Curtain Walling and Commercial Glazing in the home

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Nick Dardalis

Commercial Glazing is rarely considered for residential projects such as aluminium doors, windows and roofs.  So we are going to examine the case for using commercial glazing systems such as curtain walling, heavy-set sliding doors and commercial windows.

Advantages of Commercial glazing for residential properties.

senior curtain walling and windows in a house.
Senior SCW+Curtain Walling and SPW600 Doors featured in this idyllic modern home on Channel 4’s Grand Designs.

Commercial glazing systems can easily be incorporated in a residential setting. Specified correctly they can offer all the colour options, security, weather performance and energy efficiency of their residential counterparts. They can also provide benefits to a homeowner that residential systems may not.

In a recent episode of Grand Designs, broadcast on 12th October 2016, a selection of Senior Architectural Systems was used. These consisted of PURe residential doors, PURe windows and Senior SCW+ curtain walling.

Commercial Glazing Systems can create larger doors and windows.

The nature of commercial glazing systems is such that much bigger doors and windows are possible.  Typical top hung windows up to  1600mm wide and up to 1800mm high are already a possibility with some systems. Side hung windows can be made up to 1800mm high and 900mm wide (more than a foot larger than most residential systems restricted to 600mm or 750mm.

One of the enhancements available to commercial windows is a heavy-duty sash sections and more robust hardware than your average residential window.

Windows this large can be opened and closed and can handle the excessive weight of the extra glass comfortably.  There are more hardware options with commercial windows than residential. Choices include heavy duty friction hinges, butt hinges, folding openers and even window controls, either manual or automatic.

Commercial window systems can also be used in the creation of fixed light glazing. For impressive picture windows or large glazed windows, these are ideal. Many commercial window systems, when used as a fixed pane, can go up to 5m2. Therefore maximum light can enter the home far more than a typical residential window. For a large fixed window, the only limitation is how large the glass can be made.

Curtain Wall framing used in the home.

Curtain walling framing when used in the home also provides benefits. For a homeowner looking to create a box, square and contemporary appearance, curtain walling is ideal.

Face dimensions on curtain walling are consistent inside and out. A characteristic dimension is 50mm. Therefore curtain walling sight lines can be slimmer than a residential window in many cases.

The depth of the curtain walling section depends on how tall the screen is and how much of it is unsupported. You can choose from mullions that start at 50mm deep up to 200mm thick.

Another significant advantage of curtain walling is that it can incorporate virtually any window. Therefore you have a choice of curtain walling screens with casement, pivot, tilt and turn, reversible and even bottom hung opening inwards windows.

For doors, any hinged, sliding or folding doors can be integrated within a curtain walling screen.

Where can curtain walling be used in the home?

Curtain walling is ideal for creating large glazed screens spanning the entire height of the property.

Curtain walling can be used internally as well if internal glazing is needed, to galleries, or to divide a large width and height.

You can even use a modified curtain walling mullion as a roof bar. Commercial glazing systems feature a modern boxy appearance ideal for anyone that likes the industrial or square appearance.  Indeed, one of the leading aluminium residential roofs in the UK by Atlas is designed around the box section mullion principle of curtain walling.

Disadvantages to using commercial glazing systems in the home.

There are none. Curtain walling it could be said undergoes far more rigorous testing than residential windows and doors. As curtain walling is designed to cover entire elevations as tall as the building itself may be, it is a very sophisticated, strong and robust product.

Deflection, wind loads, stresses and tolerances are all built into the system. Also, there is pressure equalisation, zone drainage and excellent weather performance.

Installation of curtain walling can be more complicated than a window. Scaffolding, towers or cherry pickers may be required. However, with well-designed systems such as the Senior SCW Curtain Walling or SCW+ systems, these are fabricated and delivered to the site in modules.

If you consider yourself an experienced window installer, there is no reason why you cannot fit low-rise curtain walling in a dwelling.

Curtain walling is externally glazed but remains secure.

Depending on the size and the design of curtain walling,  it is delivered to site in a ladder and modular arrangement. The main grid is erected, and then the different types of gaskets are applied.

The next stage is to glaze the screen. The glass units are offered into the aperture and secured in place with gaskets and pressure plates. These pressure plates are fixed to the screen with bolts.

The final stage is to clip the external capping into place on the outside.

Curtain walling and commercial glazing in the home. Things to consider.

We think curtain walling or commercial glazing in the home works, provides a different aesthetic and a very high performance glazing solution. It needn’t cost more than a residential suite of windows and doors either. However, there are some things to consider.

Not everyone can fit commercial glazing.

If the homeowner is looking to take a look at commercial glazing at their local double glazing firm, the likelihood is they’ll be disappointed. Only specialist companies and those that work in the commercial sector are proficient in specifying and fitting commercial aluminium systems. But as we way, choose the right modular system such as Senior SCW, and you may be surprised how easy to install they are. Contact us, and we can help.

Commercial glazing systems offer more flexibility and design freedom.

Residential doors and windows are mostly designed around typical window styles, sizes and property types. It is true that special window designs can be created. However, the flexibility of commercial systems is far greater.

A commercial glazing system is designed to meet virtually any building design, glazing requirement, size and performance level.

The other benefit of using a commercial glazing system will be that the installer is likely to be far more experienced in installation than your average home improvement firm specialising more in replacement windows or new build work.

If you would like more information about commercial systems and how they can provide benefits in a residential setting, please contact us.