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Planning To Add Windows? Look For A Thermal Break

Steel buildings serve as storage, workshops, and more for many companies. But the popular image of a steel building still tends to be that of a windowless shed, harboring extra parts and not much else. Steel buildings can be used for everything from that traditional storage to state-of-the-art office space, though, and as such, they can accommodate a wide range of styles for windows and doors. One feature you need to look out for, if you're planning to add windows, is a thermal break.

Why They Help

Thermal breaks are literally interruptions in thermal transfer in the window. Thermal transfer is the transfer of heat through a material. If you've ever stood by a window on a hot day and felt the heat from the sun through the glass, you've felt a form of thermal transfer.

In buildings, thermal transfer translates into less comfort and higher utility bills. So you can guess that in a steel building that has been insulated to prevent excessive thermal transfer through the metal housing, allowing thermal transfer around a window would be a bad move, undoing all your other insulation efforts.

When you have a multipane window, there are layers of insulation that sit around the panes to prevent warm air from seeping in or out, around the glass panes. A thermal break is one long strip that has no interruptions in it, and it essentially "breaks" any thermal transfer. While thermal breaks aren't perfect -- there will always be at least a tiny bit of thermal transfer no matter where you are -- those breaks fill in the one gap that could make your multipane windows and insulated metal walls feel a lot less efficient.

When Metal Buildings Need These

Technically, any time you want to prevent heat transfer is when you should have a thermal break. But the use of a thermal break will be less urgent in areas like coastal central California, for example, where year-round temperatures don't see too many extremes. However, areas like North Dakota in winter or Arizona in summer require as much insulation as possible to protect whatever's in the building from the extreme temperatures. Steel buildings in those areas will need thermal breaks.

Windows for steel buildings come with some other features that you may want to investigate (e.g., self-flashing), but the thermal break remains one of the most important. If you want to save your utility bills and keep the interior of a steel building more comfortable, having that break is necessary. For more information, check out a website like today.