Curtain wall systems are the outer coverings of a building in which the outer walls are non-structural. They are designed to keep the weather out and the occupants in. As curtain wall systems are non-structural they can be made from lightweight materials, reducing construction costs.

Glass is typically used as the curtain wall, which gives the advantage of natural light penetrating deeper within the building. Curtain walls are designed to resist air and water infiltration, movement induced by wind and seismic forces and its own load weight forces.

Most Curtain wall systems are designed with extruded aluminum members. The aluminium frame is typically infilled with glass, which provides an architecturally pleasing finish as well as benefits such as daylighting. However multiple other infills can be used including: stone, metal panels, louvres, and operable windows or vents.
Curtain walls are designed to span multiple floors, and take into consideration design requirements such as: thermal expansion and contraction; building sway and movement; water diversion; and thermal efficiency for cost-effective heating, cooling, and lighting in the building.

At PDP Glazing Installations we provide a full end-to-end service that involves detailed pre-construction planning through to installation and sign-off. This comprehensive service is crucial to successful construction and on-time delivery, and allows the client and team a clear pathway to the bidding process, construction phase, and through to completion.

Types of Curtain Wall Installation

  • Stick systems

The vast majority of curtain walls are installed long pieces (referred to as sticks) between floors vertically and between vertical members horizontally. Framing members may be fabricated in a shop, but all installation and glazing is typically performed at the jobsite.

  • Ladder Systems

Very similar to a Stick system a ladder system has mullions which can be split and then either clipped, or screwed together consisting of a half box and plate, this allows sections of curtain wall to be fabricated in shop effectively reducing the time spent installing the system on site. The drawback of using such a system is reduced structural performance and visible joint lines down the length of each mullion.

  • Unitized systems

Unitized curtain walls entail factory fabrication and assembly of panels and may include factory glazing. These completed units are hung on the building structure to form the building enclosure. Unitized curtain wall has the advantages of: speed; lower field installation costs; and quality control within an interior climate controlled environment. The economic benefits are typically realized on large projects or in areas of high field labor rates.

  • Rainscreen principle

A common feature in curtain wall technology, the rainscreen principle theorizes that equilibrium of air pressure between the outside and inside of the “rainscreen” prevents water penetration into the building itself. For example, the glass is captured between an inner and an outer gasket in a space called the glazing rebate. The glazing rebate is ventilated to the exterior so that the pressure on the inner and outer sides of the exterior gasket is the same. When the pressure is equal across this gasket water cannot be drawn through joints or defects in the gasket.




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