Residential Glass vs. Commercial Glass: What Are the Differences?

Is the glass used to make the windows around your home the same as the glass that lines storefronts or scales up the side of a high-rise building? To the average person looking at them from the street, commercial glass and residential glass look very much the same. However, there are in fact many differences between the two due to the different roles glass windows play in each type of building. Residential solutions are often much different than those used by businesses. What should you know about the important differences between these two kinds of glass? 


Looks: How Residential Glass Differs from Commercial Glass

“Glass is glass, right?” you might think. The reality is that commercial and residential glass do look different, although the differences may be details you gloss over after a casual glance. What makes these types of glass dissimilar from one another?

The answer comes down to a matter of function. In most cases, commercial glass has a larger surface area when installed to allow more natural light into a business space. At the same time, commercial glass often tends to be thicker than residential glass. Especially as buildings grow taller, glass must be able to withstand high winds and other threats that might cause a thinner or decorative residential pane to fail.

High-end residential glass can replicate many of the benefits of commercial installations, including those that influence the climate of a building’s interior or exhibit higher impact resistance. However, residential glass is not always made to stand up to long-term challenges the way commercial glazing does.


Differences in Construction and Materials Exist, Too

commercial-glass-vs-residential-glass-santa-rosa-glass-companyThickness is not the only physical difference between these types of glass. Commercial glass often features special coatings or other physical properties to help reflect as much of the sun’s energy as possible. The result is a building filled with light but without the corresponding increase in temperature that would cause the building’s HVAC system to work harder. Similar solutions exist in residential glass applications, often achieved through methods such as double glazing.

The placement of commercial glass also differs from the residential space. While a home might have luxury doors with an intricate glass design on the front or back of the house, they are less typical for interior doors. Offices, however, tend to have much more interior glass — from boardrooms to doors and more. The special properties of commercial glass ensure these installations stand up to the test of time and don’t pose a safety hazard.


Are Commercial Windows More Durable Than the Glass in Luxury Windows?

That depends. In general, commercial windows — with their greater thickness and material composition — will stand up to more serious events than a residential window. With that said, just because an errant neighborhood baseball can break a window in your home doesn’t mean that residential glass is weak. Far from it, in fact. Modern glass designed for high-end applications in the home comes in many forms, including those with a high degree of impact resistance. Double glazed residential windows also deliver strength comparable to some commercial glass while blocking out intrusive sounds from outside. When you want to create a private escape indoors that still looks beautiful from the outside, there’s no shortage of solutions for functional glazing on both sides of the coin.


Should Residential Consumers Buy Commercial Glass for Luxury Doors?

While commercial glass sounds superior, that’s not always true. Instead, each type of glass has simply become specialized to suit the differing needs of consumers and businesses. However, more homeowners have embraced the use of commercial-style glass in their homes, especially those whose properties have unique architecture. With an experienced glazier on the job, you can take any kind of glass and find innovative applications to create a more luxurious presentation. 


Find Glass Solutions to Match Your Requirements

What kind of glass is right for your application? Finding the answer to that question is simple when you can tap into one of Santa Rosa’s best glass companies. With a team comprised of many highly skilled technicians with a passion for glazing and the satisfaction of a job well done, B&L Glass delivers robust solutions for all kinds of clients. Whether you require commercial glass to flood a storefront with light or residential glass to create luxury windows for a master bedroom, we have the skills and professionals necessary to execute your ideas to the highest level. With the attention to detail necessary to craft bespoke luxury doors with glass and the capabilities to work even at the largest scales, we offer the most reliable path to outcomes you’ll love. 

Get in touch today to learn more about these differences, or to discuss your project with our team.


Luxury Windows & Doors Estimate