Blog 10. Part 1

What is a Thermal Break?

Most modern contemporary glass facades are designed using lightweight aluminum or steel frames for several good reasons: They provide great weight saving and strength and also require little to no maintenance when compared to wooden frames.

Using these types of materials does have one major disadvantage however, in that metals are extremely efficient conductors of heat, which means that during summer you can lose cooling from inside your building via direct transfer through the slim window frames.If the slim profile is situated in a room with high humidity, such as a kitchen or bathroom, then condensation can also form on the inside of the framework. This is due to the cold, humid air inside the building making contact with the hot surface of the metal frame, if there is no ther-mal break or the thermal break is poor. This is sometimes referred to as ‘cold bridging’; conden-sation is most likely to form where cold bridging occurs.


In order to avoid cold bridging, most reputable manufacturers have adopted the use of ‘thermal breaks’ within the design of their framework. Thermal breaks are manufactured out of material that is very poor at conducting heat, so that when introduced into a metal frame it forms a physical barrier to stop heat being conducted through the framework. The thermal break mate-rial has to act as an insulator as well as maintain structural integrity of the frame assembly.