Storefronts vs. Curtain Wall

Curtainwalls and storefronts are both facades that are designed to provide daylight and allow you to see the outdoors while protecting you from the elements. While they perform similar functions, these systems have some differences that make them suitable for different applications. 

For example, curtain wall systems are ideal for large, multi-story buildings while storefront systems are meant for buildings with one or two stories. So, to be able to choose the right system for your needs, you have to understand the differences. 

Differences Between Storefronts and Curtain Walls 

General Structure  

A storefront generally refers to the façade of a retail store on the ground floor of a commercial building. It is characterised by one or more large display windows.  The window frames are typically made of aluminium, steel, or wood, and may include glass for proper visibility.  

Curtain walls, on the other hand, are thin, usually aluminium-framed walls that contain in-fills of glass, thin stone, or metal panels. They are primarily used in multi-story commercial buildings and are attached to the building structure. They don’t carry the building’s floor or roof loads.  

This means curtain walls are taller than storefronts. While curtain walls are used for frames that are at least 13-feet high, the storefront is used for frames not more than 10 feet.  

Curtain wall also beats storefront in thickness. A curtain wall can have a depth of between 2.5 inches and 8 inches. A storefront, on the other hand, can’t exceed 2 inches in depth.  

 Rain Water Infiltration 

The most notable difference between a curtain wall and storefront is the way water infiltration is handled in the system. In storefront, all the water is directed to the sill flashing, through the vertical mullion, and then exuded out of the building.  

This can result in the overloading of the system when exposed to extreme weather elements. That’s why storefronts should be kept short and in the lower floors of buildings that have roof overhangs to protect them from elements. In a curtain wall, every glass lite is wept individually.  


When it comes to choosing the best system concerning cost, you will go for a storefront. The Storefront is more affordable and is ideal for elevations and entrances in the first and second floors of buildings. The curtain wall is generally pricier regarding both production and materials. However, it is normally superior in terms of design and functionality.  

So, which one should you choose between a storefront and curtain walling system? 

It boils down to where you want to install the system. Namely, a storefront will certainly not work for a building with more than three stories although it is cheaper. You would want to go for a curtain wall, which also offers for the best performance.  

You can get high-quality aluminium curtain wall from Alan Carnall Aluminium Fabrications, a leading aluminium fabricator in Leeds. However, if you are willing to sacrifice functionality and performance for something cheaper, you can settle for a storefront.  

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