Entrances and Framing

Advancements in Commercial Entrances and Framing

07:04:44 AM on 03/24/2010

In my last post I mentioned the increased energy efficiencies of buildings and the security of building and entrance doors.  This time I'll take a quick look at the framing we commonly call storefronts.  The same issues of improved thermal performance and building security are on the minds of architects and owners for all glass areas not just the entrance doors.

We've come a long way in improving thermal performance relative to framing.  We have gone from an aluminum frame with 1/4" glass, to an aluminum frame with 1" insulating glass. From there we moved to an aluminum frame with a polyurethane Pour & Debridge thermal break with 1" insulating glass to an aluminum frame with a polyamide strut thermal break with 1" insulating glass. All these improvements have taken place over the course of approximately 40 plus years.  And, the thing is, we keep trying to improve the performance of the aluminum frame. In most cases, the entire opening is usually controlled by the glass infills as it generally consists of up to 85% of the opening.  With the aluminum framing thermal break technology and high performance glass of today, are we at the limits of what we can expect for overall system thermal performance?  I have an opinion. What’s yours?


Cross section of non-thermal Trifab® VG (VersaGlaze®) 450 framing with 1/4" glass shown at left and thermal Trifab® VG (VersaGlaze®) 451T framing shown at right with polyurethane pour and debridge thermal break highlighted in red.

Click image to enlarge >

Storefront framing and security - how do they go together?  Over the years we have gone from aluminum frames with annealed glass to aluminum frames with laminated glass to meet requirements of smash and grab, bullet resistance, hurricane resistance and blast mitigation. All these can be accomplished with the use of aluminum frames and a variation of a laminated glass product.  Even though the details may look similar, a piece of laminated glass structurally siliconed into an aluminum frame; the design and performance varies greatly.  A good hurricane resistant design may not necessarily equal a good blast resistant design, nor does a good bullet resistant design necessarily equal a good blast mitigation design. The bottom line is that aluminum storefront framing systems combined with the correct glazing can equal building security for its occupants.

Now that I've shared a few more thoughts with you, I would like to know what you think. Do you think aluminum framing will continue to meet the challenging needs of building energy efficiencies and security moving forward? What changes do you see coming for future entrance and framing designs?


Donnie Hunter
Product Manager
Storefronts, Entrances and Framing



Hi Donnie,

I am a building engineer in Reston Va, and we are currently completing the spec pac for two store front renovations at our Community centers. Our engineers have specified Kawneer doors which I like. However the have not specified type which ultimately leaves that up to the contractor which I do not like.

Since I am ultimately going to be responsible for these doors I would love some feed back as to what you think the right application would be. We have (1) center with three sets of ADA double doors (automatic) (6') each with one solid store front (curtain wall). Both sections under cover from elements however building was buit in the 70's and is solid concrete with no insulation. (2) building Has (2) separate 6' openings with side lights not covered as much and next to a large lake. Which experiences alot of wind tunnel effects. You have mentioned previous applications and glazing types I would like to know what you would recommend in these two applications.

Thank You,\




Thank you for your question regarding our storefronts and entrances. Applications like community centers typically require products designed for high traffic flow; our 350/500 Heavy Wall™ Entrances or 350/500 Tuffline® Entrances are designed to meet these rigorous demands. That said, more information and project specific drawings regarding your situation can help Kawneer recommend product solutions that would most accurately address your needs. To ensure the most appropriate solution, I recommend you contact our Architectural Services Team (AST) and have them review your needs so they can analyze the requirements and recommend options tailored for your project. The AST is dedicated to providing technical and product application assistance for individual projects and you can reach the AST toll free at 1.877.767.9107.

Thanks for your comment and consideration of Kawneer products.

Donnie Hunter


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