When you see a building that looks to be covered with floor-to-ceiling windows, you’re likely looking at what’s known as a curtain wall. A curtain wall is an aluminum-framed wall, often made of glass, that is attached to the outside of a building. Curtain walls are strictly a design choice, not a structural component of a building. A hallmark of modern architecture, curtain walls are utilized in high-rise buildings, apartment complexes, universities, libraries and more.
If you’re embarking on a new construction or are considering giving an existing building a facelift, weigh the pros and cons of installing curtain walls.
- Offer modern design. The sleek façade that comes with a curtain wall is a staple in modern architecture. The attractive building design makes a great first impression on people as they approach the building.
- Let in lots of natural light. With walls made completely of glass, there will be no shortage of natural light entering the building. Studies have shown that exposure to natural light increases energy and makes people happier—good news for anyone who spends time in the building.
- Are safe. Curtain walls are custom-made to fit each building and provide a secure barrier from extreme weather. In the event of an emergency, fire-rated curtain walls can slow the spread of fire throughout the building.
- Provide more insulation. Buildings that install curtain walls can be more energy efficient. Glass glazes provide an additional layer of insulation on curtain walls. In addition, since curtain walls form a tight seal on a building there is little to no air leakage. This means companies can save on their monthly heating and cooling bills.
- Cost more. Installing curtain walls is more expensive than installing regular windows. Curtain walls require specialized planning and precise measurements which are reflected in their cost.
- Are harder to install. Since curtain walls are installed on the outside of the building, unfavorable weather conditions may cause delays.
- Need regular maintenance. Proactive maintenance is recommended for buildings with curtain walls. Inspections and cleanings should occur regularly, and minor issues addressed promptly.
- May let too much light in. While natural light is a good thing, building owners must plan for times when the light is too bright. In addition to the obvious solution of hanging blinds or curtains, dark flooring can help to reduce the brightness in a room.
Is a curtain wall right for your building? True View’s window and glass experts are here to help you decide. Contact True View today to learn more about curtain walls.