In the context of modern architecture, the term spandrel describes the area filling the space between the head of
the window in one story and the sill of the window in the story above. It can be thought of as the “span” between the
vision areas on a building.
The single most sought after feature of all modern spandrel material is the ability to mask the underlying construction
from view while presenting a finished surface to the exterior. Solid cladding material such as stone or metal panels
provided smooth, polished or decorative relief. By their nature of being solid and opaque, masking underlying
construction is assured. Designers seeking artistic contrast or seamless façade with windows or vision glass often
turn to that material for their spandrel choice.
Glass has the unique and ethereal characteristic of being both solid and transparent. Providing the illusion of nothing
while maintaining the integrity and safety of the built environment. Using modern process glass can be colored,
shaped, laminated, heat treated and coated with a variety of materials to alter basic characteristics.
There are a number of methods used to produce glass spandrels. The most commonly known is the firing of colored
ceramic frit to the glass surface during the heat-treating process. Not as well known but gaining quick acceptance
due to low environmental impact are silicone elastomers. Product can be applied using spray, roll or curtain coating
The original transparency of the glass is altered after it is coated. The glass surface with the coating behind now
becomes essentially opaque in reflection and exhibits a smooth monolithic surface in the color chosen. Combined
with other glass in insulating units or applied directly to reflective or tinted reflective glass surfaces a myriad of
choices are available. Trulite Glass & Aluminum Solutions produces both ceramic frit and silicone coated spandrel
As with any construction product, each coating type has strengths and weaknesses. Ceramic frits are not suitable for
all colors or glass products The thin translucent nature of the coated surface will show transmitted or reflected light
from the spandrel cavity. For this reason, the coated or interior side is not usable as a finished surface and should
always be enclosed or covered with other opaque back up materials. Careful review of the information provided here
and consultation with your Trulite representative will ensure specifying the right material for your project.