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The Pros and Cons of Storefront or Curtain Wall Systems

Posted on February 27, 2019

There are many factors to consider during the design and construction of new commercial buildings. One vital point is the safety of the structure. If one type of architectural feature provides more support than another, the relationship between cost and value will be an important consideration. A decision between storefront windows or a curtainwall system also depends on other factors.

Storefront Systems

A storefront is composed of commercial entrances and windows but is a non-load-bearing system. These systems are generally used on the ground floor, and are only used for a single story, but are used on second and third floors occasionally. Some restrictions apply to this option, such as a height restriction of 10 feet or less. Storefronts are generally only 2 inches deep or less.

Curtain Wall Systems

Curtain walls are also non-load-bearing exteriors walls. These systems can be 25 feet and taller, depending on the structure of the building, and are often used on framing that is 13 feet or more. These systems are also thicker than those used in a storefront system. Curtain walls begin at 2 ½ inches deep and could be up to 8 inches deep. Finally, these exterior systems may extend over multiple floors.

Pros and Cons of Each

A window wall storefront offers a variety of benefits:

• Lower pricing
• Reduced sound transmission
• Speedier installation

Curtain walls are often chosen for luxury real estate and offer benefits of their own:

• Heightened structural integrity
• Resistance to natural elements

One of the most important differences between a storefront and a curtain wall is the way rainwater infiltration is handled. Storefronts employ sill flashing to direct moisture through weep holes. A curtain wall system focuses on preventing condensation, and water that does penetrate, is drained to the exterior.

Which Is Your Best Option?

Each factor must be carefully considered before finalizing architectural designs. Discuss the options with Horizon Glass, by calling 303-835-4399 so you can be confident that you’ve made the best choice.