What Is A Curtain Wall? Types Of Curtain Walls

What Is A Curtain Wall? Types Of Curtain Walls

What Is A Curtain Wall?

A curtain wall is a type of non-structural, large building facade made from lightweight materials such as aluminum, steel, vinyl, glass and other systems like unitized curtain walls. It is often used to provide insulation against wind, rain, snow and other elements while offering windows and doors for ventilation. They also create an aesthetically pleasing look while enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal of a building.

A curtain wall is a non-structural exterior wall that is used to enclose a building. It serves to protect the building from the elements and keep the occupants inside.

Since it does not carry any structural load, it can be made from lightweight materials like glass, which can reduce construction costs and allow natural light to enter the building.

However, using a lot of glass can make it difficult to control the visual comfort and solar heat gain in a building. Other materials that may be used in a curtain wall include stone, metal panels, louvers, and operable windows.

A curtain wall system is designed to span multiple floors and must consider factors such as thermal expansion and contraction, seismic activity, water diversion and energy efficiency. It is different from a storefront system in that it is designed to handle the sway and movement of a larger building.

A curtain wall system is a type of building material that is thin and lightweight typically made of aluminum and glass. Unlike other materials, it is not designed to bear structural loads but rather to support only its own weight.

It is designed to be air and water resistant which helps to keep the interior of the building airtight. A load of wind and gravity is transferred to the structure of the building rather than being supported by the curtain wall system.

Benefits Of Using A Curtain Wall

Curtain walls offer several benefits. One of the main benefits is their ability to prevent water penetration.

This is achieved through a combination of primary and secondary prevention measures. Another benefit of curtain walls is their air impermeability which helps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption.

They also offer resistance to wind, thermal and acoustic actions. In addition, curtain walls can be designed to control solar levels by using a selective solar control coating on the glass. This coating allows visible wavelengths of light to pass through more freely than infrared wavelengths.

Curtain walls can also be fitted with UV-inhibiting film to protect spaces and materials from degradation due to ultraviolet radiation.

Types Of Curtain Walls

Curtain wall systems are factory-made systems that are assembled on the building site. There are two types of curtain wall systems based on the way they are assembled: stick and unitized.

Stick curtain wall systems are assembled piece by piece on the building site and are commonly used in low-rise buildings or small areas because they require exterior access, such as scaffolding or cranes, to reach higher elevations.

Stick curtain wall systems have a lower shipping cost because they can be adjusted on-site, but they have a higher labor and time cost. Unitized curtain wall systems are assembled using interlocking units that are purchased from the factory as a single unit.

These systems do not require the individual installation of each component and are often used in high-rise buildings because they do not require exterior supports like cranes or scaffolding.

Unitized curtain wall systems have a faster construction time and a higher quality due to factory manufacturing, but they have a higher shipping cost because they require larger protection during transportation.

Components Of A Curtain Wall

A single curtain wall unit consists of several structural components that are installed onto the building structure. These include transoms, which are horizontal members on the curtain wall panel, mullions, which are vertical rails anchored to the edge slab or beam and support the weight of the curtain wall, and vision glass, which is transparent glass that can be double or triple glazed and may have Low-E coatings or reflective coatings.

In a conventional curtain wall system, each component must be installed individually with careful attention to quality and precision. In a unitized system, the components are pre-assembled in the factory and are connected together on-site.

Anchor is also another component of curtain wall.

Structural Behavior Of Curtain Walls

Curtain walls are structural elements of a building that divide the interior and exterior environments and play a role in transmitting loads that affect the building’s stability. They are resistant to lateral forces, such as earthquakes, but can still sustain some damage.

While this damage can be repaired, it can lead to economic loss and disruption of business activities. In addition to resisting wind and seismic forces, curtain walls must also withstand gravity loads and temperature changes.

In high-rise buildings, they are especially important for maintaining a comfortable temperature for occupants. Curtain walls should also be resistant to water penetration to prevent corrosion.


In conclusion, the curtain wall is a great innovation that has made the structures of modern buildings possible. It provides an attractive and durable envelope for any building while also adding to its energy efficiency and strength.

Its use in architecture and construction projects has allowed architects to think outside the box when creating new designs. With continued advancements in materials, design, and technology, the curtain wall will continue to be an important feature of modern building structures.

Related Posts

error: Content is protected !!