Introduction to Curtain Wall Detailing and Its Different Types

The construction industry has advanced a lot and this is entirely based on the new concept, technology, and industry standards that are being introduced so as to complete the work with accuracy and precision. Today this post will be sharing the details all about curtain wall detailing and curtain wall shop drawings. Having said this, let us first have a clear understanding of curtain wall detailing as in what the service is all about.

A thin aluminum-framed wall that contains in-fills of glass, thin stone, or metal panels is termed as curtain wall detailing. It is that the frames that are associated or connected with the building structure do not carry the layout of the floor nor the load of the roof. It is the process in which the wind and the gravity load of the entire curtain wall are being transferred to the building structure, and that is typically visualized at the floor line. It was after World War II in which these aluminum-framed wall systems were developed rapidly and it was date back to the year 1930s. This supply of aluminum was then made available for non-military use.

Taking it further, curtain wall details dwg or curtain walling is a building envelope that has the intention of supporting its own weight and remain unaffected by the effects of the environmental forces and specifically the pressure of the wind. To communicate more precisely, the intention here is not at all considered in assisting the structural integrity of the building.

Now, the work of curtain wall detailing or curtain wall construction is defined in two main types;

  • Stick System
  • Unitized or Modular System

Key Elements of Curtain Wall Systems


Stick curtain walling systems allow the integration process of other systems to be done at a proper as well as in an effective manner. This entire integration work includes sliding doors and windows. The specialization of the service is less and can easily be built by all types of fabricators and for the same, there is no dependency on having a large factory.

To erect and seal the wall, one of the common thing that is required in this system is adherence of multiple steps that are associated with the service.When this is the requirement it clearly means that there would be more time be spent on the site. As per the survey, or a tentative rule, it is assumed that 70% of the work would be carried out or taken onto the site, and the rest 30% is in the factory. This further will be incurring the costs and that would be laborers’ time.


The detailing service for curtain walls is entirely different from that of the stick system. Here the details state that 30% of the work is carried on to the site and the rest 70% in the factory. The only reason for it is these systems are termed as modular systems and therefore the complete assembly of the units that are prepared in the factory brings with it a lot many benefits. These benefits are only effective when the team shows all the information in curtain wall details dwg.

Since, the systems are modular here, the option of glazing shop drawings along with glass shop drawings are also taken into consideration. It is the core responsibility of the steel detailer to make sure that these set of drawings i.e curtain wall details dwg and glazing shop drawings both are included in it with proper measurement and its sizing so as to understand the thickness of the overall curtain wall.

To this said, below mentioned are some of the benefits of the service.

  • Improvised Quality Control
  • Parallel Work altogether
  • No need for scaffolding
  • Quick Installation with less manpower
  • Installation can be done from the inner portion of the building as well
  • The requirement of less space on the site and its layout

One of the core advantages that is with unitized curtain walling is that there is no transfer of noise or sound from floor to floor or from room to room, as compared to the Stick system.

Now let us proceed further and check on some of the fundamentals of the service which is as mentioned below.

  • System Types
    This is stage of the services is overall segregated in three different variations. These variations are “Face-sealed”, “water-managed”, and “pressure-equalized rain screen systems”. Moreover if the discussion is related to air and water infiltration, the use of pressure equalized rain system is taken into consideration. This can therefore be easily shown up in curtain wall shop drawings that are being submitted to the clients. Well, therefore it is not wrong in saying with the system where water is managed appropriately, it is termed to be the next most reliable service. Similarly, there are different more system types that are taken into consideration when undertaking curtainwall projects.
  • Thermal Performance (Conduction, Comfort, Thermal Break, Solar Radiation)
    ThisThe consideration of the entire curtain wall is depending on the performance of its thermal usage. Here the overall usage, its functionality, and need of the said function play an important role. Thus it is necessary that the system must be taken care effectively and conveniently. Aluminum has a very high thermal conductivity. It is also that the curtain wall frame is the function of frame material, geometry, and fabrication (e.g. thermal break).
  • Moisture Protection (Water Penetration, Condensation Resistance)
    In glazing details, the resistance of water penetration is considered as a core function. This is because it contains drainage details, frame construction, frame gaskets, sealants, and a lot many other things that are playing an important role in the system. We all know that the water one of the essential needs given by nature to we humans, and also it is something than can enter from anywhere and any part of the exterior walls systems. This can be available with any mode of the forces and these are entirely from the nature. These forces are defined in five stages and those are surface tension, gravity, air pressure difference, capillary action, and kinetic energy. To avoid this water infiltration it is necessary that all these forces should be taken into consideration at a top priority in the initial design level and along with that should be replicated in the said drawing too.
  • Visual (Daylighting, Aesthetics)
    The key features of the said service are its glazing appearance and sightlines. These lines are defined as the visual profile of vertical as well as horizontal mullions. In the curtain wall frame the functions of sightlines are covered by and with both its ways one is its width and the other is its depth. The dictation of the frame depth os check and considered at the lateral load resistance as per its requirements. Moreover, wherever there are narrow sightlines required, it is the steel stiffeners that are inserted into the hollow frame of the aluminum extrusions and this portion of the work therefore will help in reducing the frame depth.
  • Sound (Acoustics)
    To stop air leakage, the sound performance of curtain walls is termed to be a primary function that considers glazing shop drawings and internal seals. The entire process of sound attenuation capability in the curtain wall can be improvised and this is all possible with the help of the installation of sound attenuating infill. If possible it is necessary that the construction phase of the project is done with highest accuracy and as per its necessity. To cover the noise there will always be a second option available to cover the exterior glass.
  • Back Pans
    When the work is related to back pans, they are metal sheet which is commonly made up of aluminum or galvanized steel. These metals are attached and sealed to the framing of the curtain wall that is surrounding the perimeter behind the opaque area of the curtain wall.During the climatic change in weather, and especially in cold climate, there comes issue in which when the dew occurs towards the back side of the pan, it occurs as a barrier for both air and vapor and this is due to the insulation which is being maintained at the outward of the backpan. Thus, for the same it is necessary that in the curtain wall shop drawings this section is taken care accurately and precisely.
  • Shadow Boxes
    In the field of construction, the work of the shadow box is to create the appearance of the metal curtain wall that is incorporated behind a transparent lite of glass. It is also that these sheet metal should be at least two inches behind the glass and this then can easily be painted or formed so as to create a better texture. Moreover, the reflective surface of the project will be adding more details and that too in-depth to the wall. Behind the shadow box, insulation is necessary to be installed only if the interior finishes the prevent room air from contacting the specified area. Further, the designing of the system should be designed so that there is a clarity on the part where the collection of the data can be easily available on the outer sider of the metal sheet with the intent of drainage system too.
  • Support of Curtain Walls
    It is that the curtain wall on its own will be demonstrating the movement and it will be entirely based on the movement that is caused by thermal changes. This is work that will be different from the regular process of work or movement for the building structure. Thus, the connections that need to anchor the curtain wall must be designed as well as allowed to be worked on differential movement with the update on resisting the current loads that are being applied.
Wrapping Up :

On reading this article it is clear onto making an understanding of what the service is along with its importance and types. Steel Construction Detailing is the leading company that closely works with its clients and make them understand the details of the service when they outsource curtain wall detailing services with us.

To communicate further or to understand what and how the service plays an important role you are just a call or an email away. Connect with us today or write to us at

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