Sep 26, 2022 11:00:00 AM | 5 Min Read

Pros & Cons of Panel Installation and Stick System for Curtain Walls

Posted By Reynaers Aluminium
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Pros & Cons of Panel Installation and Stick System for Curtain Walls

You can't go wrong with a curtain wall when designing architecturally attractive buildings with visually appealing, environmentally friendly details. The designs are highly versatile. They can be built to allow more light into the building — or less. They can provide sound insulation and help prevent water from entering the building from the exterior.

Benefits of Aluminum Curtain Walls

Aluminum curtain walls are exceptionally environmentally friendly and versatile. They can even be used to build passive energy houses and commercial buildings as they are constructed out of strong and recyclable aluminum and can be built to the highest thermal efficiency requirements.

Along with custom designs, curtain walls offer two installation methods: panel and stick-built systems. Let’s take a look at each curtain wall built type in detail.

Panel System Curtain Walls

Panel system curtain walls are also referred to as unitized curtain wall systems. They are pre-assembled at the factory and transported to the construction site, where they are hoisted into place and secured. You can think of this process as building a modular home where all the large pieces for the house are factory built and then assembled on-site.

Pros of Panel Built

  • They are built in a climate-controlled environment.
  • They are extremely high quality and are built to strict tolerances.
  • They are glazed at the manufacturing site.
  • They can offer better performance than stick-built.
  • They are faster to install.

Cons of Panel Built

  • Not every type of curtain wall can be pre-built at the factory.
  • Transportation costs are higher than with stick built.
  • Lead times are often longer than with stick-built systems.
  • The amount of aluminum profiles needed is higher than stick-built, raising the cost of materials.
  • More storage space is needed on site as the system is in larger units.

Stick-Built Curtain Walls

Stick-built curtain walls involve transporting the materials to build the curtain wall system to the site, assembling the entirety of the project on-site, then installing it. You can think of these as stick-built buildings where the wood, insulation, and finishing materials are dropped off at the site and then put together by the construction team.

Pros of Stick Built

  • Lower cost to transport the materials to the site.
  • Shorter lead times because nothing is prebuilt.
  • Great for extremely complex systems that cannot be pre-built.
  • Not a lot of storage space is needed on site.

Cons of Stick Built

  • Takes longer to install than a unitized system.
  • Requires highly skilled workers to install on site.
  • Labor costs are higher due to the need for highly skilled workers.

Choosing the Right Build for Your Curtain Wall

While both types of curtain walls will provide energy efficiency, a lower carbon footprint, and great thermal efficiency, it’s important to consider a few factors when choosing your build method.

How much glazing do you want?

Glazing typically refers to the number of panes of glass in each panel of your curtain wall. In general, you can have single, double, and triple-glazed glass. The more panes of glass, the better your thermal efficiency, and that efficiency is improved further when you have those panes of glass installed into the frames at the factory.

Do you have the time to wait for preassembled walls?

What’s your construction time frame? If you’re on a tight schedule, you may not be able to wait a year for your pre-built panels. However, if you’re early in the design and construction process, you may be able to order those panels, and they’ll be ready to deliver when you’re ready to have them installed.

Do you have the storage space for the curtain wall materials?

If you don’t have time to wait for the curtain walls but have time to assemble and install them on-site, consider your storage space. Stick-built curtain walls are delivered as materials to the construction site, and you’ll need a place to put those pallets. This could be the building's parking lot or somewhere at the back of the property. Construction sites in the suburbs typically have more space available than those in the city, and it’s something to consider when choosing how to assemble your curtain wall.

Curtain Walls From Reynaers Aluminum

If you want to make your building project more sustainable and environmentally friendly, you can’t go wrong with a curtain wall. Reynaers Aluminum offers both unitized and stick-built curtain walls and windows so that you can have panoramic views that make the outside feel like it’s inside. Our curtain walls offer super-high insulation for maximum energy efficiency—including our CW50HI+, which has a C2C Bronze certificate.

See Our Curtain Walls Brochure

Topics: Curtain Walls

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