Storefront Glass Services
Many commercial building storefronts are built from a combination of aluminum and glass to create a “glass wall.” While these storefronts will last for decades under normal conditions, there are still a number of factors that can reduce the lifespan of any commercial glass window installation, including:
- The quality of the construction materials
- The thermal efficiency of the windows, know as the “U” factor
- Insufficient or improper maintenance
- Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight or harsh climates that can deteriorate window materials
- Poor installation or settling of the building affecting the integrity of windows
Even in the most ideal scenarios, and apart from accidental damage or vandalism, most commercial glass installations will need to be replaced eventually. How do you know when it’s time to replace them?
A primary factor is the framing material used. Typically, commercial storefront glass is framed with aluminum, vinyl, or wood. These materials are generally high-grade and professional quality and, when installed correctly and maintained properly, can have extensive lifespans.
How long can they last?
Aluminum is one of the strongest metals, especially in relation to its light weight. Frames made with aluminum can withstand severe weather and constant exposure.
On average, the aluminum windows installed by storefront glass contractors can last about 15 years. If expertly installed and well-maintained, aluminum windows have been known to last up to 20 years or more.
Wood is the most traditional and time-honored material used in framing windows. When it comes to commercial glass, using wood is still a viable option because wood-framed windows can last 30 years or more. And, when properly installed and maintained, wood windows can last as long as the building itself.
In addition to the construction materials used in a commercial glass installation, list below are a few other factors that can indicate it’s time for a replacement.
Loss of thermal integrity
Deterioration gaps in window seals are signs that it may be time to repair or replace your commercial windows. These gaps create leaks that make your AC work harder to compensate for the loss of conditioned air. Cold or hot outside air can enter from deteriorated window seals, creating uncomfortable drafts and bigger electric bills.
Visual wear and tear
Seasonal temperature extremes and exposure to inclement weather, year after year, can result in visible damage such as shrunken seals and gaskets, warped or damaged frames, and scratched or clouded glass.
Increased maintenance costs
Older commercial windows tend to become less cost-effective over time because of outdated parts and increasingly frequent repairs. More time and resources required for repairing commercial windows or storefront glass can be a good indicator that it’s time to consider a newer alternative.
Commercial Safety Glass
Not all glass is of the same quality. Typically, commercial businesses use what is called safety or security glass to create a storefront. Essentially, there are two main types of safety glass: tempered glass and laminated glass.
Tempered glass is constructed using a special heating process that makes it up to four times stronger than annealed glass, the type of glass used in tabletops, cabinet doors, basement windows and more. Tempered glass, unlike annealed glass, breaks into thousands of tiny pieces when shattered, which are less dangerous than sharp glass shards.
Laminated safety glass, on the other hand, consists of two pieces of annealed glass with a layer of very strong adhesive in between them. The advantage of laminated safety glass is its ability to hold together as a sheet even when broken, which provides an additional layer of safety against injury and serves as a barrier against intruders.
Common Commercial Glass Products
In addition to storefront glass and windows, glass applications can take on a variety of commercial forms. Here are a few common glass products installed in commercial structures:
- Glass Handrails
- Interior Glass Walls
- Multi-Panel Glass Doors
- Display Cabinets & Counters
Insulated Glass Replacement
Since the 1970s, insulated glass has become quite common in commercial buildings. Insulated glass units, or IGUs, are constructed of two pieces of glass sealed around a spacer bar that creates an air- and watertight space between them. This space is then filled with an inert gas, which serves as an insulator. Unfortunately, as insulated glass units age, seals degrade and moisture gains access, causing the interior of the glass panels to appear perpetually foggy.
Though the life expectancy of IGUs vary widely depending on a host of factors, all windows of this type are susceptible to seal failure, especially those with high sun exposure. In most cases, the best solution is to replace the insulated glass units with new ones.
Choosing a Commercial
Glass Installation Company
Whether you need a storefront glass repair, replacement or new installation, the job should be done right the first time. Finding a commercial glass contractor that can complete the job quickly and correctly – especially in an emergency – is essential to your business’s success.
Because experience is so critical for commercial glass installation, your choice of a contractor should be limited to one who specializes in commercial storefront glass.
Incorrect installation can result in leakage or breakage, which could lead to potential injury and lawsuits. In other words, when it comes to commercial glass, a cheaper solution is rarely worth incurring the unnecessary risk.
Furthermore, because glass types and usages are so extensive and varied, correct selection of glass for your project, as well as the correct selection of the glazier-installer, are important decisions. For these choices, it is important to consider the following:
- A professional commercial glass contractor will inform and advise you of your options for glass choices and framing and make reliable recommendations.
- A good commercial glass contractor provides after-project support. Quality storefront glazing projects require more than a standalone installation job. A professional glazing contractor will follow up several times after the job to ensure the integrity of the installation.
- For new construction storefront glass installation, proficient glazier-installers work well with other contractors at the jobsite. Not only is this a hallmark of professionalism, it also avoids costly delays and difficulties for the customer.
- If a commercial property requires specific window sizes or glass types that are not easily met by standard products, a good glass contractor will have experience ordering or fabricating custom commercial glass products, as well as installing them.
Which Local Contractor Is Right For Your Commercial Storefront Glass?
The answer is simple when you can call upon one of Santa Rosa’s best glass companies, B & L Glass. With a passionate team composed of highly-skilled technicians, B & L Glass delivers robust, quality solutions for all glass applications.
Whether you need commercial glass to fill your business with light or a glass staircase handrail system to create a stylish new look for your office, we have the skills, the resources, and the professionals necessary to bring your vision to life. Contact us today to discuss your project with our team!