Exterior Solutions

Architectural Glass

Architectural glass is any glass used as a crucial building material for a building’s structure. Often considered as merely an exterior construction material for the envelope of large commercial buildings, such a basic description is a massive understatement of it’s applied uses. For decades, designers, drafts people and engineers have utilized architectural glass throughout much of a building’s design, both inside and out.

Whether it’s exterior surfaces, office spaces or partitions between departments, the diverse applications of architectural glass is impressive. Depending on the case-use at hand, architectural glass is often required to be tinted, insulated, reinforced, tempered, annealed, heat treated, laminated or otherwise modified to suit a specific need.

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Commercial and Residential Products

What’s a Glass Wall System?

When a building’s exterior is laden with glass, the overall assembly of hardware, components, sealants, brackets, frameware and glass types are referred to as a wall system. The two primary wall system formats used at Kruse Glass and Aluminum are known as:

  1. Curtainwall (pictured)
  2. Storefront

Curtainwall Systems

  • Stronger frame systems
  • Can span more floors
  • Often designed with “thermal breaks” to reduce the transfer of of temps between interior and exterior
  • More efficient water management than storefront systems
  • Higher price point
  • Primarily used for commercial development

Storefront Wall Systems

  • Recommended for first floor use, typically up to 12 ft tall. 
  • Often designed with “thermal breaks” to reduce the transfer of of temperature between interior and exterior
  • Okay water management, but less efficient than Curtainwall
  • More affordably priced
  • Primarily used in commercial development, however, has become used in residential applications when homeowners want the “full wall of glass & industrial look”

Curtainwall vs Storefront

Both systems are designed to protect the building and it’s contents from weather while providing daylight and open views of the outdoor environment. This functionality however, is where the similarity ends. Each wall system has unique requirements and limitations and therefore, it’s commonplace to find both systems utilized on the same building. They may be paired with entrances, operable vents, windows or sun shades.

Lets talk about water!

Curtainwall drain holes in horizontal mullions

One key difference between storefront and curtainwall systems is their water drainage. Comparatively speaking, curtainwall drainage is superior to that of a storefront system. Curtainwall systems allow each lite of glass to be weeped separately and independently. Conversely, storefront systems are designed in a fashion that an entire wall assembly will redirect the water to a commonly shared downward path. This downward path is the vertical mullions and all gathered water continues downward to the bottom sill where it then weeps away from the structure. Because vertical mullions are required to distribute much water from a large surface area, their physical dimensions may become a flow restriction when water volumes exceeds the mullions capacity. This is just one consideration that engineers & designers navigate when selecting the appropriate wall system for a project.

Curtainwall Drain Holes

Storefront Drainage

We have all the glass flavors!

Glass Types & Options

We can customize the look of your glass. Everything from:

  • fire rated
  • laminated
  • etched and blasted
  • decorative
  • bullet resistant

Share Your Vision With The Experts at Kruse Glass & Aluminum

No job is too small or too big for us.