In the architectural design of buildings, an important element that requires special attention is the front or main facade. A facade is the exterior face of a construction facing the public, which serves as a letter of introduction and invitation to people passing through the street.
There are several types of facade, which use different types of materials and have particular ways of manufacturing and installation. One of the most popular types are light facades, among which the curtain wall stands out.
In this post, we are going to teach you EVERYTHING about the curtain wall, a type of modern facade that is worth taking into account for your projects. To get started, let’s answer the following question:
A curtain wall is a type of continuous lightweight facade that is installed primarily at the front of a building and is independent of the building structure. It is a buildable layer of aluminum profiles and glass panes that is quick to install (compared to the installation of traditional concrete facades), has little weight and thanks to the materials used, provides modernity and elegance to the exterior of the edification.
The principle on which the curtain wall is based is that of independent light facades. In ancient times, the first facades used in buildings were a fundamental part of its general structure. This limited the ability to design facades with horizontal and vertical openings, since they compromised the support of the loads generated by the structure. This inconvenience prevented the use of natural light and required the facade to be robust and made of suitable materials for the loads.
With the appearance of glass and the study of structures and the distribution of loads in construction, gaps covered by windows were added that served to personalize the front face of the buildings and at the same time allowed to take advantage of part of the natural lighting offered by Sun.
After these hybrid facades became popular, the idea of separating the facade as a separate element from the structure was formulated. This was proposed to maximize the use of natural daytime lighting, implement new materials that would serve as thermal and acoustic insulation, improve the aesthetic section and have greater creative freedom without sacrificing structural stability.
Thus we come to the present, where the curtain wall as a type of independent facade, allows the exterior of a building to be covered in a continuous and uniform manner, without the need to modify or compromise its heavy structure.
Although it is a simple system in terms of the number of profiles, filling and installation process, it is still a facade with great features at the design level. Among the main features we have:
– It is light. The aluminum alloy profiles are resistant and, thanks to their density, add little weight to the total assembly. Of course, this does not mean that the system does not have considerable weight, but compared to a traditional facade, the difference is enormous.
– Allows the use of natural light. This factor is important to reduce energy expenditure on artificial lighting that the building may need, while allowing the reduction of electrical energy consumption, which makes it an environmentally friendly option.
– Does not significantly affect the weight supported by the steel or concrete structure of the building. Being an independent system, the loads associated with its weight do not affect the total of the building.
– Serves as a protective element from the rain. The aluminum profiles, together with the glass panels and sealing elements such as silicone, rubber and others, prevent the passage of water into the interior of the building.
– Thermal insulation depends on the type of glass used and the layers of protective paper it has.
There are mainly two types of curtain wall, those with an exposed profile and those with a hidden profile. In those with a visible profile, we can differentiate those with a flat lid and those with an oval lid. In general, each type has the following characteristics:
It is a system that uses aluminum profiles for uprights and crossbars. These are the ones in charge of supporting the glass panels, which are attached to the structure by means of a press cover installed on the outside of the facade on the glass and as an aesthetic element it receives a final flat decorative cover.
Similar to the previous type of wall, the aluminum profiles for uprights and crossbars support the glass panes, which are attached to the structure by means of a pressure cap installed on the outside of the facade on the glass, and in this case the end cap is oval.
In this case, the aluminum profiles for uprights and crossbars support the glass panes, which are attached to the structure thanks to connecting elements for internal glazing.
The curtain wall facade uses 6063-T5 aluminum alloy profiles with thicknesses ranging from 1.5mm to 3.2mm. These profiles come in available finishes: natural anodized, white lacquered, black anodized and bronze anodized. The physical and mechanical properties of this aluminum alloy make it the perfect material for outdoor products that require high durability and easy cleaning and maintenance.
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