What Is Curtain Walling And Should You Include It In Your Build?

16.12.22

When you approach a building of any kind, what is the first thing you notice? In most cases, it is going to be the design and what the outside of the building looks like.

So, if you’re currently working on a building project, it stands to reason that you need to put some careful thought into its facade.

Of course, you want your project to look good, but you also need to make sure that the property is protected from the elements. Other key considerations include durability and budget, so it is at this stage you might start thinking about curtain walling.

This type of facade offers a beautiful modern look and finish, as well as a number of other benefits. We’re now going to look in more detail at what curtain walling is and whether you should include this in your build.

What is curtain walling?

Curtain walling is a non-structural cladding system on the exterior of a building envelope. Typically these will be made from lightweight aluminium frames and glazing panels, though this can vary. In many cases, glass panels will be used to let light into the property, though opaque panels are also an option.

As the panels are not structural, they do not support any of the weight of the building. This is what makes them unique, as, unlike other external walling, they do not make up an integral part of the structure. They are purely designed for appearance and weather-proofing the building.

This system is used to wrap a building to give it a modern finish and elegant look. We tend to associate curtain walling with larger buildings, particularly multi-storey structures, though this style is becoming more popular in domestic properties too.

What is it used for?

As we’ve said, curtain walling is largely used as a design element to make the property look good, but this is not its only function. Designed to be durable, it offers lasting protection to the building and protects the interior from the elements, such as rain and strong winds.

If glassed panels are used, this can allow a tremendous amount of natural light into the building. This can be a huge mood booster to inhabitants but can also help to control the climate from within, making the building more energy efficient.

In terms of aesthetics, the sleek, modern finish makes the building look great and is easier to clean to ensure it looks good for years to come.

What buildings typically feature curtain walling?

As we’ve said, we tend to associate this type of facade with larger buildings, often more commercial properties. For example, shopping centres, office blocks, modern skyscrapers and high-rise flats can feature curtain walling.

That being said, this style is increasingly being applied to domestic properties too. Many new designs feature curtain walling as a way of flooding the living space with natural light and maximising beautiful views of the surrounding areas.

What’s more, curtain walling on domestic properties isn’t just about glass panels; it also includes feature bi-folding doors and more.

Should you use curtain walling on your build?

At this stage, you might be wondering whether or not to use curtain walling on your build, which is what we’re going to discuss. Although every build is unique, there are certain considerations you can make to help you determine if this is going to be the right facade for your project.

Firstly, you need to think about the type of building and whether curtain walling could be beneficial. In most instances, if you’re working on a larger project, such as an office block, then a glazing facade like this can look great whilst also being functional. However, if you’re working on a smaller project, you might not need walling like this.

Next, you need to think about how much natural light you want inside the property. This is the ideal system for letting in huge amounts of light, but in some cases, this can be distracting or damaging. So think about what’s practical and what would best suit the inhabitants of the property.

Maintenance should also be a consideration, as curtain walling can require a higher level of maintenance than other types of building envelopes. It will need regular cleaning and looking after, so think about how much maintenance you can feasibly handle.

Finally, you need to think about the budget. Although large glass panels can be more expensive, as a general rule, these panels are lightweight, therefore, can actually end up saving you money on construction. Plus, you can make the building more energy efficient, saving costs elsewhere.