What is Commercial Glazing?

Everywhere you look there are examples of commercial glazing, especially in urban and commercial areas. Whether a storefront on a busy street or a drive-thru window at a fast-food restaurant, commercial glazing plays an important part of the design and functionality of a clear paneled area. Commercial glazing is simply glazing on commercial properties. Residential glazing consists of glazing window panes, etc on homes.

Materials for Commercial Glazing

Glass is the most popular and the traditional material used for glazing. When glass is used for glazing, it is often double or triple glazed to give added benefits of thermal performance and acoustic insulating properties. Double glazing is the process of using two glass window panes, or three for triple glazing, separated by a space to reduce heat transfer.

However, plastic sheeting has been on the rise. Often, industry experts turn to different types of acrylic sheeting and polycarbonate sheeting for commercial glazing applications. Opting for plastic sheets for glazing applications opens the door for improved performance, cost savings, and energy savings. Different types of plastic provide different benefits.

Benefits Acrylic Plexiglass for Commercial Glazing

Acrylic sheeting is up to 50 times stronger than glass and half the weight, not only making it easier to work with, but giving an improved overall performance. The lighter the material, the easier it is to handle, and the cheaper shipping and handling costs. Acrylic sheets are naturally UV stable, providing a clear optical view that is a perfect substitute for traditional glass. Not only is traditional clear acrylic sheeting ideal for commercial glazing, acrylic AR2 scratch-resistant sheeting is a great modified alternative for high-traffic areas.

Benefits of Polycarbonate Sheets for Commercial Glazing

Polycarbonate is quickly becoming the most popular choice for commercial glazing because of its superior impact resistance and shatter resistance. Polycarbonate is even stronger than acrylic, at 100 times the strength of glass, just like acrylic, is very light weight. However, unlike acrylic, polycarbonate sheets are not naturally UV stable, but a layer of protection is added to one of the sides to provide extra longevity to the sheet when exposed to the sun’s rays. Because polycarbonate plastic is a popular choice for commercial glazing because of its strength, there are a variety of modified polycarbonate sheets commonly used in glazing:

  • Bullet-Resistant Polycarbonate
  • Trupoly SL Polycarbonate
  • Multiwall Polycarbonate
  • Polycarbonate AR2

Common Applications of Plastic Sheets in Commercial Glazing

Although glazing generally refers to exterior facing windows, there are a variety of indoor and outdoor applications for using acrylic and polycarbonate in commercial glazing. If it uses glass or clear plastic, you’re looking at glazing.

Common Indoor Applications

  • Mirrors
  • Furniture & Cladding
  • Acoustic Glass
  • Glass Floors
  • Partitions
  • Balustrades

Common Outdoor Applications

  • Solar Panels
  • Windows
  • Teller & Drive-Thru Windows
  • Atriums

Benefits of Commercial Glazing

Traditionally, glazing is used to retain heat, especially during cold weather. Many people refer to double and tripled glazed panels as storm windows, or storm doors, due to the strong nature of the glazing. Polycarbonate sheets provide the impact resistance needed to withstand intense storms. Additionally, polycarbonate, especially bullet resistant polycarbonate sheeting, is popular for drive-thrus and teller windows to protect against intrusions and weapons. In fact, multiwall polycarbonate is often used for storm panels as they can protect homes in severe weather like hurricanes.

Polycarbonate sheets and acrylic sheets are exponentially growing in popularity in commercial glazing applications due to their light weight, improved strength over glass, and versatility. Whether indoors or outdoors, commercial glazing is both important for structural soundness, but for visually appealing glazing as well.