Storefront and curtain wall: what is the difference between them?

Storefront and curtain wall: what is the difference between them?

They look similar, they are made of pretty much the same materials, they have similar functions. What really are, then, the differences between a storefront and a curtain wall? This is what you’ll discover in this article.

What is a storefront?


A storefront is the facade of a store. It is designed to allow the best view possible of the products inside, bringing natural light in and attracting customers to the display windows.

A storefront system can also be used, of course, for other kinds of businesses, such as medical clinics, supermarkets and so on.

And what is a curtain wall?


A curtain wall is a non-structural wall made of glazed glass and metal frames that wrap a building from the outside. Usually, it is used as a stylistic resource to bring an edgy and modern look to a place.

We’ve talked further about this project in our articles about the advantages and disadvantages of a curtain wall and about curtain wall installation permit.

Differences and similarities among a storefront and a curtain wall


A curtain wall and a storefront may seem very similar and that’s because at some level they really are. Both systems allow sunlight to spread into a building, provide a clear view to the outside world and protection from chilly winds and ferocious storms.

Also, if we talk about structure, both a curtain wall and a storefront are built with double glazing, to enhance its thermal insulation features.

But, besides these characteristics, the two systems differ in many other ways. 

First, curtain walls are used in very high buildings throughout all the different floors, which means the system needs a set up that allows the rain to hit the wall and be drained without any accumulation. This way, water won’t permeate to the building’s facilities. 

A storefront, on the other hand, occupies usually only a few floors that are closer to the ground level. So, water can be drained much easier and there’s no need for such a complex set up.

Secondly, there are also other structural differences amongst them. Curtain walls, in general, are taller, thicker, the glass panes are wider and the mullions are displayed further apart from each other than in storefronts.  

And finally, when it comes to price, storefronts are usually cheaper, since their structure is simpler and less resistant. This fact makes them frequently chosen as shop fronts, entrances and for the first few floors of commercial areas. Meanwhile, curtain walls are more complex, hence more expensive as well and usually used in buildings of any nature.

See? When you go beyond the looks, you find out these two products have more features that tell them apart than to bring them together.

Want to know whether a curtain wall or a storefront would be suitable for your project? Get in touch with Huxley & Co! We are shopfront and commercial door specialists with over 20 years of experience, happy to showcase our latest projects and to give you guidance for your individual design.