Types of Curtain Wall Systems: Which One to Choose?

The two most common types of curtain wall systems are stick and unitised. Stick built curtain walls are installed piece by piece on site. On the other hand, unitised systems (from the word united) are already pre-fabricated and ready to be installed as panels.

Aside from stick and unitised, ladder systems are also getting popular as curtain walls. They have several similarities with the stick systems. The difference is that some sections of the curtain wall are already pre-fabricated. In other words, this could be somehow considered as a combination of stick and unitised.

Why choose a stick-built system?

As mentioned earlier, the curtain wall will be installed piece by piece on site. The “sticks” which are usually made from aluminium are placed between floors vertically. Other “sticks” will be installed horizontally. The result is that the sticks will transfer back the load to the building.

Two known advantages of this are economy and speed. For many applications stick-built systems are said to be more cost effective. In addition, the materials are readily available (minimal pre-fabrication) which means faster project progress.

However, the time saved might be offset by the longer duration of installation (the curtain wall is installed piece by piece). There could also be issues about the space because of the areas needed for installation and material storage.

Why choose unitised systems?

On the other hand, one main advantage of unitised systems is the speed of installation. After all, the large panels are already pre-fabricated and are ready to be installed. However, the pre-fabrication process might take a few months before the panels will be ready.

The large panels are usually pre-fabricated in a climate-controlled environment. As a result, the panels are said to be of high quality or adhering to specifications. The facade engineers can also inspect the process of fabrication and glazing to ensure high standards.

Aside from quality, installation of a unitised curtain wall also leads to cost savings (especially labour costs). It’s a direct result of faster installation (only one-third of the time is required compared to stick systems) which translates to fewer weeks or months of labour.

Types of curtain wall systems

There are pros and cons to each category. Costs and constraints (space for installation, project timeline) can largely determine the choice of which curtain wall system to adopt for your building.

Here at CGS Facade Group, we can start with your vision and analyse the constraints. We can then create a design that aligns with your company’s ideals and brand image. Aside from the design, we also take care of the analysis for thermal efficiency and acoustics performance of the building.

Contact us today and our technical team will handle the curtain wall construction from start to finish. We provide free consultation and quote. We also perform factory inspections to ensure all the materials for the curtain wall are of high integrity.