About Us  | JMA Aluminum

Curtain Wall vs. Storefronts: Pros and Cons of Each Curtain

Release time:2023-08-28

As a manager or business owner, you might decide between a storefront glass and curtain wall for your premises. Both systems have specific benefits and drawbacks, so picking the best one can greatly impact your home's operation and appearance.

Any commercial property now must have a distinctive storefront. Business owners want enough outstanding extras in their retail space to attract customers. Glass storefronts, which offer great customization, excel in this aspect and significantly improve the outer appearance. Additionally, a storefront safeguards the interior of your office, retail facility, or other commercial identity.

In a similar vein, you may choose a curtain wall. Additionally, this particular wall aids in making your business stand out from the competition.

Curtain walls and storefront systems offer commercial buildings' inhabitants weather protection while letting light and outside views in. Their similarity ends with this shared feature. For the optimum results in the application for which it is designed, every system is engineered, specified, manufactured, and installed. They may be associated with windows, sun blinds, operable vents, or entrances when they merge in the same building.


Key Definitions

First of all, both expressions refer to the outer wall in architecture. Consider the glass on a building's exterior, whether at street level or further up. Several criteria determine a storefront vs. a curtain wall and the building's exterior wall.

Storefront: A store's storefront is its exterior. Typically, a storefront is a non-load-bearing building with windows and a business entrance. Commonly, only one story is used with this building's front system. However, it is also used sporadically on the second and third levels. Transparent storefronts give customers a clear view of the goods inside the building and entice them inside.

Their primary application is in retail establishments. Other businesses, such as pharmacies and grocery stores, can also use a storefront strategy. Height restrictions apply to this building's front choice. The height of the storefront should be at least ten feet. To maintain the highest level of safety, storefront panels are typically thicker than 2 inches.

Curtain wall: An outside, non-load-bearing wall encloses a building. Typically, it is framed with metal and constructed of glazed glass. It's commonly used as an architectural element to give a structure a cutting-edge, modern appearance. Curtain walls can be as tall as 25 feet or more, depending on the building's design. Additionally, curtain wall systems use thicker panels than storefront systems do. Curtain walls span multiple stories and can go as deep as eight inches.


The Difference between Curtain Walls and Glass Storefront

When discussing commercial glass, architects and project managers bring up a building or its facade. These two architectural terms both refer to the property's façade.

The two systems have comparable properties. They cover the occupants and inner building elements from inclement weather. Also, they guarantee great sunshine and outside insulation.

But that's where their similarities end. Let's have a glance at their differences.



The glass storefronts are not residential or load-bearing but act as the framework for a company entry. Retail windows are present. Usually 10 feet or slightly high, storefront windows are linked to the primary entrance of the industrial glass doors.

Storefront designers frequently utilize storefront-floor structures. When developing a system, they might add second or third-story storefronts. The storefronts are separate and don't run out on their own.

Since they are easy to install, curtain walls lead in this position. Their quicker installation time helps contractors finish their duties on schedule, so you can see why they are a better option than their counterparts. Also, this is why you will only find storefronts in ground-floor and low-rise structures and never in high-rise buildings.



This is the other difference between curtain walls and storefronts. They both perform differently, depending on the structure or project you intend to use them for. For instance, for ground levels, storefronts would be a perfect choice. On the other hand, for high-rise structures, consider glazing gaskets or silicone structures for best results. However, this is on the condition that these high-rise structures are adequately shielded from weather elements.

What's more, silicone structures and gaskets will deliver better structural, water, and air performance. Gaskets act as a sealant for the walls, keeping out all moisture and air. All the same, higher floors might not compare to curtain walls.

Curtain walls have better-aggregated systems, usually fashioned and pre-assembled into various units in the factory. The fashioning and pre-organization of these walls certify that performance needs aren't contingent on the unpredictable situations in the workstation.

Furthermore, the thermal performance of storefront glazing is not as good as curtain walls. Honestly, it's considerably better than the storefront glazing, thanks to the inclusion of the thermal break. This splits the back members and the pressure plate for industrial glass repair.

There are more features that boost the performance of storefront systems, and they include polyamide struts, P&D parts, and pressure plates. These two structures are different in performance, with curtain walls being the better option.


Water Management

A mechanism that keeps water from collecting after it strikes the wall is required if curtain walls are used on numerous stories. By doing this, water won't be able to penetrate the structure and harm its interior technology. Near ground level, a storefront usually only occupies one or two levels. As a result, there is no need for such a complex system because water drains effortlessly.

The structure can be overwhelmed if this water accumulates quickly, which is why storefronts are short.

Property owners should position their commercial windows on the third to the ground floor for perfect weather protection and sunlight. This also prevents weather elements from affecting the utility of the windows.


General Structure

This one is prevalent. Storefronts are mainly used by businesses on the ground floor to display their products and maximum natural light perfectly. Generally, the window frames comprise wood, steel, or aluminum because they include a slimmer frame, which optimizes the space taken by the storefront.

Also, the frame will include glass for maximum visibility. Storefronts are explicitly designed to offer maximum display space for business services and products.

On the other hand, curtain walls are formulated using slimmer materials, with the frames being mostly made of aluminum. Considering commercial buildings' overall structure and physical appearance, the in-fill usually includes light stone, glass, or metal panels.

Plus, curtain wall frames can be over 13 ft tall, while storefronts can only go up to 10 ft. In this front, curtain walls are better built than their counterparts. However, both are designed for different purposes, which they serve perfectly.



Curtain walls and storefronts have various life spans from one another. The curtain wall has excellent thermal efficiency since it resists harsh weather conditions. Therefore, even on upper floors, it's a considerably more long-lasting option than storefronts. The most helpful part is that curtain wall systems are durable and typically require fewer repairs for commercial glass.


The Benefits and Drawbacks of a Curtain Wall System

Comparable to home window curtains are curtain walls. Only the final product is more physically and aesthetically pleasing. Glass is offered in a curtain wall in a broad, uninterrupted spectrum, consistently producing lovely building facades. The glass curtain walls can penetrate the building structure because of sufficient natural light. Let's talk about some other advantages that exist.

A curtain wall provides a sleek façade, regarded as a crucial component of modern architecture. People are drawn to the glass facade, which creates a great impression.


Continuous Light Flow

The exterior is made entirely of glass, which allows plenty of light to enter the building. In addition to improving mood, natural light reduces energy use for lighting.



Curtain walls provide a secure defense against bad weather. Typically, they are created particularly for each structure to offer specialized characteristics.


Temperature Insulation

Curtain walls provide maximum energy efficiency. Installing insulated glass panels adds another layer of insulation to the building. The curtain wall system's tight seal prevents air leakage, lowering heating and cooling costs.



Curtain wall installation has some drawbacks as well. Let's look at it.


Price Value

Installation of curtain walls is both difficult and expensive.


Complicated Installation

For curtain wall installation, precise measurements and specialized knowledge are needed. Most of it is carried out by a group of experts. In some cases, unfavorable weather conditions could cause a delay.


Requiring Upkeep

For optimal performance, the curtain wall system needs routine maintenance. You must perform regular cleanings and inspections to prevent major issues, and minor problems should be fixed immediately.


Benefits and Drawbacks of Storefront Systems

They are a time-honored method of improving retail business appearances and increasing sales. Most business buildings have legible typography and eye-catching displays to entice more clients. Here are some benefits of having a glass storefront for your business.


Excellent Impression

Customers usually wander the streets looking into the stores for anything intriguing. People can see what you've to offer thanks to the glass typeface. The glass storefront enhances curb appeal and might make your business appear more contemporary.


More Energy Efficiency

There are various glass panel kinds available to meet a variety of objectives. For instance, install UV-reflecting glass on the storefront to reduce the heat entering your store. It will reduce the amount of energy used by the HVAC system.



Among the critical benefits of storefront glass is its ability to offer commercial premises with an appealing and sleek appearance.


Complex Installation

For curtain wall installation, precise measurements and specialized knowledge are needed.

Large glass panels maximize visibility and let natural light into the area, making for a warm and friendly environment for clients.



Storefront glass is renowned for its security, durability, and visual appeal. Laminated or tempered glass is more durable and less likely to break, which serves to dissuade would-be thieves and vandals. Additional security features like locks and alarms can be added to storefront glass systems upon request.


Develop the Brand

Besides being incredibly attractive, glass storefronts market your brand like no other. For instance, potential clients can see what your shop is about without stepping inside it. Also, if you are doing product promotions, customers can view hot deals and special offers from a distance.



Storefront glass is not all roses and rainbows; it comes with several disadvantages, including the fact that it is glass. It can be broken, depending on how durable it is, which touches on security. Intruders can easily break through glass by smashing it.


Poor Installation

Installation of a glass storefront necessitates meticulous attention to detail. For this reason, it would be best to hire professionals to do it right.

Having read this piece, you now understand the difference between a curtain wall and a storefront. Curtain walls are more durable and perform better than their counterparts, but there is no competition since they are designed for different works.

Here are the key differences in summary:



       Water management




So, which one is best for you?

Storefront glass is expensive but incredibly appealing, perfect for ground-floor spaces like retail shops and restaurants. On the other hand, curtain walls are more suitable for high-rise buildings.


Take Away

When replacing curtain walls and storefront windows, performance, price, time, and water management differ. Further interior elements can also distinguish the storefront and curtain wall systems.

These are the primary distinctions between curtain walls and storefront glazing. By examining these variations, company owners and real estate developers may be able to select the best curtain walls and storefronts.

Choosing the best alternative may also vary depending on the specific needs of the company owner and their organizations, including architectural requirements, aesthetics, budget, and other factors.

In these situations, a glass installation service can assist you and simplify the installation process effectively and professionally. The experts at JMA ensure your replacement storefront window stands out and is distinctive. With years of experience, we are the right people for this job. Feel free to give us a call!

Online information
Contact us
Guangdong JMA Aluminium Profile Factory (Group) Co., LTD

Shishan Production Base

Nonferrous Metal Industrial Park, Xiaotang, Shishan Town, Nanhai District, Foshan City, Guangdong Province

Gaobian production base

Gaobian Zhangbian Industrial Zone, Dali Guangyun Road, Nanhai District, Foshan City, Guangdong Province

Online information