Since its iconic use in the Empire State Building back in 1929, curtain walling cladding has become a popular option for buildings of all sizes. This system consists of a lightweight frame that is covered by panels made from a variety of materials, including glass and aluminium. It offers a number of benefits such as transparency, natural light transmission, and a contemporary appearance. But it’s important to understand how it works before deciding whether or not this is the best cladding solution for your building.

One of the main functions of curtain walls is to transfer loads back to the primary structure, which includes both dead load from the panel and live load from wind, snow, seismic, maintenance and so on. These connections must also be designed to accommodate differential movement between the curtain wall and the structure.

Enhancing Facades: The Role and Benefits of Curtain Walling Cladding

Curtain walls can be divided into two basic categories based on the method of fabrication and installation: Stick systems, where the frame and panels are installed piece by piece on site, and Unitized systems, where the components are pre-fabricated off-site and assembled, sealed and glazed in a factory before being shipped to the job site. Unitized systems tend to be more cost effective for larger projects and provide greater quality control.

Leakage in curtain walls can be a significant problem, especially in high rise buildings. Moisture can cause IAQ problems, such as condensation and mold growth, which may require costly repairs. To reduce this risk, a high R-value system is recommended, and low-e and spectrally selective glass coatings are desirable.

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