Both hollow metal and aluminum storefronts and door frames are a very common and durable component for businesses of all types. Whether you plan on using a large amount of glass or simply have a few windows, both of these materials can be very useful for your commercial facility.

Depending on your needs and preferences in design, you may find that aluminum storefronts are better than hollow metal. On the other hand, if you want to focus on durability and fire rating, or have a range of customization requirements, hollow metal may be better suited for your needs.

Let’s take a closer look at the two and how they compare to each other.

Aluminum Storefronts

Aluminum is very resistant to corrosion which helps encourage a new and clean look, even when the storefront is several years old. It is also a great material to use on storefronts that include a lot of glass.

Aluminum frame storefronts are becoming extremely popular for their crisp look, ease of installation, and 90-minute fire rating. In addition, for larger storefronts, they can be much more budget friendly while still offering the same customization options as a hollow metal frame.

The biggest downside to using an aluminum storefront is the limitations you face when changing hardware or other installations. You may also run into size limitations as aluminum storefronts are extruded through dies during the manufacturing process.

While aluminum is corrosion resistant and may be the best option for coastal or waterfront retail businesses, it can be prone to denting and is not as durable as hollow metal framing. You’ll also notice that most aluminum storefronts are anodized which makes it much more difficult to paint when a change of color is desired.

Hollow Metal Storefronts

In comparison to aluminum storefronts, hollow metal framing is extremely durable. It’s great for areas that have a lot of traffic such as office buildings, schools, or hospitals. Unfortunately, it may not offer the same level of corrosion resistance as aluminum which may make it less viable for oceanfront establishments.

When it comes to the range of customization, hollow metal framing is not limited to die extrusion sizes in the manufacturing plant so can bring a much larger range of customization options than aluminum. This also means that on site repairs are much easier due to being able to grind, weld, and paint with ease.

Like aluminum framing, hollow metal can be used for both exterior storefronts and interior framing. The fire rating is much better than aluminum and can withstand up to 3 hours of exposure. Additionally, hollow metal framing is perfectly usable with a wide range of glass configurations which puts it on par with aluminum.

The biggest downside to using hollow metal framing is the price. Compared to aluminum, it can be considerably more expensive. However, the benefits of being able to perform on-site repairs and painting, the higher fire rating, and the higher durability may be worth the added investment.

Want to Learn More?

We’re happy to offer storefront installation and repair throughout the SF east bay and eastern Sacramento regions. Call us any time for some free advice about storefronts, or to get started with a free estimate for your needs.