Purpose & Benefits
The success of any business depends on the number of customers the store can draw. Store’s purpose is to sell products and when there are not enough visitors, the price or quality of products do not make much of an impact. The number of customers is increased with a welcoming entrance door. A well designed display with a striking view from all perspectives can draw customers. Glass windows and doors are best choice for fenestration because it can be recycled again and again without losing its quality. An attractive entrance system can jazz up the look of any store.
Glass windows and aluminum doors of a storefront system make the first and a great impression to potential customers. Windows are the most essential part of this system that provide a premium feel to the entire building within a short budget. Similar to the popular phrase; “eyes are the mirrow to the soul”, storefront windows are the eyes to the business. While protecting the store and customers from climate, the system processes natural sunlight due to thermal performance of the windows.
Store owners are also able to customize the transparency of the glass. Storefront entrance is the most valuable place of a store. If a store owner does not pay attention to it, then customers might not pay attention as well. A perfect balance of transparency increases the value and energy efficiency of the store. For info, high visibility can compromise security and privacy for customers.
- Energy Savings:
Transparent glass can absorb, trap and transmit the sunlight inside and outside the store. It can decrease the cost of heating or cooling, and provide a comfortable atmosphere for customers around the store.
- Staying Green:
Entire entrance system is recyclable without degrading the process of recycling. Storefront entrance system consists of many things, out of which only glass and aluminum are recyclable. Rest of the materials can be discarded as they should. Even broken glass can be recycled into melted glass to make a flat glass. If the broken glass is still in the frame, it is requested to remove it anyway. Likewise, aluminum material can be unscrewed from the wood and recycled along with the screws, which are also aluminum.
Hurricane resistant framing and blast-resistant-glass is a guarding combination that protects the store against severe weather. On a lighter note, the store can incur less damage from any vandalism. For example, store owner gets more time to inform the authorities during a break-in situation. The system is however unable to drain the residue of water that may slightly enter through the entrance door upon usage.
Installation and Integration
A team of experts is needed to join forces in order to effectively implement storefront system. It is customized according to the distance between base and structure above it. These two anchor points are used to place aluminum frames and the windows. Modern type of glass is multi-glazed that is more energy efficient than the old center glaze.
- Preventive Measurements
Before installation, aluminum framing must be protected with bituminous coating and Zinc Chromate (ZnCrO4) if it is used against damaged building. Air and water can easily leave the aluminum storefront system if the sealants are unable to go along. It is contractor’s duty to obtain certification for installed material. This includes all test results that display performance data of each part.
- Enhancing the performance
Manufacturers are also able to assist the store owner with window sill flashing, that can provide solution for water. Sill flashing can secure the bottom of the entrance door while a watertight seal that pushes water out from the weep holes in the frame. Correct measures of sill flashing and seal like end dams are vital to stop water from penetrating. Thus, increasing the structural integrity of the entire storefront system. Water deflectors along each mullion, prevent moisture from further reducing the insulating properties of the glass.
- Freedom of Creativity
Number of choices can make each storefront in the city look different than the other. Each small business or store can exhibit its unique personality. Glass and aluminum can be pooled together to make high performance and artistic storefront entrance.
Exploring other fenestration systems
Window wall systems cost less than storefront and takes less time to install. Window panels are easily placed inside the slabs on each floor from the inside of the building. Despite the clear advantage of constant natural sunlight, the parting of exterior wall shields the inside from noise. On the contrary, the parting slabs are bad sealants and act up after few years. Weaker slabs increase the chances of breaks, cracks or any other major damage. This can increase the maintenance cost greatly as frequent repairs would be required. There are many number of mullions used to separate each panel, which makes the repair cost even higher. However, it is easy to repair the window wall and mullions at the cost of overhead expense.
Curtain walls can be seen in massive and expensive structures across the business hubs of each city. Glass is hung off the front and attached to the slabs with metal plates. It makes the exterior glass wall much more strong against earthquakes, wind, and rainstorm; a similar purpose that other building materials serve. Curtain walls have much less mullions and joints which increases the structural integrity of a glass building. A little downside to curtain wall system is the luxury cost of building material. Curtain wall has to cover most of the structure but storefront is no more than 10 feet as set by NAFS. It is mostly used by high-rise structures where performance is as important as the aesthetics. Storefronts on the other hand, are ideal for low-rise structures.
Unlike window wall, storefront and curtain wall are able to provide sustainable performance over a long period of time. The key difference between the two is the way water is drained. It is easy in curtain wall as each pane drips water separately. While in a storefront, the water keeps dripping towards the sill. When rain falls on store windows, it travels down the vertical mullion in to the sill. This can cause an unwanted damage to the entrance system that is why it is recommended to keep the system closer to ground floor. Ideally, it should end before third floor and must be protected by an overhead structure.
Structural Guidelines for Installation
Storefront windows are tested according to stringent standards of air, water, and thermal performance by North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS). There are certain limitations in the characteristics of storefront systems as administrated by NAFS:
- Distance from floor to the must be less than or equal to 10 feet
- Length of the mullions should be less than 20 feet
- Only installed at floors closer to ground
- 1 inch of insulating glass in glazing pockets
- Re-glazing must be possible
- Conduct maintenance regularly.