What Is A Storefront Door?A storefront door is a type of commercial door that is constructed from aluminum and comprised of a top rail, bottom rail, hinge stile, and lock stile that holds a large tempered glass lite. Storefront doors get their name because they are the front entrance door of choice for any type of commercial building or retail store. The aluminum door construction is very heavy duty and durable, making it great for front entrance doors. Storefront doors also feature a full lite of tempered glass, offering lots of visibility for pedestrians using the door. The reliable door construction and large glass window lite make storefront doors ideal for front entry doors for any building, office, or retail space.
Aluminum vs. Wood vs. Hollow MetalMany building owners contemplate what type of door to use for the main entrance of their building. The three main types of commercial doors to choose from are aluminum (storefront door), wood, or hollow metal. Out of all of these door types, aluminum storefront doors are the best choice for front entrance doors; and here is why. Solid core wood doors are very heavy duty, but are designed for interior use. Exposed solid core wood doors to the outside elements will not last as long as storefront aluminum doors or steel doors. Also, solid core wood doors are very heavy. ADA compliant exterior front entry doors should require no more than 8.5lb of opening force to open the door. Steel doors are very durable, however they offer little visibility as they do not have a full window lite. Steel doors can have vision lite windows custom installed, however, it typically will far outweigh the cost of a storefront door. Also, steel doors come standard in a primered gray finish, designed to be painted. Steel doors are not manufactured from aluminum, so they cannot be anodized in aluminum or dark bronze finishes. For these reasons, aluminum storefront doors are the best choice for any building's front entry door.
Narrow, Medium, or Wide StileStorefront doors come in three main types: narrow stile, medium stile, and wide stile. The door stiles are the side/vertical rails that make up the aluminum door. The door application will determine which door type is needed. Typically, about 95% of the time a narrow stile door is perfect for the door application. In rare circumstances, where the foot traffic is much more heavy and the door is more likely to be abused, then a medium stile door should be used. In very few circumstances, is a wide stile door needed. Although, you may have come across a building with a wide stile storefront door, most likely it was sold to the building owner as an upsale, but really not necessary for the foot traffic or abuse.
Glass SizesMost standard storefront doors use 1/4" tempered, clear glass. Tempered glass is a type of safety glass commonly used in commercial buildings. When broken, tempered glass breaks into tiny pieces, instead of large shards like annealed glass. Storefront doors can also use 5/8" insulated tempered, clear glass. Insulated glass is used to help retain the building's temperature.
Offset Pivots vs HingesStandard storefront doors use offset pivots as the hinge mechanism for the door. Offset pivots are very durable and use a high quality bearing designed for commercial use. Typically offset pivots are located at the bottom threshold of the door and the top rail of the door. If the door is 8'-0" tall there will be an additional 3/4" offset intermediate pivot at the center of the door. Some storefront doors use ball bearing hinges. Heavy duty storefront doors will feature 3 ball bearing hinges, while inexpensive low duty doors will only have 2 ball bearing hinges.
Clear Anodized, Dark Bronze, or WhiteStandard storefront doors are either clear anodized (silver color) or dark bronze anodized (dark brown/black color). Some fancier storefront doors are finished in white, such as a main entrance for a hotel lobby. Typically clear anodized storefront doors are less in cost than dark bronze or white.
Are Storefront Doors ADA CompliantAccording to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) section 404.2.10, for a storefront door to be ADA compliant the door should have atleast a 10" smooth surface from the finished floor to the top of the door rail. This means the storefront door bottom rail should be approximately 10". In section 404.2.5, it states the bottom threshold should be no taller than 1/2". The minimum door way should be atleast 32" which means the door should be no smaller than 3'-0" (36"). The door height should be atleast 6'8" (80"), which means that the storefront door must either be a 6'-8", 7'-0", 8'-0" or taller door. ADA also states that the storefront door should take atleast 5 seconds to close from the full open position of 90 degrees to 12 degrees. In section 404.2.9, ADA only states the maximum opening force for interior doors of 5lb max. However, most storefront doors are used as exterior doors. It is common practice that the exterior door requires no more than 8.5lb of opening force, however this should be verified with your local building codes.
How Much Do Storefront Doors Cost?On average, a single storefront door costs anywhere from $2,000.00 to $2,500.00 installed. While, a storefront door can cost $4,000.00 to $5,000.00 installed. These prices can increase based on additional options the customers include such as glass stops for 5/8" insulated glass, 10" bottom rails, ADA compliant door threshold, ball bearing hinges, medium stile, etc. Although many of these door options are great, depending on your door application, you may not require them. Purchasing a storefront door with the proper components and options is important so that it can meet all your building codes and ADA requirements. Be sure to purchase high quality storefront doors from us.