Shopfronts and Curtain Walls

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Shopfronts and Curtain Walls

Shopfronts and curtain walls primarily serve the same purpose. Also, they’re manufactured with the same kind of material. But there are still differences between a shopfront and a curtain wall. 

While a shopfront is an exterior of a store, a curtain wall consists of glass panes with metal frames used as a non-structural wall for the exterior to any type of building. 

 Nowadays however, both the shopfronts and curtain walls not only uses the same material but also the same aluminium systems. Hence their names are used synonymously.

Shopfront installations

Your shopfront gives the first impression about your shop to customers. 

This will determine considerably the level of sales that could take place in your business. So, you must put great care while creating and installing an attractive shop front. Also, besides appearance, you should always put security into cognizance in your shopfront decision.

One of the best things of having your shop front installation completed seamlessly is to employ experienced aluminium fabricators or shopfitters. These are companies that you can hire to set up a proper aluminium shopfront for your business place. 

They are responsible for buying and installing all the material according to your choice and preference. 

Here are the operational steps carried out by aluminium fabricators in completing shopfront installations.

  • Proper research of the business – They will research the business to understand the type of shop fronts that will be suitable and attractive for increased patronage. 
  • Clarity on the measurements and available space for the shop front installation – A detailed assessment of the available space will help in deciding the right place to position every object or item.
  • Presentation of a suitable plan – Once the fitters conclude their study of the business and its location, they will draft a suggestive shopfront plan that will be suitable.
  • Getting client’s acceptance – With a detailed explanation, the fitters will seek for the client’s consent to initiate the shopfront installation process.
  • Installation of the shopfront – Having the client’s approval, the fitters will proceed to place orders for all the materials they need for installation. Also, the company will confirm the orders on arrival, complete the shop front installation and test all set-ups for proper operations.

Different types of shopfronts

There are different types of shop fronts based on the manufacturing material. The prominent materials include glass, aluminum, steel and wood. In most cases, some shop fronts are designed with a combination of these materials. 

Types of shop fronts include:

  • Glass Shop fronts – These are made with glass and add value to your business. It displays an aesthetic appeal that is elegant, classy, and graceful. Glass is a popular choice for shopfronts and could also be manufactured with a combination of other materials.
  • Aluminum Shop fronts – Aluminum gives a great option in making shop fronts. It depicts a stylish beauty that is attractive. It’s easy to obtain different sizes and shapes due to its flexibility. Also, it’s easy to maintain since aluminium is a non-corrosive metal
  • Wood shop fronts – Wood is a preferable option for those that seek a vintage appearance. It suits conservative and traditional locations. Also, it’s attractive on its own.

What is a curtain wall?

A curtain wall is an external covering consisting of glass panes (with aluminum or metal frames) for a non-structural building face. Curtain walls are lightweight and could support their weights without any additions. 

What is a curtain wall used for?

A curtain wall is used to wall openings and to wade off the effects of wind, rainfall and other harsh elements from the weather. Also, it will protect the building from excess sunlight and prevent drastic temperature changes.

Being lightweight, curtain walls are designed to support their weight as they hold off wind and moisture. Hence, they ensure that the building’s interior is always airtight.

What are the types of curtain walls?

There are two types of curtain wall systems based on the method for assembling the components. They are:

  • Stick Curtain Wall System – This system has the assembling of the components by bits and on-site. Also, the installation is on small areas and low-rise buildings.
  • Unitized Curtain Wall System – This system already has the components gathered and installed within the company. So, they are transported directly from the factory to the building as a single unit.

Who invented curtain wall?

Peter Ellis, a British architect, and engineer, invented the curtain walls. Through his design of Oriel Chambers and 16 Cook Street in Liverpool, England, Ellis stands as the first to feature curtain walls in buildings.

Are curtain walls expensive?

Curtain walls are quite expensive considering the cost of the materials and installations. Glass is an expensive material. Also, the installation process for curtain walls requires special professionalism to complete, which will add to the overall cost of having curtain walls on your building.

How are curtain walls installed?

The steps below offer a summary of installing curtain walls (Stick curtain walls).

  • Mark out control lines – Note the Benchmarks as they serve as a reference in all measurements
  • Understand the layouts – They are the determinants for wall placements.
  • Note where the anchor plates will fit.
  • Arrange for the arrival of the materials and confirm they are good.
  • Install the mullions by first fixing the verticals. Then install the horizontals.
  • Use the sealing units to seal all corners.
  • Glaze the curtain wall using any suitable method, either externally or internally.
  • Apply the glazing caps, trim all excesses, and put on the final sealants.

Are curtain walls structural?

Curtain walls are non-structural external covering of a building. Its structure is dependent on that of the building, particularly on the floor pattern.

Is a curtain wall load bearing?

Curtain walls don’t bear any load, neither that of the roof of the building nor its floor. They usually rely on the floor pattern of buildings for their installations.

What is the difference between a curtain wall and a storefront?

Curtain wall installations are taller than those of the storefront. While a storefront could have a possible frame of about 10 feet, the frames of curtain walls could range up to 13 feet or more.

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