Curtain Wall Not Just another Pretty Facade
A curtain wall system is an outer covering of a building in which the outer walls are non-structural, utilized only to keep the weather out and the occupants in. Since the curtain wall is non-structural, it can be made of lightweight materials, thereby reducing construction costs. When glass is used as the curtain wall, an advantage is that natural light can penetrate deeper within the building. The curtain wall facade does not carry any structural load from the building other than its own dead load weight. The wall transfers lateral wind loads that are incident upon it to the main building structure through connections at floors or columns of the building. A curtain wall is designed to resist air and water infiltration, absorb sway induced by wind and seismic forces acting on the building, withstand wind loads, and support its own weight.
Curtain wall systems are typically designed with extruded aluminum framing members, although the first curtain walls were made with steel frames. The aluminum frame is typically infilled with glass, which provides an architecturally pleasing building, as well as benefits such as day lighting.
A curtain wall is the facade element that forms the weather barrier for the building without supporting the structure. It can have many different appearances, but typically has narrowly spaced vertical and horizontal with glass panels. When designed properly, it is beautiful and highly functional in keeping the elements out and the temperate environment in.
Preventing water penetration is critical when designing and constructing a curtain wall. Many curtain wall systems include condensation drainage provisions that collect and weep condensate from areas to the exterior.
Routine inspections and evaluations help identify issues that can arise and compromise your curtain wall’s efficiency.
There are a variety of assessments to measure how well your curtain wall system is performing. These tests include measuring air leakage, water resistance, water drainage, and wind resistance, ability of the curtain wall to support its own weight, safety, and thermal performance.