A curtain wall is the exterior of the building that prevents the building from occupants and weather conditions. Curtain walls are primarily designed to resist air and water infiltration, wind and seismic forces. Being the outermost layer of the building, it acts as a defence against elements that corrode or damage the walls of the building.
In large multi-story buildings, non-cladding structures are used for external walls. These non-cladding structures are called curtain wall system. Curtain walls are generally constructed using thin aluminium-framed walls containing in-fills of glass, metal or stone, placed on the building through mechanical bonding, chemical bonding, or adhesive. These curtain walls are placed in a way that only supports their weight. Routine building glass repair and refurbishment is crucial for maintaining the functional and aesthetic value of the curtain walls.
Curtain walls system can be customised and manufactured, but are often manufacturer-owned systems that can be available on the showroom floor. The custom made curtain walls are cost-effective only for larger buildings.
Types of The Curtain Wall System
Stick or Utilized Systems: In a stick system, curtain walls are installed piece by piece. Whereas in the utilized system, curtain wall systems are composed of large units that are gazed and assembled inside the factory, shipped and erected on the building on site.
Face-sealed, water-managed or pressure-equalized system: Though pressure equalized systems provide a high level of air resistance and water infiltration, water managed systems are more reliable. Face sealed, on the other hand depends on sealing integrity and is least reliable.
Pressure equalized system provides complete moisture protection by blocking all the forces that can drive water across.
Water-managed system looks similar at first glance but, unlike pressure- equalized system no air barrier exists in this system.
Some curtain walls are designed using face sealed barrier walls, although the glass unit is sealed with the frame they are not reliable and hence should be avoided.
Advantages of Using Curtain Walls
Keeps Air and Water Out: The primary purpose of the curtain wall is to keep the building intact and prevent water and air from entering it. It acts as both an insulator and shock absorber. It acts as a protective shield that makes buildings affordable to maintain.
Reduces Building’s Sway: Although curtain walls do not provide structural stability. It helps in reducing the overall stumbling of the building. The curtain walls disperse kinetic forces throughout the structure. Which helps the building to withstand high winds hence, reducing the sway.
Slows Down Fire Spread: Curtain walls do not let the fire transfer to the floor easily. Slowing down the spread of the fire especially in a taller building where the spreading of fire can be quick.
Thermal Efficiency: If treated and gazed at properly, it can improve the thermal efficiency of the building to a great extent. As curtain walls help in stabilizing the temperature within and, gazing can reduce the effect of UV light, keeping the building protected from fading and decolouration.
Appearance & Aesthetics: Nowadays, the curtain wall is a popular choice for buildings. As it has numerous practical advantages along with its appealing appearance. It gives a building a modern, sophisticated and unique façade with contemporary designs.
Curtain walls are better, faster, and more cost-effective than any other protective shield system for tall buildings. Ars Ltd Uk is known to provide quality curtain wall refurbishment services. They have vast experience in on-site curtain wall refurbishment and services in the UK and Ireland.