Curtain Walling vs. Storefronts – The Difference

Designed to let natural light into commercial premises, curtain walls and storefronts are facades that protect properties from external elements as well as provide store owners with a view to look out of and shoppers a picture of what is on offer. 

Both of these systems provide similar functions, like the ones mentioned above; however, there are some unique differences between the two, making them suitable for a wide range of applications. 

Main Differences 

The first difference is that storefronts are primarily used for buildings that are only one or two stories high; whereas curtain wall systems will be used on large, multi-story buildings. 

This is mainly because the general structure and placement of these facades are different. 

For example, storefronts are usually made from aluminium, steel or wood, and include glass as they’re primarily used as display windows on the ground floor of a retail store. 

Curtain wall systems, on the other hand, are constructed using an aluminium frame that contains glass, metal panels, or even thin stone. Used on large commercial buildings, curtain walls are attached to the structure of a building, and they don’t carry the building’s roof loads or floor, which means they can be much taller than storefronts as they don’t have the weight to bear. 

Curtain wall systems are also thicker, with a depth of between 2.5 inches and 8 inches, compared to 2 inches and under for storefronts. 

When it comes to keeping the rainwater out, both systems have different ways to handle water infiltration. 

For storefronts, rainwater will be moved to the sill flashing, through a straight mullion, which will then exude out of the building. 

Curtain walling means every glass lite is wept away individually, resulting in no build-up of water or overloading if weather conditions are extreme, (something that is more likely to occur with storefront systems). 

This is one of the main reasons storefronts are used on lower level commercial premises, where they will often include additional systems such as roof overhangs to deal with such issues. 

When it comes to cost, there is a difference between the two.  

Storefronts are considerably cheaper than curtain wall systems but don’t offer the sustainability, durability, design, and functionality that curtain walling does. 

However, that’s not to say that storefronts aren’t ideal for elevations and entrances into lower ground properties. 

A good curtain walling system from professional aluminium fabricators, like Crucial Engineering, can make a world of difference to your commercial property. 

Completely flexible, designed to meet your requirements and providing you with the best performance all round. 

Working out what your requirements are, as well as what is suitable for your property type is the first port of call. 

At Crucial Engineering we’re on hand to answer any of your questions, providing you with solutions and further information about curtain wall systems and how they can benefit your business further. 

For exceptional functionality and excellent performance all year round, choose an aluminium curtain wall to suit you. 

Call us today on 03451 930 420, to find out more. 

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