Curtain Walling Options

Main Options for Curtain Walling 

Curtain walling is non-structural curtain walls that is the beneficial building choice in many different ways. These walls typically consist of glass panels with aluminium frames that add ample aesthetical appeal and design flexibility to a building. It is also the best choice to ensure optimal thermal performance and natural light in a building. There are mainly two options for curtain walling, namely unitised curtain walls, and stick-built systems.   

Curtain Wall System Options

Unitised Curtain Walls 

Unitised curtain walls are by far one of the quickest to install. Unitised curtain walls are glass units that are premanufactured and glazed in a factory before it goes to the construction site for installation. Installation is relatively simple and mainly consists of hoisting the units up and connecting them to the building structure. On average, installation of unitised curtain walls takes around a third of the time it takes to install stick-built systems.    

This type of curtain walling is more suitable when there are large amounts of units needed, where the costs of labour are more, and if the structure is relatively tall.  

Stick-built System 

Unlike unitised curtain walls, stick-built systems are not premanufactured and glazed in the factory before being sent to the constructions site. When the stick-built systems arrive at the construction site, the frame components are positioned into place before the glazing is inserted. This means that using stick-built system curtain walling takes much longer than unitised curtain wall systems.   

Reference video: Jānis Grandovskis

This type of curtain walling is best when the building shape is atypical or where the project is relatively small.  

Other Options for Curtain Walling 

Once the project role players have decided on the main options or curtain walling, it is time to decide on all the other options that curtain walling has to offer.  

Thermal Performance 

There are mainly three places where heat loss can occur with curtain wailing: glazing, centre panel, and framing. It is therefore crucial that desired thermal performance should be considered and weighed against costs and the U-Value.   

Glazing Material 

 Since glass panels are typically used with curtain walling, glazing is another additional option that has to be considered. Developers and designers can choose from double and triple glazing. They can also decide on Low-E coatings as well as reflective coatings and additional glass treatments they may deem necessary.   

 Additional glazing options should be considered in combination with aesthetic and environmental factors. Metal, fibre-enforced plastic, and louvres are all add-ons that can be included for the sake of appearance and added functionality.   

 Profile Dimensions 

 Profile dimension options have a lot to do with the framing around the glazing. These framing profiles can have a significant impact on the building’s appearance, and it should be considered carefully, especially by the design team. Not only does the framing influence the appearance of the building, but it can also influence the performance of the curtain walling in other areas. This includes the thermal performance, weight, ease of installation, as well as the curtain walling’s ability to let light through.

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