The benefits and drawbacks of different types of commercial glazing materials
Commercial glazing materials are used in a variety of applications, including storefronts, curtain walls, skylights, and more. These materials can provide a range of benefits, including energy efficiency, durability, and aesthetic appeal. However, each type of commercial glazing material also has its own set of drawbacks. Below, we will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of different types of commercial glazing materials that a glazing company may offer, including glass, polycarbonate, and acrylic, and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each so you can make an informed decision.
Starting with one of the most common, Glass is widely used in storefronts, curtain walls, and skylights. The benefits of glass as a commercial glazing material include:
- Durability: Glass is a very durable material that can withstand a lot of wear and tear. It is resistant to scratches and is not affected by UV rays.
- Energy efficiency: Glass can be coated with a low-emissivity (low-e) coating that helps to reduce the amount of heat that enters a building. This can help to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat and cool a building.
- Aesthetic appeal: Glass can be used in a variety of different ways to create a sleek and modern look for a building.
However, glass also has some drawbacks as a commercial glazing material that are worth closer consideration:
- Fragility: Glass is a brittle material that can easily break. This can be a safety concern, especially in areas where there is a lot of foot traffic, so another type of material may be the better, safer choice.
- Cost: Glass can be expensive, especially when it is coated with a low-e coating, so it may not be the best choice for companies on a budget.
Different from glass, this material is a type of plastic that is often used as an option for commercial glazing. The benefits of polycarbonate as a commercial glazing material include:
- Durability: Polycarbonate is a very strong and durable material. It is resistant to impact and is not affected by UV rays, which makes it a good choice for public areas like shops and schools.
- Flexibility: Polycarbonate is a flexible material that can be bent and shaped without breaking. This makes it well-suited for use in curved or irregularly shaped building designs that you may find in modern architecture.
- Cost-effective: Polycarbonate is less expensive than glass, which can make it a cost-effective option for some commercial glazing applications.
But like the rest, polycarbonate also has some drawbacks as a commercial glazing material that you should consider:
- Transparency: Polycarbonate is not as transparent as glass, which can make it less visually appealing.
- Yellowing: Polycarbonate can become yellow over time when exposed to UV rays. This can make it less visually appealing and can reduce its ability to transmit light, you may also need to replace it more regularly to keep it looking new and fresh.
Acrylic is another example of plastic being used in commercial glazing projects. The benefits of acrylic as a commercial glazing material include:
- Durability: Acrylic is a strong and durable material that can withstand a lot of wear and tear.
- Transparency: Acrylic is a very clear material that can transmit up to 92% of light.
- Cost-effective: Acrylic is less expensive than glass and is a cost-effective option for some commercial glazing applications.
But this material also has some disadvantages as a commercial glazing material. Here are a few that you should think about before making your decision:
- Scratches: Acrylic is more prone to scratches than glass which can result in it looking less appealing over time and may need to be replaced.
- UV sensitivity: Acrylic can yellow over time when exposed to UV rays. This can make it less visually appealing and can reduce its ability to transmit light.
There is a range of materials you can use, but it’s worth thinking about the benefits and drawbacks so you can get as much from your glazing investment as possible to suit your space, building, and requirements.