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The Condenser - Flange Frames for Seamless Design

A flange frame can create a seamless look along the face of a building. But how does it work? Learn more in this Condenser article.

Imagine you're designing the envelope of a building and you need to add intake louvers to the design. You want to keep the building's seamless look, but the louvers you need will create harsh square shapes along the envelope. Even with a custom finish, the seams made by the louvers stick out like a sore thumb. There is a way to hide these harsh lines and keep the design flat. Consider adding flange frames to these louvers.  

Standard vs. Flange

Flange frames extend past the face of the louver.A standard louver frame sits inside the opening. When louvers are installed with a standard frame, the edges of the frame are visible within the opening of the wall. This is also creates a clear division between the wall and the louver. Think of this as a seam. This is fine for functional purposes, but it may not be the aesthetic you're looking for. 

Flange frames can cover these seams. They have a thin piece attached to the face of the louver, known as the flange, which extends past the face and along the wall. When installed, the flange will sit flat against the wall and cover the seams of the opening, creating a seamless aesthetic between louver and building. 


A Flange for All Sides

You have options with your flange. Attach them to the head, jambs, sill, or on all sides.Most flange frames have flanges on all sides to fully cover the seam of the opening. This creates a uniform look for the frame and completely hides the seam from view. However, you can add flanges individually to the head, sill, and jambs of a louver. You can install a louver with flanges on the jambs of the louver, leaving the head and sill exposed. Any combination of flanges will work!

Choosing where flanges go depends on the aesthetic you want with your building's surfaces. You may want to keep the horizontal lines created by the louver's opening. Or you may want to hide these lines from view, to achieve that seamless look. It all depends on your designs.


When Aesthetic is Key

Flange frames are great for maintaining a seamless look.Flanges add weight to the louver’s frame and require special installation methods. Also, consider that larger louvers will also have larger, heavier flanges. Flange frames do not affect a louver's air performance or its water penetration capabilities. Flanges sit along the sides of the louver, away from the louver's face, and do not obstruct the louver's free area.

Flange frames give an aesthetic touch to a louver’s design. Whether to use them or not depends on how you want your building to look. You may want the louver to sit alone in the opening with the seams clearly visible, or you may have multiple louvers linked together that cannot have individual flanges. Maybe a flange frame on all sides would look good on your building. The choice is up to you.

To summarize, flange frames cover the seams created by ventilation openings. You can add them to any side of the louver: jambs, sill, or head, on the face or back side. They add weight to the louver and require special instructions to install. Consider adding flanges to your louver's frame to create a seamless look.

What do you think of flange frames? Would you add them to your louvers? Have you used a flange frame in a project before? Share your thoughts in the Comments section. MCDLG wants to know!   

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Our louver course, An Introduction to Louvers, goes over all of the basic stats, terms, and principles involved in choosing louvers for any application.

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This course provides continuing education credits for a variety of institutions, including AIA's LIUs. Learn the basics of louvers and earn credit, at your own pace. Visit our Campus Portal on AEC Daily!

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