Curtain Wall vs. Window Wall: Making The Right Choice Based On Their Benefits And Your Needs
By Khashayar Toodehfallah Posted May 25, 2021 In Property Management
The all-glass surface has fast become the default choice for urban buildings. The aesthetic character it provides is now the standard for commercial towers and luxury developments. Achieving this universal look comes down to your choice between a curtain wall system and a window wall system. This article is an introduction to these two systems. Comparing the benefits of each system should help you better understand your options.
This system involves hanging glazed pieces of glass and mullion to the outside edge of floor slabs. These pieces are then anchored to one another and present a seamless glass surface.
Major curtain wall types
There are a handful of choices available. However, they primarily fall into the two categories of stick-built and panelized. Stick-built curtain walls attach to vertical mullions and their glazing happens in the field. The first step of the installation process involves attaching vertical mullions. Afterwards, curtain walls hang from these with anchors. Then, the crew adds horizontal mullions. Finally, heat-barrier panels complete the installation. Panelized systems are simpler to install and cheaper than stick-built systems. They involve receiving all components in the form of preassembled panels and attaching them to anchors.
When to use a curtain wall system
Curtain walls are suitable for luxury residential and commercial properties. Their seamless look helps your building appear modern and refined. In addition to this, the seamless all-glass look is also especially appropriate for taller structures.
Curtain walls have a high level of structural integrity since they anchor to form one large piece. This self-supporting unit can then easily withstand fast winds and other weather events. Their packed structure also provides resistance against moisture. Since they hang from the outside, there is no caulking involved which also simplifies maintenance. However, the void between the panels can cause sound vibration and draft to travel between floors. To avoid this issue, you must install the appropriate spandrel panels, if needed.
Canuck Door Systems is a trusted dealer of the largest curtain wall manufacturers in Ontario. We ensure a high-quality service for all of our clients and can considerably reduce your project complexity.
This system involves placing the glazing inside the floor by attaching it to the roof and floor slabs. Window walls rely on the slabs for structural support and are often installed from the inside. This is safer for the crew and more cost-effective for project owners. Since the outside edge of floor slabs remain visible, a slab cover is often added to maintain a seamless look.
Major window wall types
The options here are numerous. Based on the design and usage, window walls come in many dimensions and finishes. In addition to this, the ventilation style also plays a role. These include terrace doors, sliding glass doors or windows, and projected casements.
When to use a window wall system
Window walls are good for cost-effective projects and projects that want to reduce complexity. In addition to this, window walls allow for a level of design freedom. From dimensions to materials and slab coverings, there are many customization options available.
Firstly, window walls have a highly optimized installation. This is because they are pre-glazed and do not require installing a mullion system on-site. In addition to this, they eliminate the need for testing and certification. This is because of their fully prefab nature. Since crews often install window walls from the inside, they require less specialized machinery. This benefit makes the window wall safer and much faster to install.
Secondly, since floor slabs separate the windows, sound and draft transfer between floors is not an issue. This means less engineering and research time for the project. In addition to this, they can provide the same level of insulation as curtain walls with the added benefit of ventilation. This requires careful and professional installation but is not out of reach.
Altogether, these benefits amount to a cost reduction of 50 to 75 percent when compared to curtain walls. As a result, you can build cheaper, safer, and faster by choosing this method.
Choosing the right option
Making the right choice here comes down to your design decisions and project requirements. Asking the following questions can help you in the process:
- How important is the seamless look for your design?
- Can you achieve the desired look without horizontal mullions and spandrel panels by using slab covers?
- How much workforce involvement and planning complexity is appropriate for the project?
- Does any reduction of on-site certification and testing requirements benefit the project timeline?
Call Canuck Door Systems with these questions in mind. We are ready to assist you with selecting and installing the right glass wall system.
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