Curtain walls

Table of contents

Curtain walls are the most important and at the same time the most expensive element of high-rise buildings. Modern architectural requirements encourage the search for new construction solutions. The term curtain walls refers to external walls that are not load-bearing walls. Therefore, they function as a kind of insulation partition, covering the interior of the building. What else is worth knowing about curtain walls?

Curtain walls – what are they?

As it has already been written, curtain walls are a barrier between the interior and the surroundings of the building and are not load-bearing walls. Their construction is based or suspended on the structure of the building. Important information is that due to their rigid structure, they are not included in the spatial work of buildings. You may also come across the term façade or façade wall. It defines only the outer part of the curtain wall, which must be resistant to adverse weather conditions and performs decorative functions. In turn, a wall partition is used from the inside of the room, which should be characterized by adequate acoustic and thermal insulation, ensuring peace and quiet inside the rooms. Curtain walls should therefore protect the façade of the building against weather phenomena such as precipitation, high temperature or sunlight and protect against noise from outside. What material is curtain walls most often made of? In Poland, you can meet with aluminum, plastics, aerated concrete or light aggregates. If elements made of heavy materials such as ceramic or stone slabs are visible on the façade of the building, it is usually for aesthetic reasons. The spaces between the structure are filled with glass or coffers made of metal or other materials.

What should curtain walls be characterized by?

Curtain walls should above all be solid and durable. Their proper construction protects the entire building against moisture, noise or high and low temperatures. In addition, they should also be fireproof, ensuring the safety of people inside the building. It is also good that the curtain walls are easy to install and relatively low, because it requires less work and necessary equipment. This is especially important in the case of tall and spacious buildings. Lower weight is also more beneficial for the foundations, as it allows for a larger usable area (taller objects) while maintaining the outline of the building.

Curtain walls in high-rise buildings

Curtain walls are most often found in high-rise buildings, for example office buildings, where the glazing of the entire wall surface does not affect the use of the facility. Due to their relatively low weight, they are ideal for tall buildings, because they allow you to maximize the surface going up. Due to their application, several types of curtain wall systems can be found. Mullion-transom construction is one of the most common options today. It has glass panels that are inserted into special frames with grooves. The façade, in turn, is covered with an aluminum grid with glass filling. It is characterized by very good thermal insulation parameters. Another type of construction is one without visible aluminum elements with glass panels sealed with silicone. From the inside, only glass filling can be seen. Another type of construction is made of steel, thanks to which it is more durable and has a higher load capacity and resistance to wind. It is usually finished with decorative strips with rounded lines. Another system is fireproof and is used for the construction of light and fire-resistant curtain walls. Poles and transoms are equipped with special, fire-resistant inserts, and the sections are filled with an appropriate mass resistant to fire. It is a combination of lightweight design and maximum safety.

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