5 Ways that Commercial and Residential Glass and Window Needs are Different

5 ways that commercial and residential glass and window needs are different

Did you know that commercial glass windows differ from residential ones? In fact, the two aren’t interchangeable because of their difference in thickness and structure. They each serve their own purpose in very distinct and important ways. To help you understand the exact distinction between the two, here are the ways that commercial and residential glass and window needs are different.

Glass Strength

Commercial windows are made stronger than residential grade ones because they need to withstand more severe wind speeds. Take a condo building for example. Because these buildings are usually taller, they are often battered by very high winds, rain, and hail. The windows are also larger in comparison which is why the glass needs to have higher structural integrity and provide more structural support. This allows the glass to hold up strong against any tumultuous weather, especially in our northern climate here in Ottawa.

A house, on the other hand, is rarely higher than 3-storeys and is often protected by surrounding homes or trees. The windows are also smaller which prevents them from being subject to high-pressure winds. If you make a mistake and install a residential window on a commercial building, it’s likely to result in structural issues because of the smaller structural load capacity. Developers who handle large building projects are generally aware of these differences and go through all the proper channels during development.

Glazing Needs

Of course, commercial buildings have a greater number of windows in comparison to residential properties. They are also considered as “internal-load dominated buildings” which refers to all of the lights, computers, and people that generate a significant amount of heat. This is why commercial windows are coated with special materials to deflect the sunlight and limit the amount that enters through the windows to reduce heat transference. This helps keep internal environments more comfortable without having to constantly adjust the thermostat. They are also reinforced with high-performance glazing to allow the light to come through but keep the building cool in order to cut down on energy costs.

On the other hand, residential properties do not generate a lot of heat, and many homeowners rely on the sunlight as their primary heating source. The glass is typically less reflective and lighter in colour. You can get your residential windows coated, but it’s not necessary and often expensive to do so.

Frame Size and Weight

The frames are also quite different. Residential window frames are much lighter and easier to install. On the other hand, commercial window frames are thicker, heavier, and require more materials. They also cost more to install because specialized equipment is often required to set commercial windows, which is not required for residential ones.

Glass Options

When it comes to glass options, there are many more options for commercial buildings. For one, there are hundreds of glazing choices on the market, and commercial windows can be specified with any type of glass that’s available. That creates a mountain of options for your business, whereas for residential homes, there are only five to six options to choose from.


Residential windows require less material to build, are often pre-made, and they take less time to install. Commercial windows, alternatively, are usually custom-built, which means they take more time to craft and fit, and are priced higher. They are also custom-fit, glazed-on site and are hung by a crane or specialized equipment.

If you’re looking to add new windows to your commercial building or home, talk to an expert first by calling us at M&T Glass. We don’t just repair and service windows; we also specialize in pre-fab and semi-fab framing. Our frames are factory built and come partially or fully assembled. This ensures that the fit, finish, and installation times are greatly reduced. Best of all, we only offer high performance, energy efficient windows and doors with a lifetime transferable warranty. We even have hardware, frames, cranks, and operators — we’re your one-stop shop for window products, installation, and repair. Our team of knowledgeable professionals will help you choose the right window parts and glass, and successfully install your windows for you.

Reach out to us today or visit our website to learn more about our services, products, and expert team.



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