What is a Curtain Wall Definition?

You may be familiar with curtain wall definition – those sleek, floor-to-ceiling glass windows that give your favorite skyscrapers their distinct silhouette. What you may not know is that there are two different types of curtain wall systems – stick-built and panelized – that can affect how your building performs in its environment.

The most common type of curtain wall is a stick-built system. In a stick system, components are assembled piece by piece on site at the building’s construction location. This is a more labor-intensive process, but the system has lower shipping costs than panelized systems. In a stick system, exterior access is also required for installation, making the use of scaffolding or cranes essential to reach higher elevations.

As with any cladding system, curtain wall systems must be designed to resist wind loads and to transfer all other forces that they experience back to the building structure – including gravity, maintenance and seismic loads. Additionally, the systems must be able to accommodate differential movement between the building structure and curtain wall framing due to thermal changes.

Understanding Curtain Walls: Definition, Components, and Applications

Other challenges specific to curtain wall systems include condensation moisture within the system that contributes to IAQ issues (see Moisture Protection), glazing problems such as visual obstruction and/or damage to opacifier films from dirt and/or condensation, air leakage through the system which can create a void between the slab edge and the curtain wall and require additional fire-stopping, and noise transmittance. The acoustic performance of curtain walls can be improved by adding sound attenuating infill and by ensuring that the system is constructed to be as airtight as possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *