Residential vs. Commercial Windows: What’s the Difference?

Commercial property managers and building owners often have a difficult time understanding the cost of window replacement projects. If you’ve replaced your windows at home, then comparing them to commercial installations will not give an accurate estimate.

Commercial Windows

Residential and commercial windows vary greatly in design. In fact, installing a residential window on the commercial property would be problematic because major structural issues could arise as well as problems with the ability to withstand wind pressure. Commercial windows are made specifically for each building’s envelope (enclosure); glazed at sites; require specialized equipment such to hang them which makes them more expensive.

In particular, there are many differences between residential and commercial windows, including:

Specialized Glazing to Prevent Solar Heat Gain for Windows

Commercial properties are known as “internal-load dominated buildings.” These large well populated buildings often have lots of people, computers and equipment that generate a lot of heat internally. They combat this with cooling measures throughout the year to keep their environment comfortable for everyone working there all day long! Single family homes on the other hand don’t create much internal heat so they rely more heavily upon sunlight which also helps out when it comes time in wintertime because these houses aren’t packed full like something from commercial space would be.

The construction and installation of commercial window glazing should be designed to limit solar heat gain. This can easily be accomplished using specialized coating, high-performance glazing materials or ventilation systems that enable light but not too much warmth inside the building through windows – which saves on energy costs!

NAFS Grade Ratings

North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS) is a rating system for commercial windows that helps to determine their ability to withstand high winds and other environmental factors. Commercial buildings must have strong, well-made glass in order to avoid liability issues due its exposure on higher floors where there are stronger weather conditions or heavier loads placed atop them daily!

Commercial buildings are more likely than residential ones to experience the effects of wind. Commercial windows have thicker frames and reinforcement so they can withstand high pressure, while lighter Residential versions must be built with greater durability in mind

Commercial properties often need stronger materials for protection against strong winds; this is because larger commercial structures require heavier loads due to their unique application needs which may not necessarily exist within homes or other types of construction sites.

Cost of Customization and Installation

Commercial grade frames – in the LC, CW and AW, or heavy-duty frames are thicker and require more material to build. They’re also significantly more expensive than lighter residential grade ones for a given window size due in part to their beefed-up construction requirements as well as customization which can add costs further down the line. Plus, many commercial building projects require frames that are completely custom-built, which can also add to costs. This increases the costs and time required for an installation project.


Commercial buildings are typically larger and have higher rates of heat accumulation due to more people. They need commercial window types that let this in order for it not only to stay comfortable but also keep their energy costs low by regulating temperature well enough with insulation on the outside-not just glass!

Without the right materials and glazing, commercial buildings would heat up too much, causing a spike in the cooling systems and related bills.

Residential properties don’t produce as much internal warmth so they benefit from having windows made out of softened residential material which is designed specifically for letting light shine through while blocking cold airflow during wintertime.

Durability and Performance

It’s understandable why commercial windows need to be more durable and tougher than residential windows. Of course, residential windows are still very strong in the sense that they’ll keep everything out in terms of the elements. But more durability against high winds can be expected from commercial-style windows.

Commercial-style windows are built to last for many years without having to change them. You can usually remove residential windows quickly and easily compared to commercial ones, that’s why they have less durability against high winds.

On a side note, residential windows are better suited for your home. Even though commercial quality might last longer and be more durable in general it doesn’t mean you should switch all of the windows at once to these types. They each have features that make them beneficial when installed correctly with their specific settings so this decision really comes down to what would work best from both perspectives- which is why we always suggest talking with one of our window experts about how they can customize an option just for YOU !

Regardless of the type, success relies on a high-quality product and an experienced installer. Whether you need residential windows or commercial ones for your business; it’s important to research potential installers before moving forward with the project.


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