Curtain wall testing and inspection is a critical step in the window replacement project. Although curtain walls are non-structural, they protect the building against air and water leaks. Here we explain how testing is performed, and its importance in ensuring performance standards are met.
When is Curtain Wall Testing Performed?
Windows are chosen randomly while the replacement is in progress or nearing completion.
What Does Curtain Wall Testing Involve?
Curtain walls are tested using air and water infiltration tests to confirm that the installed materials meet the required performance standards.
Air infiltration testing
Air infiltration testing is performed first. The inspector places the window under a specified static air pressure to measure the airflow through the unit. It requires a vacuum chamber on the interior of the window unit and an airtight exterior plastic covering. Next, pressure is applied to take a controlled condition reading, measuring the amount of airflow through the controlled setup. Once recorded, the exterior plastic is removed to record any airflow increases. If the air infiltration exceeds the permitted amount, the window fails the test.
Water infiltration testing
Water infiltration testing is performed next. The window unit is placed under specified static air pressure, and the exterior is sprayed with water for 15 minutes. Some tests also include a three-cycle spray of 5 minutes on and 1 minute off. The inspector then looks for any signs of water infiltration in the interior. If leaks are detected, the test is considered a failure.
What Happens if a Window Fails the Tests?
If the window fails the test, the engineer and contractor will modify the installation and test again. Once the modifications pass the test, the contractor applies the same modifications to the windows they’ve installed and those yet to be replaced.
Why is Curtain Wall Testing Essential?
Curtain wall testing during the installation process ensures windows can withstand wind, rain, and the elements. As a result, it reduces the risk of window failure and water damage while keeping the space throughout the building comfortable. Exterior inspections of curtain wall façades should also be performed periodically to maintain performance and identify the need for window replacement or repairs. Assessments also identify risks of possible hazards for pedestrians below.
What are the Benefits of Curtain Wall Testing and Inspection?
There are several benefits to curtain wall testing and inspection, including:
- Protecting the building from costly damage
- Protecting pedestrians from falling hazards related to glass damage
- Ensuring the building meets regulatory requirements and standards
- Increasing the safety and quality of installations
- Greatly improving building energy efficiency
- Increasing tenant safety and comfort
Avoiding fines related to building requirements and standards breaches
Although curtain wall testing seems like an extra step in the window replacement process, it is essential to ensure proper function.
At WellDone Inc., a building restoration company specializing in building improvements for commercial and multi-unit residential buildings throughout the GTA, we have the expertise to assess and complete your curtain wall projects. If you want more information about our building restoration services, reach out to us today.