What is the Difference Between Commercial and Residential Windows?

Ashley Christensen
September 29, 2023

Depending on who you talk to, some people might think that commercial and residential windows have nothing in common, whereas others believe they are more alike than they are different. Regardless of what you believe, we are here to set the record straight and help you know the difference between the two. As both a residential and commercial glass company, we are experts on the two and can speak as such. 

To an untrained eye, both commercial and residential windows look relatively similar, but if you look closely you’ll begin to notice some significant differences. 

Thermal Insulation 

One of the biggest differences between commercial and residential windows, is commercial windows feature a design element that works to limit the penetration of natural solar heat into a property. The reason this design element is found primarily in commercial windows and not necessarily in residential windows is that commercial properties generate a high amount of heat on their own from lighting, electrical outlets, computers, and such. 

Due to the high amount of heat that is generated within a building, adding natural heating from outside, such as sunlight, can result in numerous overheating issues and a lack of energy efficiency. As such, there is a need to combat and counteract the heat within a commercial setting that isn’t necessarily as prevalent in a residential space. 

Commercial windows come equipped with special coatings and top-performance glazing as a means to reduce the penetration of outside heat. On the other hand, residential windows don’t require such extensive measures taken to reduce the amount of heat gain, because residential homes rely on natural solar heat to help heat their spaces. Because residential spaces don’t create excessive heat on their own, they need all the help they can get from the sun and outside heat sources. 

Opening Size 

One obvious difference between commercial and residential windows is often the size, with commercial sizes being much larger than residential windows. Residential windows have a design feature that allows for them to be made in small sizes so that they can be installed in small window openings typically found in residential homes. 

Oftentimes times when you see commercial windows, they are much larger and wider than what you see in residential spaces. They’re generally chunky, square, and bold, similar to what you generally see in shopfronts, office buildings, and other commercial spaces. 

Sash & Frame Sizes 

In order to support the larger sizes of typical commercial windows, commercial windows require bulkier and wider frames than residential windows. Additionally, commercial window frames often look more industrious than residential windows and are made out of stronger materials i.e., metal and steel vs. wood or vinyl. 

Another big difference between commercial and residential window frames is commercial windows require a higher wind rating than residential windows. Because of this requirement, commercial windows often come equipped with hardware that is of a higher quality than what is generally found on residential windows. 

As you can see, there are some subtle and pretty obvious differences when it comes to commercial and residential windows. If you are looking for a commercial glass company in the Logan, Utah area, contact Gordon’s Glass. As the premier commercial glass company in all of Cache Valley, Gordon’s Glass has the knowledge, experience, and expertise to help you find the right windows to fit your needs. 

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