Are you wondering which are the best patio doors uPVC or Aluminium? We understand that choosing the right upgrades for your home can be confusing, the key thing is to do your research. Throughout this article, we will discuss all of those options as well as discussing the pros & cons of alternative large door solutions such as traditional French doors or contemporary bi-folds and whether these may be better suited to your needs.
An insight to Sliding Doors
Sliding patio doors were the must-have Home Improvement up until the last ten years that is – Bi-Folds suddenly become hugely popular and the old school, clunky patio sliding door fell out of favour. Older patio sets were often heavy, difficult to shut properly and were not thermally broken which would result in the frames suffering from condensation and not being secure, security was a major concern & the price often put people off.
Welcome the new alternative, a range of thermally broken product packed with features which could open up a whole wall with a push of just a single finger, its easy to see why Bifolds were suddenly the must-have upgrade. The popularity of Bi-folds has since been overtaken by the development of new sliding door sets which have gained traction in the home improvements market.
Bi-folds have not changed for several years and they have become overshadowed by newer, sleeker, easy gliding products. The days of, clunky, difficult to close sliding doors are thankfully long behind us, no more wrestling with a dull slab covered in condensation, trying to get it to shut and worrying about security.
If you are of a mindset that a patio sliding door is old fashioned, think again because this couldn’t be further from the truth. Here is exactly how much the modern sliding door range has evolved since the early years:
A modern patio sliding door is more thermally efficient due to having thermally broken frames which prevent cold spots and condensation, coupled with high-performance glass means sliders are now thermally efficient.
Patio door security was always a major concern with older doors as they could be lifted out of the sliding tracks to gain entry to the property. Development of the track design now means the door can not be lifted out of the track, they are now more secure. The changes to the designs and tracks also mean they are much more weather resistant than their older counterparts.
Old sliding doors were usually mounted in hardwood frames which resulted in bulky sightlines and a loss of the valuable view outside, modern patio doors uPVC and Aluminium can be fixed directly to the property wall resulting in less loss of the scenery outside. Aluminium frames have a much slimmer frame and some are available with virtually zero sightlines.
Technological advances in manufacture mean that the days of patio doors grinding across the track, grumbling along as they are pushed, shoved and tugged to close are long gone. Modern sets have the choice of lift and slide openers and sliding doors that were once only for commercial use can now be installed in our houses. If automatic openers or lift and slide are not your things, even the biggest of doors ( up to 9m² ) will glide along with just a push of the finger.
Patio Doors uPVC or Aluminium?
Patio sliders are an affordable home improvement that opens your house up to meet your garden, balcony or conservatory. They are not only a great way of accessing the garden area, but because they slide open on a track, patios glide with ease one behind the other, making them a great space-saving alternative to bi-folds.
The clever way of maximising the amount of natural light that can flood in. Large glass panes also allow you to make the most of the views outside. Our customers have a choice of materials and we often get asked which are the best patio doors uPVC or Aluminium? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both.
Why Choose uPVC Sliding Patio Doors?
Patio doors uPVC or Aluminium will create a contemporary looking door with the biggest surface area of glass possible and unobstructed views of the scenery outside, let’s be honest that is probably why you want them anyway right?
The design of modern Aluminium sliding doors tends to follow the trend of being highly contemporary while functional, secure and energy-efficient. uPVC patios are available in more traditional styles.
When choosing the glazing for your big pane sliders it is important to choose glass that has a low-emissivity coating, features a warm edge spacer bar and where possible filled with Krypton gas between the glass panes rather than the usual Argon. Triple or acoustic glazing is also available as an option that will add to the overall performance of energy efficiency. Below is a brief summary of why sliding doors are the perfect door for you:
Light – Allows the maximum amount of daylight to enter the space, this makes them perfect for joining rooms to conservatories where light may have been restricted.
Space – Because of the way the door mechanics work they are a great space-saving option, again great for connecting your house to a conservatory, or onto a balcony where space may be limited and prevent the installation of bi-folds.
Views -Most homeowners with balconies want to make the most of the scenery, a bigger surface area of glass maximises this as there is less frame obstructing the views.
Fortunately, there has never been a better time to be shopping for patio sliders uPVC or Aluminium. There are currently so many choices when choosing a new sliding patio door everything from style, colours, design, performance and even sliding actions are worlds apart from the traditional inline sliding door.
Pros and cons of Patio sliding doors.
There are not many cons to installing a set of sliding patio doors uPVC Aluminium or even Timber. There are many advantages to a patio door even for smaller entrances.
The Advantages of Sliding Patio Doors uPVC Aluminium
Sliding patio openers do not encroach on the space inside or outside because they slide inline which means they are contained within a single track and do not swing into the surrounding space. This feature makes the sliding patio perfect for spaces like conservatories, narrow balconies or decks, homeowners are able to put furniture close to the doors without interrupting the sliding movement or having to move furniture every time access is required to the house or garden.
Another advantage of patio doors uPVC or Aluminium is that whatever you choose they will both look fantastic open or closed. Patio openers will offer far more glass area compared to other styles of door, however, the Aluminium does have far sleeker lines than uPVC, something you may wish to consider when choosing your product if the view is important to you.
Aluminium also beats uPVC in new build extensions where sliding is used to create a glass wall. Although most sliding doors can easily span up to six metres with just two glass panels & heights of 3 metres are easily achievable. Of course, big panels means big glass adds extra weight to the sliding door. I know what you are thinking right now – “Heavy doors will be a nightmare to open & close”. This is certainly not the case with current sliding doors, even when they exceed 300kg per panel glide along effortlessly. Aluminium sliding patio door sets are more than a door, they are a testament to modern engineering.
Disadvantages of Sliding Patio Doors uPVC & Aluminium
The only real disadvantage, when compared to bi-folds is that a sliding patio door uPVC or aluminium will not fully open up the door opening. There are ways to increase the opening size, multiple tracks, for instance, the extra tracks will allow openers to slide in either direction. The benefit of multiple tracks is that three-door slabs have the ability to stack on one which will open up 2/3rd’s of the opening when installing a three-panel door, slightly less with a two-panel door at only 50%.
Tips for choosing aluminium sliding patio door.
Research the range of materials available to you, make sure they are suited to your needs, for example, if you live on the coast of Cornwall, the PVCu patio set would be favourable over Aluminium as there is less oxidisation with uPVC.
If you do live on the coast or somewhere with adverse weather conditions then different materials are more suitable than others. Always speak to your supplier and ask their advice on which might best suit your situation.
Ensure the sliding patio door uPVC, Aluminium or Timber have a wide variety of furniture which allows you to tailor the style to suit your tastes and homes design.
We all love a bargain and shopping for home improvements is no different, however, you should keep in mind that not all products are made equal and you usually get what you pay for. Prices between uPVC patio doors, Aluminium and timber will, of course, all vary.
Is a patio sliding door right for you?
By now you have probably realised just how much the current generation of sliding patio door range has changed compared to older ones and how much they have to offer, however, it is still worth looking at the French and Bi-fold Doors just to see how they compare:
Pros and cons of French Doors.
French doors are made up of two doors that open either in or out from the centre, one door will be the master and the other the slave, the master is the main opening door whilst the slave door remains shut most of the time. The widest French doors are often referred to as a patio door as well, this is because typically they are found at the rear of the property, leading out to the garden area, a patio or deck. If doors sliding is one of the design preferences you have your heart set on, then these won’t be for you.
What Are The Advantages of French Doors?
French doors are suited to smaller openings simply because when opened fully the opening will be unobstructed and provide a better view of the scenery. They are usually double glazed, preventing heat loss and being thermally efficient. When compared to patio door prices, there is not much difference between a uPVC French door and uPVC sliding patio doors.
A lot of homeowners will consider a set of two leaf bi-folds for smaller openings if this is the case weight up the benefits if you have smaller door access and wish to maximise the opening then you should consider a set of the widest french doors which will give you the biggest opening. The most common double door opening is roughly 1200mm to 1800mm, with that in mind, give consideration to whether or not French Doors let more daylight in with the limited amount of glazing, and if they would be more aesthetically pleasing.
What Are The Disadvantages of French Doors?
The only drawback is the maximum width and height. The Aluminium French door range can be made wider and taller than uPVC or composite door sets and could be installed into an opening of around 2200mm wide and 2400mm high without the need for sidelights. Openings larger than this would require a sliding patio door or a Bi-fold door.
Tips for choosing French Doors.
When thinking about purchasing a set of French doors, aluminium would be the preferred choice, it has a sleeker sight-line than uPVC or a timber French door, the narrower form means better views.
If the doorway is less than 2M then a French door will allow the most natural light into the surrounding space when compared to sliding patio doors.
A French Door set is less expensive than a sliding patio door and bi-folding doors, perfect for homeowners working to a budget.
If a cat or dog flap is required or a solid panel then a French door is definitely the way to go as a midrail can be incorporated which allows the door to be split midway.
Pros and cons of bifold doors.
Bifolds have become the trendy upgrade to have over the recent years, they can literally open up your living space creating a seamless link between the house and garden. They also add a striking visual impact to any property and create a stunning, modern focal point whilst remaining thermally efficient.
There is no denying the fact that Bifolds are extremely desirable, stunning and functional. Being the only door that appears to open the whole wall of your house and expand your property into the garden, whether that be for extra dining space or for entertaining guests on a warm summers evening, Bi-fold doors certainly create a stunning visual experience and functioning impact.
Bi-folding doors are suited to most properties and are as functional as a single entrance door due to the flexible design which can feature single or even double traffic doors. This setup allows you to use a single door just like a regular entrance door when the Bifolds are fully closed. A Bifold door can be made up of just two units with bigger door sets being comprised of eight or more. Bifolds are not restricted to a straight wall, larger door sets can be manufactured to follow curved walls, something that can’t be achieved with other patio door styles.
The market is flooded with different bifold doors, some cheaper than others, some with different features, so which systems should you choose? Whilst it is tempting to think that bi-folds are all the same and go for the cheapest types, we advise you to shop well, choose a set with top quality components that won’t rust or fail and the best glazing. The one way to ensure that you are buying a quality product is to choose a window supplier and installer that offers an insurance backed guarantee on the products and labour.
As hard as it may be to believe, many people building a brand new extension leave the choice of bifold up to their builder. Whilst local builders can get trade prices they might not come with the warranty offered by some better-known manufacturers and they do not always have the wide choice of supplier that professional window installers have access too. Always check the guarantee the builder is offering compared to one offered by a bi-folding door supplier and installer. Quite often, guarantees are only valid when a trained or even approved fitter carries out the installation for numerous reasons. Check that all of the materials are covered, professional window installers will be covered by FENSA and an insurance backed guarantee.
Advantages of Bi-Folds
Of course, Bifolds have drawbacks, firstly they are usually expensive, and they don’t suit every style of property. Most have a modern, contemporary style, obviously, this would be the wrong style for a traditional style house, give careful consideration as to whether or not a bi-folding door is in keeping with your house. There are uPVC systems that replicate a timber door that features a foiled woodgrain and period hardware if you really have your heart set on bi-folds.
Because bi-folds open up the home privacy & shade will also need careful consideration. One way of combating these issues is with the addition of integral blinds which are actually housed between the glass panes. This type of blind means that there is no need for curtains, external blinds or obscured glass. Most people opt for integral blinds as the Bi-folds are a focal point of the room. Integral blinds will also prevent heat loss making the bifold patio doors more thermally efficient which is important when choosing any double glazed windows and doors for your home.
Before considering Bi-fold doors give a thought to their position and how much use they will get due to the climate here in the UK. We tend to install more sliding patio doors in Cornwall than Bi-folds mostly due to the expense of Bifolds and the lack of use they would get due to the weather and not using the garden area as much for entertaining.
A set of Bifolds need to be installed with absolute precision in order for them to work properly, choose a qualified installer that understands the importance, and how to adjust them correctly for them to work as they should and continue to work properly for years after installation. The glazing also needs to be the correct safety glass and installed correctly to prevent the units from dropping over time. Keeping the track clean to allow free running of the guide wheels is a task for the homeowner to undertake on a regular basis to ensure that the wheels do not jam.
Disadvantages of Bi-Folds
Although they are fantastic during the summer months when entertaining guests in the comfort of your home or simply to get some air flowing through the house, however, for most of the year they will be shut. When shut in the closed position the mullions will obstruct the view, as a mullion is on average 125mm the more openers you have the less view you will have when they are not open. If you want to enjoy the scenery outside we strongly recommend a set of sliding patio doors that will have less framework to prevent you from enjoying the views.
Panel sizes up to 1200mm wide are average for bi-folds, not ideal if you want to create large scenic panels, sliding patio doors would be the better option. A maximum width Bifold door also takes up a lot of the opening as well as room either inside the room or outside when stacked in the open position. The bigger the door set, means more door panels, also more framework and a larger stack.
If the Bifolds will be your only means of entrance to the rear of your house then consider that some doors only open or lock from the inside, this is not great if it is the only door at the back of your house. Check with your supplier/installer if the Bi-folds you are considering can be opened as a single door from the outside if they will be the only means of access to the rear of the property.
In comparison to sliding patio doors and even French doors, Bi-folds are more expensive because more material is used during manufacture which affects prices vastly.
Tips for choosing The Right Bifold Doors.
Always choose a professional (preferably local) Windows company to supply and install Bifold doors, you will get better value for money with a local company and a better installation and after service than using a builder, get more than one quote, three is advised to compare the cost.
Choose a door range that suits the style of your property as well as matching your windows, most Bifold doors are contemporary in style and would not match a traditional style house, decent installers will offer free guidance on the right style for you and your home. During a consultation is a good time to discuss cost, security, the most suitable material, discuss all of the details with each other before placing an order. This will put your mind at rest, and help you get the best value for money.
A less expensive option for Bifold doors is to choose PVCu rather than Aluminium, the downfall to this is that the frames are considerably thicker on uPVC Bifold doors.
Summary about buying new patio doors.
Throughout this article, we have looked at the different types of sliding doors that you could consider when looking for a Patio Door, these include French Doors & Bifolds. There are a lot of variables that affect which doors would be best suited to your exacting needs and the style of your home such as cost, security & material.
The position of the door has a bearing on the type of door we would recommend to our customers, for instance, if it were south-facing, we would not advise choosing uPVC Bi-folds.
uPVC patio doors are a cost-effective way of installing a set of functional sliding doors, however, if you are looking for the biggest amount of glass to enjoy the views, the latest automatic doors or wide and tall doors spanning large areas, we would recommend Aluminium.
uPVC doors are less expensive than Aluminium, however, the lower cost comes at a price to the homeowner. uPVC doors have thicker frames so there is less glass area, whilst this may not be an issue with patio doors, or French doors, it is recommended that Bifolds should be aluminium.
Contact Us For A Free Quote
If you are planning a project for your home and would like more information about choosing any of our products, or any type of window or door or types of patio sets in our range supply & install or supply only, Best Glaze LTD offer free impartial advice on the various material options available to you, and patio door installation cost.
We deal with a wide range of top-quality manufacturers to get the best product and value for our customers. Choose different designs from the comfort of your own home. We will advise you on the best material and get a cost that suits you from our patio door manufacturer. Contact us via the website 24/7.
Whats the difference between French doors & Patio Doors?
The difference between French doors and patio doors is mainly the way that they open. French doors are a pair of hinged openers that open either inwards or outwards. A patio door is a sliding door that slides along a track which makes a sliding patio door perfect for conservatories, openings onto balconies or decks or rooms with limited space because sliding patio doors slide behind another fixed door within the frame and do not encroach on the rooms space.
Best patio doors uPVC or Aluminium?
Both have their own benefits. Aluminium patio doors are lightweight, have a sleeker frame and can span across wider openings and painted in any RAL colour to suit your home. uPVC is cost-effective, low maintenance and hard-wearing – Perfect for family homes with lots of traffic. Because Aluminium frames are thinner and stronger, bigger glass panels are possible, perfect for those wanting to enjoy the scenery.
How do I protect my patio doors from burglars?
Modern manufacturing and design mean that you do not need to add anything extra to make your windows or doors burglar-proof, we only supply goods that offer the best security for our customers.