Contact us

Blogs  | Weiye Aluminum
Location:Home - blog

Differences Between Curtain Walls and Storefronts

weiye 0

Commercial buildings need storefronts and curtainwalls to keep out the elements while letting in natural light and offering views to customers. They serve the same purpose and are constructed from similar materials. However, every system is tailored to its specific function in terms of its specifications, engineering, production, and installation.

It's common for these to be installed in groups on the same structure along with other building features like doors, windows, vents, and sunshades. Let's dive into the differences between these types.



What is a curtain wall?


Curtain walls are typically made of aluminum and glass, both lightweight and thin compared to other building materials. Curtain walls are not meant to support the weight of the building, so they can only support their weight while shifting the effects of elements onto the rest of the building. The design is resistant to air and water, keeping the interior dry and draft-free.


Benefits of Curtain walls

  • Curtainwalls are Waterproof, and Pollution-Free -  Curtain walls insulate abuilding's interior and prevent the elements from penetrating thestructure, so the building's occupants are comfortable despite theweather.
  • Enhancedfire protection -Preventing the spread of a fire is crucial, especially inbuildings with multiple stories. Fortunately, curtain walls can slow thespread of fire in high-rises where it would otherwise spread quickly.
  • Suitablefor most building types-The, versatility in design and construction is amajor selling point for curtain walls. Because of this, you can make wallsolutions to fit any structure precisely.

You can read this blog post to learn more about the advantages of curtain walls.


What is a Storefront?


A storefront is an exterior wall, door, and window assembly for a commercial building that is not part of the pace and does not support the weight of the building. The recommended height for a storefront is 10 feet. Storefront is often found on the ground floor but can go as high as the second or third story. 


Benefits of storefronts

  • Increasesbuilding value - Storefront glass is an easy way to give your company amore professional appearance and attract more customers. Whether you rentout the space or sell it in the future, the price will be higher.
  • Improvedenergy efficiency - Even if they aren't huge window displays. Moststorefronts still have at least a few windows installed. Likely, windowseals in older stores without glass displays are no longer doing their jobproperly because of the store's age. Given the frequency with whichcustomers enter and exit the building, any effort you make to enhanceenergy efficiency comes in handy. 
  • Providenatural lighting - What customers feel and think when they enter yourstore is strongly influenced by the lighting you use. No artificial lightsource can compare to natural light to evoke positive emotions. If youhave plenty of glass in your storefront, the sun will shine all day long,making your business space pleasant.
  • Deterstheft and vandalism - Most illegal endeavors depend on their perpetratorsremaining unseen. Thieves are less likely to break into a store with manywindows because everything is open.


Differences to Consider




When designing buildings for the ground level, architects frequently include storefronts. They may even use second- and third-floor storefronts in building design. Curtain wall systems, in contrast, are suspended from all the different levels of a building without contributing to the structure's load-bearing capacity. These walls could reach heights of more than 25 feet, depending on the building's design. 




Storefronts typically cost less than curtain walls because their design is less complex and  durable, which is why they are so popular for use as storefronts, entrances, and ground-floor retail space. Curtain walls are typically used in most building types, are more complex, and therefore more expensive.



Water Management


If you're using curtain walls on multiple floors , you'll need a system that prevents water from pooling after it hits the wall. This will prevent water from entering the building and damaging the equipment inside.

A storefront typically only takes up one or two stories near ground level. Because of this, there is no requirement for such an elaborate system, as water drains easily.




The curtain wall's thermal efficiency is higher because it is not susceptible to severe weather. As a result, it is a more reliable option than storefronts, even on upper floors.




Both architectural systems perform differently at various heights. Ground-floor locations are ideal for businesses like shops and restaurants. Protecting high-rise buildings from the elements may be necessary for structural silicones and glazing gaskets to function properly.

The effectiveness of curtain walls also increases with building height. Curtain walls are not as vulnerable to unanticipated factors in terms of performance when they are prefabricated and prearranged in a factory setting.




There are also some structural distinctions between them. In contrast to storefronts, curtain walls typically feature greater height, greater thickness, wider glass panes, and greater spacing between the mullions.


Take Away


While the storefront is a popular choice due to its lower price, you can only use it for installations with a maximum height of about 50 feet and spans of no more than 30 feet. Curtainwall is preferred for buildings with longer spans and greater than three stories in height when performance is the primary concern.

Also, you can consider both systems to achieve a variety of aesthetic and eco-friendly designs.