Curtain Walling systems remain the staple fabric of today’s modern buildings. It is rare today for any building over 3 floors or so not to have a type of curtain walling system installed and it is widely regarded as being the ultimate glazing solution for large buildings.
This glazed façade solution has enabled more ambitious building projects and architectural flair with modern buildings now having curtain walling as the key element in construction, relying less on traditional building materials such as brick, block or cement.
Curtain walling is also gaining popularity with homeowners. In recent years the design of modern houses has called for large glass areas, such as a glazed screen spanning the entire height of a house being a popular feature.
Curtain walling systems make up the external cladding of a building mainly in aluminium and glass.
The material tends to be aluminium extrusions of various sizes and thickness to suit wind-loads, heights and spans as well as to accommodate special items such as solar shading or brise soleil.
In it’s simplest form, curtain walling comes under two generic forms and the most widely used.
The Stick System.
Simply explained, the Stick system of curtain walling consists of grids of vertical and horizontal members which are assembed on site. Once complete, glass is held in place with pressure plates, cappings or other methods and can be termed external “beaded”.
Into the Stick System can be inserted panels, windows of all types, doors, rain-screen cladding and more.
Structural silicone glazing or bolted structural glazing is the sort of curtain walling whereby the glass profile on the outside of the building is flush with no visible aluminium cappings.
The Stick System of Curtain Walling is used more in low rise applications such as industrial units, schools, office buildings and more.
The Unitised System.
As the name would suggest, Unitised Curtain Walling is fabricated and largely complete elements which are pre-delivered ready for installation. For example several “squares” consisting of the curtain walling profiles together with the glass or panel and all other parts will be bolted together with other squares to form the curtain wall.
The main difference from an installation point of view is that Unitised curtain walling does not need any fixed access equipment (such as scaffolding) however the Stick System will.
There are of course situations where you may use a combination of Stick and Unitised. where you still have a stick frame but it is completed using the unitised elements of it.
Unitised systems tend to be used on high rise buildings and very large commercial.