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Framed walls consist of slender, vertical, closely spaced structural members, tied together with horizontal members at top and bottom, and interior and exterior facings. Thermal insulation may be placed between the components. Figure 1.5b shows a wood-framed exterior wall.

Combination walls are constructed of several different materials. Metal, brick, concrete, or clay tile may be used as the exterior facing because of strength, durability, and water and fire resistance. These materials, however, are relatively expensive. Consequently, the exterior facing is made thin and backed up with a less expensive material. For example, brick may be used as an exterior facing with wood framing or concrete block as the backup.

Systems for Enclosing Interior Spaces

Exterior walls may be classified as curtain walls or bearing walls. Curtain walls serve primarily as an enclosure. Supported by the structural system, such walls need to be strong enough to carry only their own weight and wind pressure on the exterior face. Bearing walls, in contrast, serve not only as an enclosure but also to transmit to the foundation loads from other building components, such as beams, floors, roofs, and other walls.

Floor-Ceiling Systems

Openings are provided in exterior walls for a variety of purposes, but mainly for windows and doors. Where openings occur, structural support must be provided over them to carry the weight of the wall above and any other loads on that portion of the wall. Usually, a beam called a lintel is placed over openings in masonry walls (Fig. 1.5a) and a beam called a top header is set over openings in woodframed walls.

A window usually consists of transparent glass or plastics (glazing) held in place by light framing, called sash. The window is fitted into a frame secured to the walls. For sliding windows, the frame carries guides in which the sash slides. For swinging windows, stops against which the window closes are built into the frame.

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Hardware is provided to enable the window to function as required. For movable windows, the hardware includes grips for moving them, locks, hinges for swinging windows, and sash balances and pulleys for vertically sliding windows. The main purposes of windows are to illuminate the building interior with daylight, to ventilate the interior, and to give occupants a view of the outside. For retail stores, windows may have the major purpose of giving passersby a view of items displayed inside.

Doors are installed in exterior walls to give access to or from the interior or to prevent such access. For similar reasons, doors are also provided in interior walls and partitions. Thus, a door may be part of a system for enclosing a building or a component of a system for enclosing interior spaces.

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