Demountable wall systems, also called movable walls, are incredible solutions for creating flexible enclosed environments that can adapt over time. With these products come a number of terms that you may or may not be familiar with. We created this handy glossary of terms to help you better understand the nuances of these solutions and converse more easily with your general contractor, architect, designer or vendor!

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  • Back-painted glass
    Back painted glass is any form of clear glass that is painted from the back side andv viewed from the front side. It is commonly used to create colored glass walls and glass markerboards.
  • Butt glazing
    An installation where the glass is joined without structural support on the vertical edges. Butt glazing is used to create larger uninterrupted spans of glass for an elegant, streamlined aesthetic.
  • Double glazed
    Two pieces of glass separated by a vacuum. Double glazing offers superior acoustics for enclosed spaces.
  • Glass fronts
    Modular glass walls on one side of an enclosed space, used in combination with solid demountable wall panels on the other sides, or traditional drywall. Glass fronts can be more cost effective than traditional glazing.
  • Laminated glass
    Laminated glass has an interlayer between its two or more layers – typically polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylense-vinyl acetate (EVA). This interlayer holds it together when shattered, as well as offers additional acoustical benefits.
  • Linear foot
    A 12-inch measurement of length in a straight line. When specifying demountable walls, the number of linear feet is calculated rather than cubic feet.
  • Modular walls
    Modular wall systems are stick-built from parts and pieces and are fully assembled on site. Installation requires more labor and coordination than unitized systems, but they offer a greater variety of specification options. Modular walls are often designed parametrically.
  • Parametric
    Parametric sizing is the ability to change dimensions of a product within pre-engineered limits. Sizes can be specified to 1/32nd of an inch, allowing for virtually any size to be ordered. Parametric sizing reduces the need to place orders through special order, leading to a decrease in order processing time, immediate availability of pricing, and an overall cost savings for the customer.
  • Profile
    The profile refers to the height of the base trim, typically between 7/8” and 4”. Lower profiles create more open and transparent aesthetics.
  • Sidelight
    A sidelight is a narrow vertical window that flanks a door or a larger window.
  • Single glazed
    Glass that is made up of a single pane.
  • Skin
    A skin is an outer surface that is applied to the frame of a demountable wall. Because skins are separate from the structure, they can be segmented differently on opposite sides of the wall. Skins can be removed and changed out for another material. A skin can be painted steel, fabric-wrapped steel, laminate, veneer, wood, ceramic whiteboard, etc.
  • STC
    STC stands for Sound Transmission Class, which rates how much sound a wall or barrier will stop.

    • For spaces where privacy is desired but the sensitivity of information is not an issue, STC ratings of 25-35 are recommended. Single and double-glazed glass walls are options for this level of privacy.
    • For spaces where privacy and the sensitivity of conversations is of high concern, STC of 40-52 is ideal. Solid wall panels, alone or in combination with double-glazed glass walls are the best option.
    • Here are some example ratings:25        Normal speech easily understood
      30        Normal speech audible, but unintelligible
      35        Loud speech audible and understandable
      38        Normal speech inaudible, loud speech audible, but not understandable
      40        Loud speech audible, but unintelligible
      45        Loud speech barely audible
      50        Shouting barely audible
      55        Shouting not audible
  • Tempered glass
    Tempered glass fractures into small, relatively harmless pieces when shattered. It is about four times stronger than regular glass.
  • Transom
    A transom is a transverse horizontal structural beam or bar, or a crosspiece separating a door from a window above it.
  • Unitized walls
    Unitized wall systems are pre-assembled as a unit prior to delivery on site for installation. Installation and reconfiguration is typically very quick and requires less labor than modular wall systems.

We hope this glossary is helpful as you compare demountable wall systems!

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