Curtain wall replacement is a large undertaking after you’ve discovered that your building’s curtain wall is costing you hundreds in utility bills. Unfortunately, it is not a simple repair in the slightest, as they often require a great deal of disassembly which is both costly and time-consuming, as well as disruptive to the occupants of the building. A more affordable, but often under-utilized solution to total replacement of underperforming curtain wall is an interior curtain wall retrofit.
Common Signs of Old Curtain Wall:
- Glazing failure – cracking may show excess thermal loading. This occurs due to the heated exposed part expanding while the unexposed part remains cool, leading to tension that causes cracks in the glass.
- Old or damaged gaskets/caulking – gaskets and seals that secure the glazing and cushion the glass may begin to dry out, shrink, and crack as they get older, leading to air spaces and allowing air and moisture. Old or damaged gaskets may loosen and pull away from the frame, causing the glass to lose stability and increasing the risk of the glass shattering or blowing out.
- ¼ inch or monolithic glass – before the 1980s, most commercial glazing used single pane glass even in the coldest environments. All modern buildings now use insulated glass units. If your building has ¼ inch glazing, it’s time to replace it.
A building envelope that has an older curtain wall system can be enhanced much more affordably and quickly with an interior curtain wall retrofit system. RetroWAL™ is a window system by Thermolite that uses a window attachment lite (WAL™) that adheres to the interior of the existing window frame without requiring structural reinforcement. It seals up any air seams or other performance issues relating to curtain wall degradation or damage, while leaving the original curtain wall intact. This is an ideal solution for building owners that are satisfied with the aesthetics of the building’s exterior but unhappy with the curtain wall’s performance.
Price Comparison – Curtain Wall Replacement vs. Interior Curtain Wall Retrofit System:
- Curtain wall Replacement (including removal, disposal, new windows, and installation) may cost upwards of $175 to $250 per square foot.
- Interior Curtain Wall Retrofit System costs on average $25 to $50 per square foot.
In addition to a significant savings in price, RetroWAL™ interior curtain wall retrofitting has other benefits, including:
- Improvement in thermal performance – RetroWAL™ has been found to save 20% on energy on average.
- Better sound control – RetroWAL™ has been tested to an STC rating of 49 and OITC of 33.
RetroWAL™ is the world’s first DIY commercial curtain wall retrofit system; therefore, there is no need for additional expenses for installation labor. Opting for curtain wall retrofitting is also a money-saving opportunity in that the system can be installed within 10 minutes, so it can be done during off-hours without disrupting daily business. Contact Thermolite today to learn more about our RetroWAL™ interior curtain wall system.
The Thermolite engineering staff is an innovative structural, energy modelling, and implementation team that works to create unique window systems alternatives to traditional replacement windows. Our systems protect against blasts, hurricanes, and sound, while being energy efficient and quick and easy to install. We serve a wide range of industry buildings including government, military, historical, schools and universities, financial, health care, hospitality, and offices. Contact us today to learn how we could update your building’s window systems.