'Commercial/storefront' vs. 'Residential' for Modern House

modern_missJuly 25, 2009

We're getting ready to build a new, modern house using aluminum windows, sliders and swing doors.

What are the differences, if any, between commercial and residential (aluminum) windows/doors? Currently we're considering both - is there a reason we shouldn't? There are no extremes in weather where we live.

By commercial/storefront I mean: Arcadia, Vistawall, Kawneer, US Aluminum, YKK, etc.

By residential I mean: Fleetwood, Western Window Systems, Milgard (Aluminum), International Window Corp, All Weather


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No really much, they are all pretty much similar these days in that they all use at least 1" thick glass and offer thermally broken units. Milgard i would not consider in this type of window as most of the others are very heavy extruded units with alot of aluminum showing inside and our(very commercial look) and the Milgards i am familiar with resemble residential units.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 3:43PM
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We redid our mid-century modern house last year. Our architect recommended "thin, black, aluminum" frames. Aluminum is great because it is so strong that the frames can be made very thin and sleek looking. Just what one wants for a modern design.

We primarily looked at Milgard, Fleetwood, and Blomberg. (Blomberg is a small manufacturer in Sacramento which makes really nice aluminum products. No web site. But call them and they will send you a nice packet of info.) We ended up choosing Milgard and have no regrets.

BTW, both Fleetwood and Blomberg make commercial level units. Milgard rates theirs for "light commercial".

Energy efficiency wise, aluminum is normally not considered "great". And on my windows, if one touches the frame vs the glass area on a very hot/code day, there is a very noticeable difference in temperature. Mitigating this is that because aluminum frames can be thin, there is more glass area vs frame area compared to vinyl or wood. I should note that we opted our Milgards to the Solar Max glazing.

If possible, and the cost difference is not too bad, consider the 'thermally broken' aluminum frames - such as what Fleetwood offers. Milgard offers thermally broken aluminum frames too - but when we bought ours it depended on which state you lived in. For some strange reason, they were not available in California! I gave the Milgard district sales rep a really hard time about this.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 7:46PM
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