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Thin Line Louvers for Architectural Design and PTAC

Want to improve your building's look? Need a louver for a small AC unit? Consider using thin line louvers, the lightweight option!

Louvers can accent architectural envelopes.

Thin line louvers are louvers less than an inch deep. These louvers are often built without a frame. They are often referred to by other names: architectural louvers, contour louvers, or PTAC louvers. The name depends on their use. As architectural louvers, they can be installed along any flat surface. Their ultra-thin design provides a louvered look to the contours of the building. When installed, the louver will look like a collection of louver blades floating in place. Typical louver blades are supported by the frame of the louver.

For a full explanation of louvers, consider taking our self-paced course on louvers: "An Introduction to Louver Selection." Visit the MCDLG Campus portal for more information.

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"Architectural louver" can be a misleading name. How would a louver work with architecture? Louver blades create straight lines that draw attention to certain features of the building’s face. Architects can use these louvers to enhance the overall aesthetic of their design. But you can’t mount a heavy traditional louver onto the side of your building. This is where architectural louvers come in.


Architectural louvers have a thin, frameless design that makes them easy to mount to any surface. The louver's blades are supported by a vertical blade support system or VBS. The VBS consists of several vertical support members affixed to the back side of the blades. When mounted, these blades supports will hold the blades in place without needing a frame. This design makes architectural louvers much lighter than traditional framed louvers. You can also choose to add a frame to a thin line louver if you plan to mount it in an opening, or you just want a nice solid outline around your louver blades.

Thin line louvers can come in different shapes and sizes, to fit any project.
PTAC units are an economical way to cool and heat small areas, like hotel rooms and apartments.

Thin line louvers are not designed for typical ventilation applications like standard depth louvers, but they can be utilized for smaller applications like packaged terminal air conditioners also known as PTAC units. PTAC units are common in hotels, where a single air conditioner will serve the individual room. Each PTAC unit will also require a small opening for air intake.

These openings will be too small for a standard louver. Each PTAC unit will also come with a small, thin line louver known as a PTAC grille. PTAC grilles are used to cover the smaller ventilation opening of the PTAC unit, allowing air to pass through while keeping unwanted elements out. PTAC units require much less airflow than larger-scale air conditioners. Therefore, they can use a thinner louver to cover the opening.PTAC grille are made for smaller openings, typically used as an intake/exhaust port for a PTAC unit.

PTAC grilles are a lightweight and affordable option for these smaller air conditioning units, and will often come packaged with the unit. You will need to install a standard louver for larger intake and exhaust openings.

Thin line louvers can be the perfect accent to any project. They can also provide ventilation for smaller air conditioning units. As architectural louvers, they can be assembled together into a large group of louver panels or fashioned into custom shapes. And like any louver, thin line louvers can receive frames, flange attachments, and custom finishes. Thin line louvers are a lightweight, customizable solution for enhancing your building’s aesthetic.

Check out our article on louver aesthetics for more ways to customize louvers.PTAC grilles go where a typical louver won't fit.


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