4 large projectors, it is cast across the length of the building. You can see that at times it lines up the various visual elements with the vertical lights integrated into the wall and the lights are timed for movement with the video. Here you can see that example with the wind turbine towers. The images relate to some of the exhibits inside including: locomotives, artifacts, mining, space, medicine, microscopes, telescopes and more. Not only is it an educational tool using images and animations to tell the story of science and technology through the ages – it is truly an amazing sight! This well-known Ottawa institution has certainly achieved the appearance of a national museum and is worth seeing inside and out!

In part one of this two part series, we are going to explore things you need to plan for to avoid some common mistakes made in the facade industry, and we will look at how Elemex can help alleviate some of these issues with our 50+ years experience.

Mistake #1: Insufficient or lack of shop drawings. Detailed shop drawings are required for preplanning of installation and fabrication details for each specific project. An ideal shop drawing package will include detailed notes itemizing all the components that go into the facade assembly; they should include information such as plans, elevations, section and details; and a comprehensive panel layout used to determine a successful path for installation. Shop drawings allow for preplanning which can help to identify and avoid future site issues. It is extremely important to be set up for success with proper shop drawings that you can quickly reference at any time during a facade installation.

Mistake #2: Importance of adequate substructure. Some facade materials, such as Ceramitex sintered ceramic panels, assure great performance and longevity when designed and installed correctly, which rely on a good substructure. When a substructure has out-of-plane conditions, the additional deflection will place unnecessary stress on panels and the fastening systems, resulting in panel damage and distortion. At Elemex, considerations are made to ensure the structural integrity of each product supplied. Designing and installing a substructure that suits the various products fastened to it and one that is engineered to confront the dynamic conditions surrounding it, will give the frontline systems the advantage they require to deliver on performance. All sub framing should be approved by a local licensed professional engineer.

Mistake #3: Engineering errors and installation flaws. A common error in substructure design and installation occurs at slab edges where vertical sub framing is extended over traditional points of deflection. The result is the substructure buckles, and the facade will crack or bow. The Elemex framed panel systems are mounted onto a specially designed framing system in either a vertical or horizontal position. Precise site measurements and the use of trained installers ensures accurate fabrication and a successfully completed project. Please tune in next time for part two, where we discuss the final two common mistakes made in the facade industry. Thanks for watching, and don’t forget to subscribe.

Welcome back to part two of our series focusing on common mistakes made in the facade industry. Today we are going to begin with
Mistake #4: Expansion and contraction issues. All facade materials will expand and contract, and some design failures happen when the fluctuations in facades and their substructures are ignored. Because of extreme temperatures and humidity, facades can crack, spall, warp or have an oil canning effect. Not only are cracks in the facade unattractive, they are exposed paths for moisture penetration into the building enclosure. The Ceramitex system by Elemex, at maximum length of 12’0”, has a movement capacity within the structural silicone to accommodate the difference in coefficient of thermal expansion between the aluminum frame and the sintered ceramic veneer from -30°C to +70°C. Accurate design should accommodate the materials tendency for expansion and contraction and allow for movement of adjoining facade materials.

Mistake #5: Incorrect ventilation. Using direct bond or other non-ventilated applications can result in moisture retention and water damage. Elemex facade systems are designed with a pressure equalized rear ventilated rainscreen in mind. Pressure-equalization reduces the pressure difference across the cladding using compartmentalization and back venting. Ingress of incidental water is reduced, and residual moisture is returned to the exterior at the drainage plane. The infill strips will protect against exposure to insulation and interior components from moisture and harmful UV rays.

Contact us today to see how our team of experts can assist in avoiding these common mistakes and let us be a part of your next project from concept to completion!

Mallory: Today we are sitting down with Dan Boyd, General Manager & Vice President, to learn more about his role here at Elemex. Thank you for joining us today Dan.

Dan: Thank you – thanks for having me.

Mallory: Please explain in your own words what you do here at Elemex.

Dan: Yes, I am the Vice President and General Manager at Elemex and I oversee the operations of this company. We supply exterior wall products all over North America and we go from the sales, estimating, design, to delivery of panels on site.

Mallory: Perfect. How long have you been with the company?

Dan: Seventeen years now.

Mallory: Amazing! What is the most fulfilling part of your job?

Dan: I think just seeing the projects that are being erected and seeing the final photos of these projects. And getting a sense of the good feeling you see with these projects going up. And just enjoying the day to day operations with the employees.

Mallory: What does a typical day for you look like?

Dan: I have a lot of standup meetings just to make sure the operations and everything is just going well. We go through each one of the projects, pretty much on a daily basis just to make sure everything is going fine. And then if there are any issues, then I sometimes I have to deal with it – depending on, you know, the size of the issue or whatever. So, basically just overseeing everything, making sure everything is going properly.

Mallory: Do you have a favorite project or building that you have worked on?

Dan: Yes I do. I would say that the CSTM project in Ottawa would be the biggest and best project that I have ever been involved with. It is over 120,000 sq ft of exterior wall. So, I was involved in that and enjoyed every minute of that.

Mallory: Beautiful. What would be three words you would use to describe your role?

Dan: Rewarding, tough and satisfying.

Mallory: Awesome. What is your biggest achievement to date – Personal or professional?

Dan: I think maybe growing the company would be my business achievement. When I first started here 17 years ago – there were 4 of us. And now I am up to 40 plus. So I think that is my biggest achievement is growing the company over the last so many years and enjoying every part of that.

Mallory: What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

Dan: Play a lot of sports. Golf, hockey and, you know, I work out a few times a week. And that is basically what I do.

Mallory: Well, thanks for your time today Dan – and thank you for watching and don’t forget to subscribe!

Thank you for joining us! Here at Elemex, we educate contractors to increase our ever-growing team of preferred installers who have attended a specialized training program and who continuously install the systems per product specifications and installation guides. This one-and-a-half-day training class is offered to select contractors by invitation and consists of two mandatory components: attend the Elemex training class at our head office and job site assistance.

Curriculum covers the application of relevant Elemex panel systems and installation methods. For the contractors first project using Elemex façade systems, an installation expert from Elemex will assist the contractor with the project mock-up. The approval of a mock-up is required on all Elemex projects per product specifications. Supplementary Elemex support is available for assistance with the installation of the Elemex façade systems for an additional fee. Upon completion of the program, all Elemex Certified Installers will receive a binder including:

  • An Elemex training certificate
  • Various product & Installation guides
  • Training & Foreman support agreement
  • Installation & instructional videos list
  • And Elemex certified installer hard hat stickers

We are the future of architectural façade systems and we want you to be a part of our success. Reach out today to info@elemex.com

Thanks for watching.

Earlier this year we looked at some new color releases for Ceramitex. We are excited to share with you that our collection is continuously growing and today we are going to look at new color’s that have just been released.

New to our 8mm Ceramitex collection are: Bromo, Kreta, Milar, Sasea, Uyuni and Vera. With veining and a cement background, Vera is a fusion between natural and industrial, highlighting the most elegant elements of both.

New to our 6mm collection are: Summer Dala, Winter Dala, Amazonico, Abu Dhabi White, Layla, and Himalaya Crystal. Dala comes in two styles, Summer and Winter. One representing freshly cut timber, the other a weathered dramatic look of the trees on a windswept coast.

All of these visually captivating colors are available for your next facade project so please reach out to us today and we would be happy to send you samples. Check out the full collection of Ceramitex colors.

Whether you are an Architect or a Designer, we can help get you and your client a variety of samples.

First off, we have our small mock up panels which is a scaled down representation of our Unity® system. First, we offer it in different materials such as Ceramitex®, Alumitex® Plate and a mixed board.

It’s showing off that our attachment system, regardless of the materials on the front, is exactly the same for each product. With the plexi backing, it gives you the ability to see behind the system and see the attachment clips.

For Ceramitex, we offer small samples of the face material to help with color selection. We also have full color charts available so you can select the colors that will work best for your projects.

Sometimes you may need a larger sample for product approval and we can work with you to arrange those as well.

A color chart is available for our Alumitex ACM samples to assist you in narrowing down your search prior to sending hard samples. Our Alumitex Plate, since it is a post painted product, is supplied in a Silver (2 coat – Mica) but we will provide paint chips for the color you are looking for.

Also available is our Stonitex samples which are small pieces of natural granite.

Don’t forget we have a full library of brochures, and spec sheets, etc. for all our products in digital and print versions.

We can ship directly to you or the client – whatever works best for you.

You can see our full range of colors and products on the website at Elemex.com

Harness the power of the sun! Today we are on site at EllisDon, a major contractor’s local office to introduce you to Solstex – Solar Facade System. As you know, Solstex is a revolutionary facade system that enables designers and architects to incorporate lightweight, large-format photovoltaic panels into a building’s facade instead of on its roof. The best part is Solar panels are ideal for both new construction and retrofits. What I love most is that the surface, which resembles black glass, is ideal in combination with other surfaces such as Aluminum Plate, ACM, sintered ceramic, and natural stone. Along with Stonitex natural granite, Solstex was selected on this project to highlight the capability and ingenuity of the façade company. Solstex is a renewable energy product offering that generates clean energy for use within any building.

This project utilizes thin-film CdTe solar technology to generate electricity from solar irradiance. Over 1200 sq. ft. of Solstex was installed, representing a DC wattage of 18.4 kilowatts. The AC output of the project is 15 kilowatts. Fun fact! In its first year, this facade will generate approximately 17,500 kilowatt-hours, enough to power 100 60 watt light bulbs for a full year. This visually stunning product allows you to receive the energy benefits from the PV as well as the discount on the cost of the system against traditional cladding materials. That brings us to how along with the financial benefits of Solstex come the environmental benefits. Photovoltaics generate clean energy which reduce carbon emissions when compared to oil-based energy sources. This can be measured in a variety of ways, primarily either by the weight of the CO2 displaced or the equivalent trees that would need to be planted to have the same carbon displacement. This project displaces 8.75 tons of carbon in its first year, which is equivalent to planting a whopping 225 medium growth coniferous trees. This means that over the lifetime of the project (25 years), almost 200 tons of carbon will be displaced. Solstex by Elemex is a product that promotes corporate responsibility and sustainable building design. Thank you so much for joining us on site today!

Continuing with our employee profiles, today we are sitting down with Kevin Silva, Project Coordinator to learn more about his role here at Elemex. Thank you for joining us Kevin!

Kevin: Thank you for having me.

Mallory: Please explain in your own words what you do here at Elemex.

Kevin: I’ve been a project coordinator here for Elemex for the last 6 years. So, basically, what that involves is producing fabrication drawings, ensuring everything is going smoothly with the shop, coordinating drafting with our drafting team, and ordering any materials for the jobs, and, also, ordering deliveries to site.

Mallory: Awesome, and how long have you been with the company?

Kevin: So, I’ve been with the sister company, Ontario Panelization for about 9 years and been working with Elemex for 6 of that 9 years.

Mallory: Great. What is the most fulfilling part of your job?

Kevin: Working with the team and seeing them progress with their knowledge and how projects are going. It is awesome – just having them come to me with questions and then seeing them figure it out themselves. It’s pretty great to see, just because, you know, I view myself as a resource, so having them come to me is awesome. And then once you get to see a completed project, it makes you feel pretty good.

Mallory: That’s great. What does a typical day for you look like?

Kevin: So most of my time is creating fabrication drawings, like I was mentioning, coordinating between the drafting team and the shop, and just kind of answering any calls that the installers may have. So, whether it is ETA’s for shipments or questions regarding the install sequence, and pretty much general questions like that.

Mallory: And do you have a favorite project or building that you have worked on?

Kevin: So, no one can really forget their first project. So mine was Nordstrom. It was kind of my first major Ceramitex job. But, to date, my most favorite job to look at is Elliot Park Hotel. It was a simple job but the colors that the architect chose and how that incorporated into the design, it just turned out really cool.

Mallory: Yeah, it is beautiful. What is your biggest achievement to date? Personal or professional.

Kevin: Um, well, like I said, in 9 years I have seen a lot of jobs come and go. Some have been pretty interesting but I would have to say it is a person achievement. So, I got married 5 years ago, have two beautiful children and another one on the way, so I’d say that is a pretty big achievement for me.

Mallory: That is great – congratulations. What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

Kevin: So, like I just said, I am a family man so I spend a lot of time hanging out with my family, either hiking or doing stuff around the house with them. And another big passion of mine, as a hobby, I love doing woodworking, so I spend a lot of time doing that too.

Well, thanks, Kevin, for sharing your time with us today. Keep up the good work! Thank you for watching and don’t forget to subscribe!

Mallory: Continuing with our employee profiles, today we are joined by Hugh Lowry, Special Projects Engineer, to learn more about his role here at Elemex. Thank you for joining us Hugh.

Hugh: Thanks for having me.

Mallory: Can you please explain in your own words what you do at Elemex?

Hugh: So, the official role is Special Projects Engineer, but, a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Basically, what I mean by that is that I handle all sorts of certifications and testing that might go on in the company as well as any rapid prototyping and R&D activities.

Mallory: Interesting – so cool. What is the most fulfilling part of your job?

Hugh: Probably the idea of taking something from a design phase and seeing it all the way through to an actual commercial phase. Something like, you know, solar or different extrusion ideas to designing something on a computer-based workspace and then taking it out into the field. It is a really fulfilling part of my job.

Mallory: Absolutely. What does a typical day for you look like?

Hugh: Well, the nature of the job kind of varies on a day-to-day basis but I would say something like maybe doing a couple of designs in the morning, maybe throwing that on the rapid prototyper, maybe having a test call with the lab in the afternoon to discuss our certifications. Then maybe at the end of the day, looking at the fit of that 3D printed part and doing some testing with that.

Mallory: Can you tell us a little bit about the EllisDon project that you worked on?

Hugh: For sure! That is the project we are standing next to right now. It was our first project with solar – so Solstex is our line. Um, it was a really challenging project, just due to the nature of solar and the nature of trying to integrate a BIPV cladding on to a structure.

Mallory: What were some considerations that this job had over standard projects?

Hugh: Well, the first consideration was definitely the electrical aspect. We had to take into account a lot of different factors like the characteristics of the panel and the safety requirements of electrical systems which is an entirely new kind of field for us. But, with the help of EllisDon and some of our other partnerships, we gained the technical knowledge to get it done.

Mallory: That is great. Were there any specific challenges that you had to overcome?

Hugh: Specifically, the panels themselves. We had trouble sourcing a panel that would stand up to our rigorous testing and our rigorous standards. But we finally settled on one and that is the panel you can see behind us.

Mallory: Fantastic. What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

Hugh: Aside from the usual things like exercise and sports, I have a couple of niche hobbies. Like, I really enjoy smoking meats and other types of foods and I really enjoy playing with my dog.

Mallory: That is awesome. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today Hugh and keep up the good work. Thank you for watching and don’t forget to subscribe.

The gorgeous and elegant Huron Residence features our Ceramitex® – Sintered Ceramic Facade System.

Simplicity of form and contextual integration were the main design focus. The upper-level cantilevers over the lower level and the basement are embedded into the natural landscape, integrating it with the surroundings. The client wished for a highly durable and low maintenance finish, so they chose Ceramitex® – Sintered Ceramic in Strata Argentum and Nero Zimbabwe. The project contained numerous large, multi-faced mitered panels including the wing and eyebrow above the garage and the BBQ canopy. Another interesting design element is that the BBQ canopy soffit plane carries into the interior kitchen through the curtain wall. This is only achievable with precise measuring and installation. The most challenging aspect of the job was designing the panels around the fireplaces located in the master bedroom and great room. Two types of ceramic fins were designed for the exterior fireplace and six different ceramic fin profiles were needed for the interior fireplaces. It was a very ambitious design and the product really speaks volumes to the level of experience and ingenuity of design, fabrication, and installation.

SAOTA is a dynamic architectural practice based out of Cape Town and has a global footprint with prestigious projects on 6 continents. They have a consistent and clear direction and are driven by a philosophy of connecting function and form. Their distinctive work is instantly recognizable. They are often featured in design and architecture magazines around the world.

The client had a distinct vision which posed many design challenges. The various unique details required working closely with the architect, client, and contractor to ensure the details coincided with the design intent. Much of the custom detailing was in response to the mitered ceramic returns into diffusers, light recesses, shade track and roof access hatches. The biggest challenge was designing these details while also considering the panel install sequence. The results speak for themselves.

In today’s episode we will be discussing Ceramitex®, our sintered ceramic cladding vs limestone cladding.

Ceramitex has many benefits over limestone panels in performance and installation.

First we are going to talk about the performance advantages.

Ceramitex is a non-porous product which means it will not absorb any liquid or chemicals. It is also not prone to etching or weathering. Natural limestone, on the other hand, is traditionally a porous material, which can lead to efflorescence and material failures due to freeze/thaw cycles. This gives Ceramitex a massive benefit as we are not only weather resistant but also graffiti resistant, outlasting the natural products.

Slab sizes for Ceramitex come in at an astounding 4’x12’ and 5’x10’6” while maintaining a ¼” thickness, and a total system weight of 4lbs/SF.

Install for limestone systems have a few different ways.

  • Handset cladding
  • Direct Bond
  • Rainscreen application

Ceramitex install is fast and efficient and our panels are coming prefabricated to your specifications and show up on site ready to install. We use a concealed attachment clip system that sets our joint spacing automatically and consistently with a crisp 1/2” joint, while concealing any fasteners or insulation through the joints.

The best feature of all is that with Ceramitex we use our miter corners to a max of 2’, so we can have returns into the head/jam and sills of windows and doors! We can also miter outside corners, parapets and soffits.

Ceramitex has a large range of colors and finishes with new designs every year, including a number of colors comparable to natural limestone.

So next time you’re thinking about limestone, think about Ceramitex instead for better performance and longevity!

80 Atlantic Avenue in Toronto uses 19,455 sq ft. of Ceramitex – Sintered Ceramic Facade System as well as 3,000 sq. ft. of Alumitex Plate by Elemex. The 5-storey office building, located in Toronto’s Liberty Village (a former manufacturing district) was designed by BDP Quadrangle and constructed by Eastern Construction Company.

This mass timber project is leading a resurgence of using wood for construction (using new methods) and is being recognized as a means of offsetting more greenhouse gases and sequestering carbon. A building of this height is required to have a non-combustible exterior wall assembly, and both of these products are compliant.

The South-facing glass side of the building, overlooks a shared courtyard and the remaining 3 sides are covered with Ceramitex, a durable pressure-equalized rainscreen system that blends with the desired feel for the neighborhood. The building is designed to be a contemporary remake of historic brick-and-beam warehouses and to replicate the transition to the century-old loft and studio style. The punched window design, as well as the buff-colored surface, is a modern take on the old style within a new structure.

You can see where Ceramitex was used for soffits in some areas and aluminum plate that matched it in others. Aluminum plate in graphite grey was used on the West-facing entrance and towards the back end of the building. You can see that here in the alley on the North side which also includes an art installation at ground level.

The sloped mitered sills were angled for the punched windows and a knife-edged jamb was designed to transition to the Southern curtainwall. Oversized multi-faceted corner panels were produced to maintain the design where the punched windows wrap around the North elevation.

If you are considering using the durable and versatile Ceramitex for your next project, check out more examples on the website at Elemex.com or contact us today for more information.

80 Atlantic project page: https://elemex.com/projects/80-atlantic-toronto-ontario/

(Mallory) Today we are on site and speaking with Greg Rebelo, Site Foreman & Lead Installer with Elemex. Thank you for joining us today Greg.

(Greg) Thanks for having me.

(Mallory) Please explain in your own words what you do at Elemex.

(Greg) In house, in Ontario, I’m the leading jobs foreman, helping our crews. North America wide, I do a lot of training with different site installers that we throughout all of North America for our products.

(Mallory) How long have you been with the company?

(Greg) I’ve been with the company for probably about 8 or 9 years now.

(Mallory) What is the most fulfilling part of your job?

(Greg) Being a leader, having people look up to you. Sharing your knowledge.

(Mallory) What does a typical day look like for you?

(Greg) Typically, in house, a lot of site setup in the morning, getting the guys going. When I am doing Elemex travelling, I am with guys on site, walking through how all of the components work, how the system goes together and keeping them going on their projects.

(Mallory) Do you have a favourite project or building that you have worked on?

(Greg) 200 Amsterdam is probably one of my favorites in New York. It is a very, very tall building. That was a special one. This West 5 complex has numerous buildings that we have worked on and put our products on to. They’ve had some challenges and stuff and that has been exciting good to work with all of this.

(Mallory) What 3 words best describe your role?

(Greg) Leader, hard-nosed and organized.

(Mallory) What is your greatest achievement to date, personal or professional

(Greg) My kids being number one – I have 4 beautiful children. I’ve played a lot of sports, a lot of high-level soccer, so that, actually a great accomplishment as well.

(Mallory) What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

(Greg) I enjoy nature walks, as I mentioned, sports. I enjoy soccer, golf, hockey. A lot of different activities that keep me busy.

(Mallory) Thank you for your time today Greg and for having us on site.

Thank you for watching, and don’t forget for get to subscribe!

Hello and welcome to today’s episode where we will be discussing Canopies and Entrances.

So what is a Canopy exactly?  A canopy is an overhead roof structure that has open sides. Canopies are typically intended to provide shelter from the rain or sun, but also may be used for decorative purposes, or to give emphasis to a route or part of a building whereas a building’s entranceway is the threshold between the interior and exterior of a building. It contributes to the overall identity of the development and plays an important role in the impression and experience formed by visitors.

What types of Material can be used on these features?

First, and the most common material used is ACM. The advantage of using aluminum composites derives from their unique lightweight, yet rigid construction, with endless design options. From basic squares and rectangular designs to complex, and curved shapes – ACM will add elegance and appeal to your canopies and entryways.

A close second for Elemex is Ceramitex – our Sintered Ceramic product. Ceramitex is a non-porous product which means it will not absorb any liquid or chemicals. It is also not prone to etching or weathering. This gives Ceramitex an advantage as it is not only weather resistant but also graffiti resistant, outlasting the natural products and composites. This makes Ceramitex perfect for public entrances as you can have a durable product that looks good and is easy to maintain without having to worry about damage.

A third product that is becoming more popular for canopies is Alumitex Plate; our Aluminum Plate System. This is due to solid plate being highly resistant to incidental dents and punctures but also due to its non-combustibility. Lastly, it’s virtually limitless colors and finish options help you display your brands image.

So regardless of the material you choose, our UNITY integrated attachment technology is engineered to work with all of Elemex’s exterior cladding surfaces to create all-in-one superior facade systems. The UNITY technology allows for seamless integration of a variety of facade panels on the same attachment platform, giving you multi-panel design freedom.

So next time you’re thinking about canopies or entrances for your next project, think about using Elemex products for a superior product and expert support to help you bring your designs to life.

(Mallory) Today I am sitting down with Paul Conners, President of Conners Sales Group to learn more about his partnership as a sales agent with Elemex. Thank you for joining me today Paul.

(Paul) A pleasure to be with you here today. Thank you for the opportunity to talk to you about Elemex.

(M) How would you describe your relationship with the Elemex team?

(P) The experience that I have had with Elemex so far is the fact that you have very seasoned young professional people. They are trained by an older generation of Elemex staff and mentored and that translates really well to sales people. We are actually hundreds of miles away from the plant and so when you are talking to the Elemex people, you are requesting things from them, it is important to have a professional detailed approach as you have from the Elemex staff.

(M) How has your partnership with Elemex enabled you and your company to better service the architecture & design community?

(P) The design community deals with hundreds if not thousands of different products and so their knowledge, their deep dive knowledge of each product is pretty overwhelming and this is where they come to rely on people like myself and the team at Elemex. Elemex has done their homework, they have put together tested product data; they have put together professional brochures. They’ve put together the service on the front end to help the architect with their design details and engineering and this all translates into better drawings for the architectural and design community.

(M) What has been the most fun and rewarding aspect for you and your company in partnering with the Elemex team?

I think one of the fun and rewarding things about Elemex is the fact that they have a young and vibrant staff and that energy is translated in our direction. It is contagious, and also, you know, the Canadians, they know how to drink beer and so we could learn something from all of that. I think it has been fun to work with Elemex. They have an edge to them that really is contagious as I said earlier so it has been fun.

(M) What kind of success have you seen in the market with Ceramitex and what has been the response of the architecture and design community?

(P) The A & D community has been extremely receptive to Ceramitex. They are looking for an innovative product. They are looking for something that is cutting edge and Ceramitex meets the criteria. It is as close to natural stone as you can get. What Elemex has done is to attach it to what they call a Unity system which is the chassis and anchors back into the building. And when you show the details, those complete details to the A & D community, they perk up right away and notice that this thing has been thought through very well. The most important thing though is this has long-term durability, and that long-term durability translates well to the owners or the people who will occupy and maintain that building. If they go with products that aren’t as durable, and have to be maintained continuously, that presents a problem both to the design community and as well as the owners. They are not going to get that with Ceramitex.

(M) What are your thoughts about future opportunities for you and your company with the Ceramitex Facade System?

(P) We think the future opportunities for Ceramitex facades is tremendous. The market is really going toward a more organic look. Also, unlike 20 years ago where most buildings were built of curtain wall and glass, today it is a hybrid approach of curtain wall, window systems and cladding. And a majority of the wall systems today are probably equally cladding as they are compared to glass. So that puts us in a good position to supply a Ceramitex facade. The other thing is that we are here, I can’t speak for other areas of the country, but we are here in the Washington DC area where many of the buildings are government buildings, owned and occupied by the government. From day one they are expecting a durable material and they want that look to maintain and to look as good as it did from the first time it was installed and through the decades that they will have that building.

(M) Paul, I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with me. Keep up the great work!

The luxurious ette Hotel is located only a few miles South of the famous theme park in Florida and is set to open in the summer of 2021.

The marble finish on the front entrance of the building uses the Ceramitex® Sintered Ceramic Facade System which complements the marble surfaces in the lobby space.

The architect and owner were looking for a woodgrain option for around the pool and the facade of the building, but needed it to be durable enough for a high-velocity zone. Ceramitex® was proposed as an alternative to natural wood for the superior strength and durability, and the classic walnut brown woodgrain appearance is a perfect choice for this modern and elegant hotel.

Ceramitex® is North America Code Compliant and meets or exceeds fire and system testing. It has been tested for High Velocity Hurricane Zones up to ±66.6psf and received Florida Product Approval FL26341-R0 (approved for use inside HVHZ – High Velocity Hurricane Zone)

For more information about Ceramitex® and how you can use it for your project, contact one of our sales representatives today, or visit our website at elemex.com.

If you are interested in implementing our Solstex® Solar Facade System, contact our team and we will be happy to prepare a proposal for your project. The proposal is designed to help you decide if Solstex is right for you.

General electrical and attachment details are provided to clarify how Solstex would be integrated into your project and a visual representation of Solstex will be applied on your building. Electrical generation estimates will be provided to give you an idea of how much power the system can generate every year for the life of the system (25 years).

The electrical generation estimates will take into consideration the:
– project location
– direction of the wall
– panel type installed
Estimates are generated for each month of a single year to illustrate how the changing seasons will impact electrical generation. If provided with additional details, a shading analysis will also be conducted, which provides a shading estimate on your building throughout the year. The results of the shading study will provide us with an estimated solar irradiance value across the surfaces of your building over the course of a year.

Financial modeling shows when an ROI is achieved, and potential profits made by net metering. Using the generation estimates, the cost of solar power per KWh can be obtained.

Generating your own energy means locking in a fixed energy price over the life of the system, compared to the current and often increasing cost of electricity. Government programs are often in place to help people like yourself make an investment in green energy and we try to include potential incentives you might qualify for as well. United States and Canada

See more information about Solstex.

Our 2021 tradeshow season is finally upon us, and we hope you’ll come by our booth in one of the following cities! This year we will be attending 3 Facades+ Conferences starting in Washington DC on September 21st (now October 14th) and then heading to Denver on September 30th. From there you will find us in Chicago on October 8th. If you are located further south, you will find us at the Design Expo in San Antonio, October 7th – 9th. If you haven’t had the chance to see us in person, please come by to see some samples and learn more about our products. If you already know us – just stop by to say hello!

 

If you are considering Solstex but want more information, perhaps some of these frequently asked questions will be helpful.

Are the panels live when installed and how do you mitigate the danger during installation? – Panels are ‘live’ at all times. Electricity does not flow from panel to panel until each panel string is completed, or the loop is closed. This occurs when panels are tied into an inverter, or other electrical equipment. MC4 connectors ensure there are no exposed conductors for panel-to-panel connections.

What is the lifespan of a BIPV system (when would a full replacement be anticipated)? – Solar modules have a lifespan of 25 years. Inverters and other associated electrical equipment have a lifespan of 7-10 years outdoors, but typically last longer than that when installed inside.

Can you replace the wiring to a panel (or a panel) after installation if it fails? Is there any possibility for future upgrade of the photovoltaic elements? – Components can be replaced if failure occurs. The Solstex system is designed for individual panel removal, providing access on a panel-by-panel basis. Photovoltaic elements can be upgraded, but system limits must be considered. Inverters require specific electrical characteristics from each solar string, and wiring gauges provide upper limits for voltage and amperage.

Have you ever used filler PV panels to maintain an aesthetic for places where special sizes or shapes are needed? – Filler panels have to be utilized with Solstex, as solar modules are not available in every shape and size. In the past, Elemex materials like Alumitex and Ceramitex have been utilized as a filler panel. Certain shades/textures of ceramic and ACM mimic the finish provided by Solstex.

Are there any anticipated safety issues with the system? – With any electrical install, there are hazards present. Elemex mitigates the hazards associated with Solstex by following industry guidelines, installing per the local electrical authority, and by utilizing the proper equipment. An example of a safety feature is Rapid Shutdown Technology. This technology allows First Responders to access a control that will shut down all the electricity flowing within a solar system within 30 seconds, allowing for emergency response.

If you have any questions about Solstex, our sales and technical teams are always happy to help. Please contact us for more information at info@elemex.com

See more information about Solstex.
Watch the Solstex installation video

The Elemex® Enviroclip® is a composite thermal clip system used to attach exterior cladding systems for wall assemblies with exterior insulation. It has been used extensively with Elemex products to bridge the gap between building substrate and cladding system.

The Enviroclip is comprised of brake formed 16GA galvanized steel, with a 1/8” thick cork thermal separation layer on two faces. The cork acts as a dual thermal break. The first thermal break occurs between the building substrate and the Enviroclip. The second thermal break occurs between the Enviroclip and a continuous L-angle. The dimensions, spacing, number and type of fasteners for the Enviroclip are determined by local engineering authorities to support loads of each cladding assembly.

To use the Enviroclip, the first decision that must be made is the direction of the framing. There are two options: vertical, and horizontal. Enviroclips can be installed on a variety of substrates, but keep in mind stud spacing when attaching to a stud wall. Once the direction of framing is chosen, the next step is to install the Enviroclips to the building using substrate appropriate anchors. From there, adjustable L-angles are installed in a manner that they span the gaps between each Enviroclip. The L-angles are attached to the Enviroclips via stainless steel TEK screws. The implementation of stainless steel screws connecting the clips and continuous steel angles is also helpful in limiting the heat loss through the system. Once the L-angles are installed, you are ready to begin panel installation. Attaching the exterior cladding to the L-angles transfers the cladding load to the Enviroclips, which, in turn, transfers the load of the system directly to the building’s sub structure.

Contact us for more information. As always, thank you for watching and don’t forget to subscribe.