There’s hardly a city in the world that doesn’t have any number of buildings that are designed with curtain wall systems. From the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong to Museum of Modern Art in New York designers love this form of design for its aesthetic qualities and relative cost effectiveness in comparison to traditional building methods.
Curtain walls first appeared in 1909 in Kansas City, Missouri when little known architect Louis Curtiss unveiled the Boley Building to house the Boley Clothing Company men’s fashion range. It didn’t take long for this new style of structure to spread across the world and it shaped the way our cities look today.
Curtain wall systems literally hang from exterior of a structure, like curtains would around a window frame. Beautiful and highly functional when it comes to keeping the elements out and the temperature in curtain walls are the perfect façade for most commercial buildings.
So what’s not to like?
There aren’t many things to dislike about curtain wall systems, but they need to be looked after to work effectively.
The most common fault with curtain walling is leaks. Weather is the most likely culprit when it comes to damage to a curtain wall system. Wind, rain, and condensation will all affect whether your curtain wall keeps the elements out. Damage could lead to it feeling a little breezy or it being cold no matter how much you turn the temperature on the thermostat up.
What can I do to prevent damage?
Deterioration of exterior components is the most likely cause of failure, so choosing the right gaskets and sealant material is crucial. Buying poor quality materials could lead to air infiltration, condensation and mould growth in any gaps in the components.
After you’ve chosen your materials and installed your curtain wall system the best way to make sure it doesn’t become damaged is to keep up a proper maintenance routine and carry out regular inspections.
Curtain wall maintenance checklist
- Examine all gaskets and sealants for splits, breaks, or openings.
- Replace anything that is damaged or deteriorated.
- Inspect the system joints to check that the framing components aren’t letting water in.
- Evaluate the building’s thermal insulation capabilities in the insulating panels.
What do I do if there is damage or disintegration?
Routine inspections and up to date maintenance records will go a long way to keeping your curtain wall system in tip top condition, but if you do find damage then it is important to get it repaired as soon as possible.
Specialist curtain wall maintenance companies will carry out any curtain wall repair that you might need so it’s best to contact them the moment you find any damage. Leaving things longer could lead to more damage or mould growing in the gaps between components.
All of this could make repairs even more costly and you could find you are breaking building regulations by now getting repairs completed in a reasonable amount of time.
Rob Rudd has a keen amateur interest in architecture after having minored in it at University. When not writing, he currently enjoys taking some time off to catch up with Wimbledon.