An Architect’s Guide To Terracotta Panels

Terra cotta panels are one of the most commonly used terracotta cladding materials, usually composed of weathered clay, extruded from vacuum chambers, and fired in high-temperature roller kilns. Panels made from terracotta are new facade materials known for their design flexibility, sustainability, and durability. The panel designs are available in different textures, enriched colors, and shapes to provide architects with limitless options. There are a few considerations to note, such as dimensions, profiles, thickness, and shapes of the panels composed of terracotta.

This article is a guide for every architect regarding the panels made of terracotta.

Categorization Of Terra cotta Panel

There are two main approaches to cladding a building in panels composed of terracotta- the rainscreen principle and precast concrete. Let’s learn about them in detail.

Precast Concrete Panels

Precast concrete panels make use of a terracotta veneer bonded to a large precast concrete unit. The precast concrete panel systems are ideal for architects as they provide strength for the construction, flexible design, finish, and profile options.

Precast concrete panels cost less than rain screen applications. However, architects will face many other costs.

Rainscreen Principle

The rainscreen principle is the most common installation method for panels made of terracotta. These terra cotta panels are hung onto an aluminum sub-support system that offers a high durability level of masonry installation without the added weight.

The rainwater principle is designed to drain water away from the cavity and support the structure beneath to protect the building from rain, wind, and snow by creating a continuous insulation outboard with overlapping joints.

The most significant advantage of panels designed from terracotta rain-screen systems is that sealants or grouts such as silicone are not used. This method reduces maintenance and also offers easier installation performed in all conditions.

Performance Of Terra cotta Panel

Panels whose composition is terracotta is a very long-lasting, robust, and environmental-friendly product. Terracotta materials are a mixture of water and clay with no chemical additives. The performance of terracotta composed panels are-


Panels composed of terracotta hold the most significant advantage over other cladding products due to their long-lasting life cycle. There is a high possibility that a terracotta cladding panel product can last up to 100 years or more with minimal or no maintenance, especially when using the rainscreen principle.

Compared with other materials that are quick to fade, terracotta cladding products have high flexibility and won’t change colors.

The terracotta cladding panel products are sustainable and long-lasting and the most approved products by the US-architects. The products are environmentally-friendly and can even be recycled after use or ground and repurposed during road construction.

Thermal Performance

A terracotta rain-screen panel provides a constructed building with better energy performance than a precast terracotta panel system. However, if the precast panel system is detailed using a sandwich wall, there is a possibility of improving its energy performance.


To protect and maintain your terracotta cladding panel products, the owners must power wash the terracotta façade to get rid of a little bit of dust every ten years. For designs composed of glazed terracotta buildings, this indicates that the house has not been maintained for 20 or even 30 years.

Terracotta Panel Textures And Finishes

The panels composed of terracotta come with a variety of standard, custom natural-fired colors and glazing and different finishes and textures.

Natural Flat: This is a naturally smooth surface product that can bring out terracotta products’ original beauties.

Sanding Finish: This design conveys a distinctive sense of design and touch compared with the natural surface. 

Grooved Finish: This terracotta facade series offers the architects the freedom to divide the building elevation lines. The design and the use of terra cotta panels come to avail of different widths and depths to achieve unique visual effects. 

Linear Finish: A terracotta rain-screen panel of a linear surface is customizable in various thicknesses with deep or shallow and regular or irregular striped textures. 

Glazed Surface: Terracotta facade panels can also be produced based on RAL colors and the matt and glossy surface finish. 

Grainy Texture: The wood-grained terracotta product panel series features natural texture and rich color options for floors, facades, or indoor walls. 

Carved Panel: These panels have a microscopic carving on the surface to render various textures or patterns as required.


Terra cotta panels come in different dimensions, profiles, shapes, and thicknesses based on the facade design, wind load, curtain wall, design structure, and other requirements. Through this article, an architect must get a full picture of the panels made of terracotta.

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