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What Is The Difference Between A Stick Curtain Wall System And A Unitary Curtain Wall System?

What Is The Difference Between A Stick Curtain Wall System And A Unitary Curtain Wall System?
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When it comes to curtain wall systems, there are two main types: the stick curtain wall system and the unitary curtain wall system. But what's the difference between them? In this post, we'll break down the key differences so you can decide which type is right for your project.

 

A unitary curtain wall system is a more common type of curtain wall that is made up of a single sheet of fabric that is attached to the wall at the top and bottom. Curtain Wall - A curtain wall is a self-supporting and structurally independent system that typically spans multiple floors. They are described as lightweight, non-structural façades, often framed in aluminum and containing glass, sheet metal, or thin stone infill panels. These particular walls are not structurally designed to be load-bearing except for their own weight. Curtain walls are thin walls with aluminum frames. It can be fitted with various fillings including glass, sheet metal, or thin stone. The frame is attached to the building structure. Does not carry roof or floor loads; instead, it relies on the building structure, especially on the floor line.

What Is The Difference Between A Stick Curtain Wall System And A Unitary Curtain Wall System? 1

There are two common types of curtain walls that are very similar in many respects, including their flexibility, elasticity, and customizability, but it is the way they are made and installed that ultimately makes them either "stick" or classified as " Rod "modular" (aka "modular") curtain wall system. 

 

A stick curtain wall system: Is made up of thin, vertical sticks that are connected at the top. If your project doesn't meet most of the criteria for a modular system, your other option is to use a stick system. The vast majority of low to medium-height curtain walls are installed this way. Long sheets of aluminum (hence the name poles) are inserted vertically and horizontally between the floors between the vertical members to support the load of the glass and transfer it back to the structure.

 

Stick-Built Systems: As the name suggests, "sticks" (extended sheets of aluminum) are inserted vertically and horizontally between decks to form the frames (posts) that are later used to support the enclosed panels. Pole building systems are commonly used for vertical and polygonal facades, and while they are suitable for many of these projects, one of the main drawbacks of this method is that it requires many processes to erect the walls.

 

What Is a Stick Curtain Wall System?

A stick curtain wall system is made up of individual panels that are put together on-site. The panels are usually made of glass, metal, or a combination of both, and they're held together by metal frames.

This system is more labor-intensive than a unitary curtain wall system, which is why it's usually more expensive. But because each panel is separate, you have a lot more flexibility when it comes to design. You can also easily replace individual panels if they get damaged.

Stick curtain wall systems are often used in commercial buildings, while unitary curtain wall systems are more common in residential buildings.

 

What Is a Unitary Curtain Wall System?

A unitary curtain wall system is one where the entire facade is made out of glass. It's a single, monolithic piece.

Now, there are a few different ways to achieve this look. You can either have the glass panels set into a metal frame, or you can use a unitized system where the panels are pre-glazed and then assembled on-site.

One of the benefits of using a unitary curtain wall system is that you get a seamless look. There's no need for any framing or mullions, which can detract from the esthetic of the building. Plus, it's easier to clean and maintain.

 

What is The Difference Between A Stick Curtain Wall System And A Unitary Curtain Wall System?

The differences mainly lie in their method of installation. In addition, they often differ in their method of fabrication. For instance, the large units for Unitary systems are already assembled and glazed at the manufacturing site. On the other hand, the parts required for stick systems will be fabricated at the actual work site.

Also, In the stick system, the curtain wall frame (mullions) and glass or opaque panels are installed and connected together piece by piece. In the unitized system, the curtain wall is composed of large units that are assembled and glazed in the factory, shipped to the site, and erected on the building.

And from an Esthetic aspect, A Stick Curtain Wall System looks more like a traditional wall, while a Unitary Curtain Wall System has a more modern look. In the following, we will see the most important pros and cons of these two systems in order to better understand the difference between them.

What Is The Difference Between A Stick Curtain Wall System And A Unitary Curtain Wall System? 2

What Is The Advantages and Disadvantages of Stick and Unitary Curtain Wall Systems?

There are pros and cons to both systems. With a stick system, you have more flexibility when it comes to design, and you can also make last-minute changes if needed. However, this type of system is more labor-intensive and can be difficult to install.

A unitary curtain wall system is easier to install, but it's not as flexible when it comes to design. It's also more expensive than a stick system.

 

When to Use Stick or Unitary Curtain Wall Systems

Stick systems are cheaper and easier to install, but they're not as durable as unitary systems. Unitary systems are more expensive, but they're stronger and more weather-resistant.

So when should you use a stick system, and when should you use a unitary system? That all depends on your project's needs. If you're looking for a low-cost option that's still durable, go with a stick system. But if you need a more robust solution that can withstand extreme weather conditions, go with a unitary system.

 

How To Install Curtain Wall?

To install a pole structure curtain wall, each panel unit must be connected and sealed individually, which means more time - estimated to be up to 70% of the project - is spent on site. This method usually requires a team of experienced installers to remain on site, which is time-consuming and expensive. In addition, the quality of a stick system can be greatly affected by factors such as the local environment and field handling

 

Summary:

There are several key differences between a Stick Curtain Wall System and a Unitary Curtain Wall System. Here are the three most important ones:

1. Installation: A Stick Curtain Wall System is easier to install, as it doesn't require the use of a frame or mullions. A Unitary Curtain Wall System is more complicated to install and requires a frame or mullions.

2. Thermal Performance: A Stick Curtain Wall System is better at keeping the heat in or out, as it has a higher R-value. A Unitary Curtain Wall System does not have as good of thermal performance.

3. Esthetics: A Stick Curtain Wall System looks more like a traditional wall, while a Unitary Curtain Wall System has a more modern look.

 

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