What are the Benefits of Aluminium for Bifolding Doors, Sliding Doors, Front Doors and Windows?
Aluminium Doors and Windows have really gained popularity in the last couple of decades. For a long time people have had the perception that Aluminium was only available in one colour, that of silver, these being used more on commercial buildings rather than residential properties.
Now with new developments in manufacturing, fabrication and coatings, Aluminium Doors and Windows have come on in leaps and bounds over the last few years. Now Aluminium is slimmer, more thermally efficient and comes in a nearly unlimited amount of colours.
As you will read in the below comparison of Aluminium, UPVC & Wood for doors and windows, Aluminium has a great deal of advantages over the other materials in strength, resilience and colours.
What are the main advantages of Aluminium over PVC & Wood?
Profile & Strength
Aluminium is the strongest of these materials and because of this aluminium products, such as bifolding, sliding doors or windows, can be manufactured with a lighter and slimmer frame profile, which allows for extremely large expanses of glass allowing more light into the property.
The strength of aluminium as a material for frames ensures they remain resistant to flex, twist, expansion and contraction with heat variation. A further benefit of the metal’s strength is that it can be used to manufacture bifolding doors for corner posts or for bay windows, which timber and UPVC simply wouldn’t be strong enough to do.
Timber strength can vary dramatically as each door or window is engineered, which means it is made up of a number of different pieces of wood which are glued together with polyurethane. Engineered timber is much stronger but, despite this, even engineered timber can be prone to warping if the frames absorb too much moisture or are exposed to strong sunlight for a long time leading to leaking gasket issues with thermal efficiency.
UPVC doors offer a similar strength to timber and, as with timber doors, UPVC can warp when exposed to extreme weather conditions. When large UPVC frames are used, such as with folding doors, heat variations can cause the material to expand and contract, which can make the doors difficult to open, fold and close.
Resilience to elements & longevity
Aluminium has a high resistance to the outside elements, with long lasting colour finishes and even wood effect finishes. These will last sometimes 20-30 years and give you the natural beauty without the maintenance hassles. UPVC or PVCU has a tendency to discolour and has a life span of around 15-20 years, although after 4-5 years it can begin to look somewhat tired. With its added strength, Aluminium is much less likely to warp or rot as a result, nor is it likely to dent easily due to its high strength-to-weight ratio.
Aluminium doors and windows require the least maintenance by far when compared to timber and UPVC. Aluminium can be kept in top condition with very little maintenance, just a wipe with a damp cloth when needed and a regular check to ensure the track is kept free from grit and small stones to ensure the doors and windows continue to run smoothly. Doors and Windows are powder coated and will not corrode, discolour, rot or warp and are resistant to fading in sunlight, they require no repainting and will maintain their colour indefinitely.
Timber doors are the most demanding when it comes to maintenance as they can look weathered over time, especially if they are in the sunshine for longer. The timber will need repainting every few years to maintain its beauty and to ensure the doors and windows are fully sealed to prevent moisture from seeping into the wood.
UPVC doors and windows are relatively low maintenance too but UPVC does tend to look worn more quickly than aluminium, which maintains its aesthetics, and timber, which can be repainted if it starts to look tired.
Although the type of glass installed in bifolding, sliding doors and windows has a huge impact on how thermally efficient they are, the frames also play their part.
Traditionally, aluminium frames have been associated with poor thermal efficiency as the metal is a natural conductor rather than an insulator. However, many aluminium bifolds feature a polyamide thermal break. This break separates the aluminium frame into interior and exterior pieces, joining the frame together with a less conductive material which resists thermal transfer from the outside face of the doors through the living area inside. This break acts as a thermal barrier, reducing the flow of thermal energy through the aluminium.
Timber has a typical U Value for folding doors, but in cold weather, timber doors are prone to contracting, which can cause minute gaps in between seals and can allow drafts to creep into the home, making it feel cooler. UPVC of all the materials generally has the lowest level of thermal efficiency, coming in just slightly behind timber.
For many people, the deciding factor of which bifold doors to purchase comes down to how they look and the material the doors are made from is a key decision when it comes to style.
Aluminium frames provide the perfect surface for powder coating; a solvent free powder which is applied to the metal at high temperature to provide an even, highly durable finish. As well as standard finishes, such as metallic and wood grain, you can choose from over 150 RAL colour finishes, ranging from colours to more subtle pastel and muted shades. Different powder coated finishes can be applied to each side of the frame, to match the interior and exterior style of your home.
Another key advantage of aluminium when it comes to style is that no other material offers the sleek finish of aluminium bifold doors, as the frames are exceptionally narrow, without compromising strength, guaranteeing you the best view of your garden.
For many people, timber is the ultimate aesthetic choice for windows and doors, particularly in period properties as timber is naturally very beautiful and can be finished with a choice of stains or colours. Although timber can be treated with different finishes, it can’t be given a powder coated coloured finish. Timber does show signs of wear and tear more readily and requires regular maintenance.
UPVC doors do not stack up well against timber and aluminium when it comes to style. The main downside of UPVC aesthetically is that it can look cheap and is particularly unflattering to period properties. One of the typical features of UPVC doors is the chunky frame, which on bifold doors needs to be wider than aluminium so there is enough plastic to support the glass, as a result the frames look bulky and even detract from the view. Ranges of coloured finished UPVC doors and windows are available but on the whole, white, grey, black and wood grain are the most commonly available colours.
Aluminium is infinitely recyclable. In fact, 70% of all aluminium ever produced is still in use today. Recycled aluminium uses just 5% of the total energy used to produce it from raw materials. This helps dramatically reduce its environmental impact.
Call Aluminium Frame Co on 0113 256 1974 today to see what we can do for you, or Visit our website for more information.