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Types of Curtain Wall Systems: Which One is Better?

Release time:2022-11-25

There has been an increase in demand for high-rise buildings over the past few years. Architects and designers opted for quicker, more durable, and flexible designs; thus, curtain wall systems were born.

Though not seen in almost all high-rise buildings: the idea was first adopted in the 1930s. Curtain wall systems have gained popularity for their structural importance, visual appeal, and quick installation.

There are different types of curtain wall systems, and each presents its benefits. Today we will dive deep into the kinds of curtain wall systems.

Understanding a curtain wall system


The phrase "curtain wall" is well-known throughout the construction field because it simply refers to the framework that is included in the external walls of a home. There are various kinds of curtain walls.

These walls were well-known in ancient times because they were highly effective at protecting fortresses and other comparable structures from external invasions. They were also highly effective at keeping invaders out of the residence.

The idea has significantly changed in the present. A curtain wall system is typically placed over a wall to stabilize it partially. They are suitable for shielding the wall from strong winds or rain.

A curtain wall system is made from a thin aluminum frame with different fillings depending on taste, for example, glass panels, thin stones, or metal paneling’s. It only relies on the layout of the building, particularly the floor line. 

Curtain wall systems are premade by the manufacturer and assembled before they are taken to the site. Curtain walls are distinguished according to how they are made and installed. They are separated into the two groups listed below:

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Stick Curtain wall design


This particular curtain wall pieces are pieced together on the building's framework. Low-rise structures or tiny areas are where this method is commonly used since it's crucial to have outdoor access if you want to get to higher elevations. This method promises adaptability because it allows for on-site modifications.

Although reduced shipping cost is a huge benefit, the work and time requirements shouldn’t be understated since they might be rather costly.

Why opt for a curtain wall design


In this system, the "sticks," often composed of aluminum, are positioned vertically between levels. More sticks are inserted horizontally to create a more finished look. The sticks will then return the load to the structure as a result.

Economy and quickness are two benefits that are well-known in this system. Stick-built units are reportedly more economical for several applications. Additionally, the project can move forward more quickly because the materials are easily accessible and require little pre-fabrication.

Unfortunately, the lengthier installation time may counteract the time saved during pre-fabrication. Also, The space required for material storage or installation may create problems with the available space.

Unitized Curtain wall design


The components for this system have already been put together by the manufacturer. The parts are assembled by the manufacturer and transported to the job site. As a result, individual installation is unnecessary.

The curtain walls' scale is inversely correlated to the building's floor-by-floor height. They are common in tall structures since they don't require external reinforcement like scaffoldings. All that is required are temporary hoists or small cranes.

Due to the components' fabrication, this system has the advantages of speedy construction and excellent quality.

Why opt for a Unitized curtain wall design


The quickness of installation is a key benefit of unitized systems. Then again, the substantial panels have already been constructed and are prepared for installation. However, the panels may not be ready for some months due to the lengthy pre-fabrication procedure.

Typically, the huge panels are constructed in a controlled setting. The panels are therefore considered as high grade or conforming to requirements. To maintain excellent standards, facade engineers check the manufacturing and glazing processes.



The two curtain wall systems both present several benefits and shortcomings. Deciding which option is the better depends on your intentions and what the project demands. Unitized systems are best suited for tall structures and projects that don't mind a lengthy pre-fabrication process.

On the other hand, stick curtain wall systems are best suited to projects that don't mind slow installations but have a high-quality framework that's completely customizable on-site.

This article has provided you with an in-depth review of curtain wall systems. After reading this article, you can make an informed decision that best suits your next project.

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