The Advantages


In a fast-changing world, Knauf Exterior Wall with AQUAPANEL® Technology delivers creativity, certainty and complete peace of mind whatever the building type – from offices and high-rise residential accommodation through to hospitals and stadia.

Challenging the dominance of brick and block, Knauf Exterior Wall is helping shape some of the world’s most ambitious and breath-taking projects, including the Allianz Arena (Munich), the Chinese Opera House (Xiqu Centre) in Hong Kong, the Eagle in Flight (Tirana) and the ‘A House’ in Yongin (South Korea). Knauf Exterior Wall doesn’t just build on the skills and experience of architects. It helps them step away from traditional thinking and conventional construction methods – and to build inspirational spaces for the world to enjoy.

As a complete and lightweight drywall system, it sets a new standard for strength, versatility and  performance. It can be shaped and curved into endlessly imaginative designs. It can carry a wide range of finishes – from paint, render and tiles through to decorative cladding. Its lightweight properties mean it can be used to create floor extensions and facade systems which repurpose old buildings and extend their service life. It’s a truly sustainable and future-proofed solution, helping create energy efficient buildings. It’s also easy to work with, promoting safe and speedy construction.


Knauf Exterior Wall comes in two basic types: drywall, or as a rear-ventilated rainscreen facade. It therefore offers an extremely flexible and adaptable solution which can accommodate an impressive range of designs, opening up new architectural possibilities and helping to turn vision into reality, whether it’s being used to create commercial or high-rise residential buildings, or sports arenas or healthcare establishments. Truly, we are changing the way the world builds.

Knauf Exterior Wall – drywall solution
Drywall systems are available as single stud or double stud solutions with a variety of creative design options. And although it is most commonly used in skeleton constructions comprising reinforced concrete, drywall is also suitable for timber or lightweight steel-frame constructions.

Knauf Exterior Wall – rear-ventilated rainscreen facade
With rainscreen facades for use above solid substructures such as brick or concrete, thermal insulation is separated from the weather protection materials ensuring a constant flow of air in the ventilated space to remove moisture from the building and to optimise indoor climate. Even if the facade is damaged, the insulation remains intact.

Note: Please consult the local partner organisation of Knauf Aquapanel for more information on country-specific building requirements and legislation. Technical advice on this website is based on standard criteria.


Architects and specifiers worldwide are discovering the liberating potential of Knauf Exterior Wall with AQUAPANEL® Technology. Strong, light and easy to shape into inspirational designs, the system is also able to accommodate a huge range of finishes to beautiful effect. And thanks to its easy adaptability and simple integration of building technology, Knauf Exterior Wall always remains flexible against any usage – or weather-related influences.


With a bending radius of 3 metres (full board) and 1 m (300 mm strips), AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Outdoor allows designers to introduce a variety of curved shapes and creative designs, including domes and arches. Moreover, by using double studs, it’s possible to create different interiors and exteriors: for example, a wall that’s concave on the outside, and convex on the inside.


Compatible with an extensive range of surface finishes, from paint and renders, through to adhered materials like clinker bricks, tiles or glass elements, Knauf Exterior Wall solutions offer unlimited scope for creative expression. Even a variety of cladding systems can be realised, resulting in very thin ventilated constructions, because the required insulation is already integrated inside the drywall.

Note: Please consult the local partner organisation of Knauf Aquapanel for more information on country-specific building requirements and legislation. Technical advice on this website is based on standard criteria.


The lightweight nature of Knauf Exterior Wall doesn’t just help deliver efficient and economical builds, it delivers significant financial benefits too, both in terms of construction costs and rental or resale value.


Because Knauf Exterior Wall with AQUAPANEL® Technology is a lightweight solution, there is significantly less bearing load in both primary construction and foundation works. How significant the weight difference between traditional construction methods and Knauf Exterior Wall can be, is shown in the graphs at the bottom of this page. As a result, the building design and its construction can be executed much more cost-effectively. Weight for weight, Knauf Exterior Wall solutions also cost less to transport than traditional building materials such as brick, while the speed of installation reduces the extended need for scaffolding, helping cut
rental costs. Equally, the use of drywall solutions eliminates water waste, while a faster drying time minimises the amount of energy needed to dry out the construction. These advantages drive cost benefit into the project right from the start.

Minimum weight savings due to the usage of Knauf Exterior Wall compared with traditional solutions*
These figures show the minimum difference in weight per square metre of an undisturbed wall based on the six drywall solutions.


With Knauf Exterior Wall, it is possible to achieve the same thermal performance as brick and block with a thinner wall thickness, meaning that more internal floor space is available for sale or for rent. The graphs at the bottom of this page show how much of the area occupied by the exterior wall in traditional ways of construction can be converted into usable, productive space by using Knauf Exterior Wall. Equally, speedy construction means that a sale – or rental return – can be achieved more quickly than with traditional construction methods. Both factors combine to ensure a faster and higher return on investment.

Minimum difference in wall thickness of Knauf Exterior Wall compared with traditional solutions*
These figures show the minimum difference in wall thickness based on the six drywall solutions.

Note: Please consult the local partner organisation of Knauf Aquapanel for more information on country-specific building requirements and legislation. Technical advice on this website is based on standard criteria.


The installation of Knauf Exterior Wall is fast and efficient. It’s components are light and easy to handle and due to the just in time window installation and the fast closing of the building envelope, the construction is largely weather-independent and interior works can begin significantly earlier than with conventional building methods.

Simplified installation
Knauf Exterior Walls with AQUAPANEL® Technology are easy to use. All drywall and facade works – exterior, interior and finishing – can be carried out by a single trade, meaning fewer hands and less risk as well as a streamlined construction process. Only the cabling and pipework inside the interior stud frame as well as window and windowsill installation require the involvement of additional parties.

Easier handling
The core component of Knauf Exterior Wall – AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Outdoor – is a lightweight board, making it much easier to handle. No pre-drilling is required, while a simple ‘score and snap’ technique means it can be cut quickly and efficiently. It also has a bending radius of up to 1 m in a dry state, further simplifying construction.

Similarly, Knauf’s glass mineral wool with ECOSE® Technology delivers significant advantages in handling. As well as being odourless and generating significantly less dust, over 90% of professional installers state that glass mineral wool with ECOSE® Technology is softer and less itchy than conventional mineral wool. A majority of installers also say it’s easier to cut.

Accelerated construction
The building envelope can be closed immediately after the joint treatment of the boards, significantly earlier than with conventional methods such as brick and block. (Once jointed, the boards can also be left for up to 6 months, providing added peace of mind). As a result, interior works (including screeding and the installation of stud frames, vapour barriers, lining and insulation) can progress simultaneously with exterior finishing, resulting in a more efficient construction.

Working to precise plans and dimensions, manufacturers can build windows in advance and transport them to the site, ready for immediate installation. This adds reassurance to project delivery deadlines and significantly contributes to accelerated construction and weather independence compared to traditional ways of construction. In masonry variants, such as aerated concrete or sand lime brick, if the windows are not installed in the insulation layer, the openings must first be measured after erection of the exterior wall. Unlike Knauf Exterior Wall, this is a disadvantage which brings considerable time delays.

Note: Please consult the local partner organisation of Knauf Aquapanel for more information on country-specific building requirements and legislation. Technical advice on this website is based on standard criteria.


In today’s construction environment, there is a drive to reduce the impact of the building on human health and the natural environment. This must be considered at every stage of the process, from planning and design through to construction, use, renovation and demolition. There are various ways this can be achieved, and Knauf Exterior Wall solutions offer strong capabilities in each case.

Energy is used both in the production, transportation and installation of building materials (the ‘embodied’ energy), as well as during habitation and use (the ‘operating’ energy).


Embodied energy

This represents up to 30% of the overall life-cycle energy consumption of a building and is therefore a significant factor. The exact percentage varies based on factors including the age of building, the local climate and the exact nature of materials used. Historically, this percentage has been lower. However, the intensifying focus on minimising operational emissions – e.g. by driving efficiency improvements in heating and cooling – has meant both a relative increase in embodied energy, and in its importance as a measure.

Many of the products within Knauf Exterior Wall with AQUAPANEL® Technology possess an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) as per ISO 14025 and EN 15804. In addition to referencing environmental impact and waste categories, these EPDs at least provide a product life cycle assessment from cradle-to-gate, including the energy resources needed to supply and transport raw materials and to manufacture the end product.

As a complete system, Knauf Exterior Wall has a 50% less primary energy requirement during manufacture than conventional brickwork construction. Equally, CO2 output in material production for a Knauf Exterior Wall is 30% lower than brick and block construction. As a specific example, mineral wool with ECOSE® Technology from Knauf Insulation uses a formaldehyde free binding agent, reducing energy demand during manufacturing.

Additionally, because of its lightweight properties, Knauf Exterior Wall uses less energy and generates less CO2 during transportation, while – because it is a drywall construction – the drying time of the building and therefore the energy required are significantly reduced during the construction phase.


Operating energy

Buildings with a high-performance envelope in a cold climate require just 20% to 30% of the energy required to heat the current average building (source: the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development – OECD). The insulation within the walls is a critical factor, and Knauf Exterior Wall has many advantages in this respect – not least superior thermal insulation compared with traditional constructions of an equal thickness.

This can be further enhanced by minimising thermal bridges. These advantages are at their biggest with the initial layer of insulation – especially in developing countries where insulation is often not being installed – but can also be significant in developed countries. This is especially the case in renovations of poorly insulated stone, masonry or concrete constructions, where Knauf’s rear-ventilated rainscreen facade with insulation  offers a smart and effective solution. The ability to install varying thicknesses of mineral wool in that system, means that the desired energy standard can be reached, even in the most demanding situations.

Efficient building materials include products that are reusable, renewable, and/or recyclable. The reuse and recycling of these materials require that buildings at the end of their useful life are not demolished and hauled to landfills. ‘Deconstruction’ is a method of harvesting and reclaiming useful building materials. Selective demounting and separation of Knauf Exterior Wall with AQUAPANEL® Technology can be carried out easily, reducing the volume of waste while increasing the potential for recycling.

Simply re-imagining a building and extending its useful life also reduces waste. The adaptability of Knauf Exterior Wall facilitates modifications and reutilisations, even while the building is in use. Renovations with rear-ventilated facade systems guarantee continued use without being forced to make compromises in design or energy-efficiency. And once installed, a service life of approximately 50 years can be achieved (according to Environmental System Declaration).

Waste arising during production of AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Outdoor is fed back into the production process. The amount of recyclable materials in the composition of AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Outdoor is approximately 5-10% by mass.

In LEED standards, the Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) sets out to measure and improve the well-being and comfort of building occupants using five key categories – one of which is indoor air quality (IAQ). Here, the focus is on minimising the effects of air impurities – including volatile organic compounds (VOC) and other microbial contaminants – which are present in the majority of building materials and maintenance products, and which have the potential to negatively impact on occupant health and productivity. Choosing zero or low VOC emission materials and finishing products – such as those built in Knauf Exterior Wall – improves both the building’s IAQ and the comfort of its occupants.

Most of the products of Knauf Exterior Wall are classified A+ according to French VOC regulation. As an example, the ECOSE® Technology from Knauf Insulation enables the production of natural mineral wool insulation materials bonded with a bio-based technology free from formaldehyde, phenols, acrylics and with no artificial colours, bleach or added dyes. These products passed a VOC emission chamber test, where the sum of VOC measured was below the limit values of 1,000 μg/m³ after 3 days and 100 μg/m³ after 28 days. The products were awarded with the Eurofins Indoor Air Comfort Gold Certificate.

The accumulation of moisture and the knock-on effects of damp – including mould, viruses and bacteria – are also contributing factors to poor IAQ. Using water and mould resistant products helps to minimise or eliminate these issues.

To achieve reliable moisture protection, Knauf Exterior Wall has a layered structure with a carefully designed sequence of vapour barring and breathable materials. In an unfavourable climate, this helps to diffuse condensate safely to the ambient air. To protect the insulation, the water and windproof AQUAPANEL® Water Barrier is installed behind the AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Outdoor, while to avoid condensate formation inside the wall, a vapour barrier is installed behind the interior lining.

Note: Please consult the local partner organisation of Knauf Aquapanel for more information on country-specific building requirements and legislation. Technical advice on this website is based on standard criteria.


The defining quality of Knauf Exterior Wall solutions is the ability to prevent water from entering the construction. Combined with moisture protection, thermal and acoustic performance and effective resistance to both fire and seismic activity, Knauf Exterior Wall with AQUAPANEL® Technology allows you to create the buildings you want, with the attributes you demand and the quality assurance you need.

Knauf Exterior Wall solutions feature a layer design which combines a sequence of vapour barring and breathable materials to enable moisture and condensate within the construction to be safely released. The result is reliable protection in even the most unfavourable climates.

The Knauf Exterior Wall consists of a lightweight steel construction including fastener, connecting and anchoring materials. The steel components are to be protected against corrosion. The minimum corrosion protection category to be chosen is C3-high according to EN ISO 12944 (urban and industrial atmospheres with moderate air pollution) to ensure the serviceability and longevity of the Knauf Exterior Wall of 50 years. For higher requirements and the corrosion protection category to be chosen, a detailed analysis of the object-related atmosphere has to be carried out.Generally, the category of corrosion protection has to be determined by the planner on an object-related basis.

All components within Knauf Exterior Wall are non-combustible, with the exception of the membranes which dissipate quickly without causing damage. By exchanging or adding components, Knauf Exterior Wall can meet a variety of fire safety requirements. For example, fire resistance class EI30 of an undisturbed wall construction can be achieved by lining the interior stud frame with two gypsum boards.

Because of its construction and sequence of layers, Knauf Exterior Wall creates a spring-mass system which helps maximise sound reduction. Window installations and other penetrations of the wall can influence the sound protection of the exterior wall and have to be considered object-wise.

Knauf Exterior Wall provides superior thermal insulation compared with traditional constructions of an equal thickness. And the thermal performance of each Knauf Exterior Wall can be further enhanced
with various measures, each helping to minimise the impact of thermal bridging.


Examples include using:

  • A second insulation layer, such as ETICS
  • A double stud system instead of a single stud
  • Intermediate insulation between the stud frames in a double stud system
  • Offset/staggered profiles
  • Ventilated construction or a construction in front of floors to minimise thermal bridges between
    Knauf Exterior Wall and the concrete slabs

With respect to thermal insulation, the construction related advantages of the rear-ventilated rainscreen facade are the heat insulation and the good room climate conditions in the summer. The discharge of hot air over the ventilation gap prevents a potential heat accumulation or a heat up between facade and insulation. Furthermore the exterior wall warms up to a lesser extent and more slowly than with direct contact with solar radiation. That way the temperature inside the building remains comfortable in the summer, the room climate is less vulnerable to variations in outdoor temperature, and the energy demand for cooling is reduced.

During seismic activity, Knauf Exterior Wall experiences a lower risk of failure than traditional construction materials, thanks to its ductility and positive deformation behaviour. Moreover, in the event of actual failure, its lightweight properties are less potentially damaging to the surrounding area. Compared with most other building types, Knauf Exterior Wall is also easier to repair and rebuild, making it ideal for use in earthquake zones.

Expansion joints have to be provided at a distance of ≤ 15 m, in order to allow weather-related expansion and shrinkage. Building separation joints and expansion joints in the primary construction have to be incorporated into the facade. Some facade geometries such as complex surfaces and facades that are subject to increased stress may require additional expansion joints.

Note: Please consult the local partner organisation of Knauf Aquapanel for more information on country-specific building requirements and legislation. Technical advice on this website is based on standard criteria.


Knauf Exterior Wall encapsulates versatile components and features – but, more importantly, it embodies the expertise of our pioneering past. Because of this, we’re able to help shape a better present and future. Our whole focus is on supporting our partners and customers, giving them the inspiration and solutions they need to create better buildings.

Established in 1932, Knauf is a global group employing over 27,000 people across 86 countries. Supported with an extensive distributor network, we deliver an exceptional local service across all territories – and all from one single source. A key part of this group – and of Knauf’s Exterior Wall with AQUAPANEL® Technology – Knauf AQUAPANEL is based in Germany. Since 2002, Knauf AQUAPANEL has pioneered drywalling solutions and technology and applied its expertise to help create certainty in a changing world.


Knauf AQUAPANEL is also the home of the Knauf Dry Exterior Wall Competence Centre. Sitting at the heart of our innovation and technical expertise, this centre acts as a pivotal resource, gathering insight and best practice and offering advice and technical support at every stage of the process – from design, specification and planning through to installation and beyond, ensuring that the full benefits of Knauf Exterior Wall solutions are available to our customers.


  • Local expertise delivered via country-based Specification Managers
    (with the back-up of an International Technical Support team)
  • Project-related system recommendations including static pre-dimensioning, physical analyses, U-Value calculations and hygrothermal simulation
  • Site visits and support, via an experienced team of Application Engineers
  • Assistance with the certification of products and systems,
    including approval tests and building law examinations
  • The supply of samples, mock-ups or demonstrations to aid decision-making
  • Wide range of technical documentation including consumption tables,
    installation guides, leaflets and CAD Files
  • Wide range of technical and practical training, available locally or at our
    International Training Centre in Dortmund
  • ISO 9001 certified, ensuring Quality Control and high standards of service