The new SAPA Crown Patio Door

SAPA Building Systems have launched the new Crown patio door system which is a direct replacement for the industry leading Monaframe Patio door available in two, three and four pane configurations.

For those familiar with the Monaframe system, this was arguably the finest residential aluminium patio door system on the market and led the way for well over 20 years. SAPA have had to modify the product due to the 1st October changes in the building regulations and whilst the new Crown patio visually has similar sight lines there have been some inevitable changes and omissions on the current product compared to the favoured original.

The profile sizes have had to increase due to the profiles now having a polyamide thermal break instead of the previous resin/pour and cut variety.

Front to back dimensions have increased from 96mm to 120mm on the head, 96 to 118mm on the jambs and 161 to 139mm on the cill. The interlock is now 51mm on the face.  I forsee situations where this incresed frame depth will result in some additional work being required to the internal finishes of profiles.  I dont believe this is an error on the part of SAPA, more what they had to do to the profiles to achieve the Energy Rating required to meet the building regs.

The significant change from the original Monaframe patio is that the system is no longer manufactured around the glass.  Very good news indeed for the fabricator, the trade supplier, the installer and now simple unglazed frames can be taken to site.  The door is beaded on three sides of each pane meaning that the glass is part shuffle glazed into the pocket opening and then beaded in the normal way.

Aluminium profiles are extruded from aluminium alloy 6063 or 6060 T6 complying with the recommendations of BS EN 755-9:2001. Polyester powder coat finishes are available to BS EN 12206-1:2004 in a wide range of colours. Anodised finish is to BS 3987 Grade AA25 etch silver. The major benefit now is that due to the polyamide, the patio is now available in either single or dual colour powder coated options.  A must for today’s modern installations.  Colours available are White, Black, White/Black, Silver Anodised, Single colour powder coated and Dual colour powder coated.

Weatherstripping is a woven pile internally and externally, set in undercut grooves in the frame. The thermal barrier is achieved using two polyamide extrusions separating the internal and external faces. Frame members are square cut and shouldered (where necessary). Joints are secured using stainless self tapping screws into screw ports extruded into the profile. The thermal barrier section is achieved using two separate aluminium extrusions and polyamide extrusions mechanically jointed to form a single compound profile.

Crown Patio Doors can meet and surpass the area weighted average U values stipulated in Part L of the Building Regulations. Lower U-values can be achieved using double glazed units with enhanced thermal insulation, such as ‘soft coat’ low emissivity glass, argon gas filling and thermally enhanced spacer bar. The patio meets parts L1B of the buiding regs for existing dwellings with a unit centre pane value of 1.0, 1.1 or 1.2.

Panels slide on adjustable stainless steel tandem rollers. Panels are locked using a multipoint lock with 6 hooks into a full length keep. Both lock and keep are mild steel zinc plated to give corrosion resistance of Grade 4 in accordance with BS EN 1670. Handles and panel stops are zinc die castings.

Glazing

Double glazed units of 24mm, 28mm and 32mm can be accommodated.Drainage meets the requirements of “Ventilated and Drained Glazing System”, as specified in BS6262. Glass is set against extruded self adhesive Nitrile rubber gaskets retained in the aluminium sash profile for security. Final retention of the glass is achieved by the application of a co-extruded PVCu / Nitrile wedge gasket between the inner face of the glass and the bead.

The performance specification is impressive with the Crown Patio meeting UK exposure category 1200.

Water Tightness Air Permeability Wind Resistance is Class 7A (300 Pascals) Class 2 (300 Pascals) Class A2 (800 Pascals)

The new crown patio has had the size limitations increased over the old system.

2 pane patios:
Maximum height = 2500mm Minimum height = 1830mm

Maximum width = 3230mm

Minimum width = 1530mm

3 Pane patios:

Maximum height = 2500mm

Maximum width = 4810mm

Minimum width = 2260mm

4 Pane

Maximum height = 2500mm

Maximum width = 6408mm

Minimum width = 3009mm

Max weight per sliding panel = 80Kg.

There is a six point locking system now, the previous shootbolt locking has been superceded and all doors come as standard with a high security euro cylinder available in silver or chrome. Anti-lift blocks are now standard across the range.

The handle arrangement differs greatly from the previous Monaframe with a more contemporary handle being fitted and now available in White, Silver, Polished Steel and Polished Gold.  Some might find the lever used to activate the multi-point locking slightly on the small side but it is definitely a more contemporary and attractive handle.

A major change  is the new trickle vent arrangement.  Gone is the old hood vent at the top of the entire door, there is now a trickle vent which internally looks like any typical window vent to the inside of the rail on the fixed panel.  Externally there is a grille/mesh arrangement which appears to be the only solution bearing in mind the sliding leaf now has to slide in front of the trickle vent.  Some may consider it untidy or attractive especially with the fixing of the outer grille.

At present there appears to be no midrail (or midrail/letterplate availablity) which is an oversight presently, bearing in mind how many thousands of these patios over the years have been installed in Porch arrangements acting as a main entrances to a dwelling swith the patio door having a midrail and a letterplate.  I hope they will introduce one soon.

Another omission currently from the patio is a suitable coupling arrangement to enable the patio to meet window and door systems or indeed conservatory roof systems.  The problem could be overcome with commercially available T, H or Z sections to close off the back of the profiles, however  SAPA will no doubt introduce a coupling arrangement to integrate the Crown patio with the rest of their product range soon.

Finally, there is no hardwood subframe option with this patio door system and therefore anyone familiar with the old ‘woodfix” patio may struggle to find an alternative. Certainly, the feedback from the trade is that there has to be this option.

Pricing is higher than the original Monaframe patio door but understandably so due to the polyamide and the differing sections.  SAPA do have quite a hefty minimum paint charge on single and dual colour options, meaning that if you have a small contract with coloured patio, resi doors and windows the trade would be hit with quite a lot of paint surcharges.  On the other hand however, the aluminium industry is familiar with minimum paint surcharges.

Visually it is not that much different from the original.  Some would say having glazing beads on three sides of the pane only looks a bit odd, however on a two pane this is quite symmetrical on the opposite pane of a 2pane patio. The inner gasket looks thicker than before too.  One frustrating feature of the patio is the clip in sections at the jamb, which if you tap them, do rattle, however fabricator feedback to SAPA may resolve this in the future.  Installers may choose to silicone seal these in.  On the version I saw also, the back of the section at the head where it met the door stop had become dented and damaged.  Again this needs addressing as homeowners are bound to pick up on this.

In summary, the new Crown patio is a  good product which is already selling very well, however it will be very easy to continuously make comparisons against the original Monaframe patio. Some may consider it nowhere near as good however that is an unfair comparison to improve on a massively successful original concept within the confines of also meeting the requirements of the new building regulations.  The beaded arrangement is an excellent improvement  – one which will assist installers in site calls to replace broken units without having to take the whole door apart and easier supply to the trade as an unglazed product.

SAPA are an excellent systems with a very good reputation and I really do hope they listen to fabricator feedback on the new Crown Patio.  Equally,  feel free to comment on this posting.

Deliveries of this product have only just started to hit the market in fabricated form, so pictures of installations to follow soon.

Comments

  1. Eamon Durkan says

    I had a set of patio doors installed (two panes – one sliding). The quality of the units is generally very good. However, there is a strange design detail where the front face of the interlock has an extra moulding (10.5mm deeper) than the fixed vertical frame on the wall side of the unit. I presume that this is to enable the unit to meet the new thermal standards. In your paragraph five, above, you say: “I forsee situations where this increased frame depth will result in some additional work being required to the internal finishes of profiles.” Our doors demonstrate the truth of your statement. The interlock projects forward by 10.5mm deeper into the room than the with of the head and the cill. The result is that the top of the interlock projection, of 10.5mm, has to be cut back to allow the whole frame to fit into the head and the cill. This is where the design problem arises: The head must have a cut out to allow the whole frame to be slid into the head (with enought clearance for the bottom of the frame to clear the cill and drop down into place). Therefor, the machining of interlock must be carried out such that there is a bare “cut face” section of interlock at the top and bottom. On our unit the cut out at the top extends down 25mm (from the head), and the bottom cut out extends up 20mm from the cill (leaving two unsightly raw faces). The solution that sapa have come up with is to provide two BLACK, L shaped, cover plates, which are secured by sliding them into the top and bottom frames. They look awful. I can understand that there must be a raw cut at the head (see above), but there is no reason for a raw cut at the cill. All the units are made to measure, and it should be possible to machine the lower end of the interlock so that it fits snug on the face of the bottom cill. Our units (we also have a new set of hinged doors leading to the terrace) were fitted back in January this year. We have spent the past four months trying to get our suppliers (Total Installations) to address this design flaw with sapa, but all to no avail. By the way, the hinged door set has also proved problematic. The opening side of the set (the one with the lock on it) is warped out towards the top. Even when the secure locking catches are set to “pull” the door closed, into the slots on the passive side, the problem persists(moisture penetration and the whistle of the wind through the gap at the top). Also, the master side of the set is not provided with shoot bolts. This means that we cannot have the passive side open (by its self), because the active side will blow about in the wind; which can be quit strong (we live on the tenth floor!).

    • admin says

      Thank you for your feedback. I think what has happened in recent years is that the freedom to design a good product has largely been taken away by the need to now meet particular energy ratings. Performance seems to come first before good design or good aesthetics! The old Monaframe Patio door, was a hugely successful product in the marketplace for a great number of years and as you will probably be aware, changes came to the Building Regs in october last year which meant that window and door systems companies had to bring out new products to meet these ratings.

      It is not an easy process carrying out simulations, tests etc to arrive at a product which will meet an A, B or C rating and many companies have had to invest substantial amounts of money to re-design products due to changes in legislation. There is an argument here reading all the other comments that SAPA probably have got this product a bit wrong but I just wanted you as the end user to be aware that many product systems companies really have their hands tied in wishing a product could look and perform in a certain way, but being unable to achieve this due to it not being thermally efficient enough and not meeeting the ratings.

      I have known Total Installations for many years and can vouch for them as an excellent company in this industry and would echo the other comment made that they are definately doing their best for you based upon what SAPA is doing for them.
      Hope the problem gets resolved.
      Regards

    • Gordon says

      I had a set of 4 Crown Sapa doors (2 centre doors opening) fitted late spring 2011. The gaskets on the sliding doors have popped out and the gaskets throughout present an unevev sight line.
      The clip iin trims are popping out.
      There is also a free movement of up to 20mm when the doors are locked and unless centred this allows draught and noise through the interlock seals and must surely compromise the security of the doors,

  2. David Chase says

    Had exactly the same bad experience with SAPA Crown Patio doors. I am told that SAPA are adressing the problem. I believe that these doors were rushed into the markeplace in order to meet the new building regs and there is to be a revised product come out but naturally this doesnt help your situation.
    We are based in Chichester and we have had problems with the SAPA Crown patio coming off its track! Really concerning when the customer rang us to say the door leaf had nearly fallen in on him (maybe an exaggeration) but upon going to inspect, he was right. The rollers just dont seem to sit “deep” enough on the track and there is a genuine risk the slider can come off. Anyone else had this experience?
    Also, there are clip-fit sections compared to the old monaframe patio and sometimes when you open the door up against the stop, the clip-fit pops out.
    I am sorry you have had the problems you’ve had. Total Installations i know as a company and they are very good. Ultimately all us fabricators who dont extrude our own systems but buy in from companies such as SAPA are reliant upon the technical and product support they give us and sometimes problems cannot be resolved to everyones satisfaction.

    With regard to your Entrance door, I too dont think much of the product – there are other doors out there in the marketplace and again I feel it has been rushed to meet last years 1st october changes to the building regs. I really do hope SAPA get their act together. It does not look good for its fabricator base.
    Regards
    David

  3. James says

    SAPA have got it so wrong with this product, such a shame when there is no comparison between this patio and the monaframe. Maybe there isn’t supposed to be but we installed the new crown patio to his extension where he has the old doors fitted elsewhere in the house and the end user is so unhappy with this product. Great shame despite our best efforts.
    We won’t manufacture their resi-door. I don’t really want to criticise Sapa too much but there are better products out there at the moment.
    Best of luck. Most of us in this business are reputable double glazing companies and i really don’t want you to feel like Total Installations have let you down. I guarantee you they can only do for you as much as they can without relying on help from SAPA
    James

  4. Eamon Durkan says

    Thanks to you all for the feedback on the sapa Crown doors (sliding and hinged). David asked if others have experienced the sliding door coming off its track. Yes; it happened to our door. When, subsequent to the original fitting of the door (back in January), Ross Henry, from Total Installations, came to inspect and discuss the various faults and queries that had arisen:
    1) two double glazed units (out of four) with marks and scratches in the inside faces (both units subsequently replaced);
    2) the omission of cutouts, for fitting trickle vents in the frame of the French doors (subsequently the top frame of the doors were removed – on site – and taken back to the workshop and the slots for the vents cut, and the vents refitted. Unfortunately the vents do not match the sapa one in the sliding door, and one of the screws, securing the top frame, in one of the doors was not replaced);
    3) our query about the design of the cutouts in the fixed frame of the sliding door (subject still under discussion);
    4) problems with the clip-fit cover plate on the threshold of the sliding door popping out if stepped on. David also mentioned the problem with the clip fit sectionions popping out. So far; four of the sections on our sliding door have popped out. I have managed to re-set three of them, but I can’t manage the one over the opening.
    Going back to the door jumping off its track: when Ross was inspectingthe various faults and queries that we had raised, he opened the sliding door, which promptly jumped off the track. I did not place much importance on this at the time, because the fitters (not from Total Installations, but from “You choose” – whom we had engaged as agents in the search for good quality units, and reliable suppliers) had not yet fully completed the fitting of either of our door sets (because of the faults and queries mentioned above), and had said that they would look at the problem of the “jumping” door when they returned to complete. It now seems that the “jumping” door is generic to the Crown design. With the lack of progress on other fronts (see above), the “You choose” fitters have not yet returned ( twenty weeks later, and still counting).
    “You choose” who are acting as our agents have said that I must take matters up with Ross at Total Installations. Ross does not seem to be engaging with the totality of the problems (including the warped frame and omission of shoot bolts on one of the French doors), see my previous posting above.
    We seemed to have reached an impass with our agent and suppliers, and must now go directly to sapa to attempt to get a job (which back in January, we were told, would take two days – from the delivery of the units – to complete) sorted out.

    Eamon

  5. edjames says

    I think the issue of the double glazed units is in no way the fault of total installations. The vast majority of double glazing companies buy their glass in from other manufacturers in the supply chain, therefore if there are marks this is down to manufacture. I think it would be a good idea to get a post put up on this site about marks in units and what is perceived as acceptable/not acceptable in the industry. What consumers need to bear in mind is that double glazing units have changed so much over the years where previously it was simple untreated, uncoated glass.

    Nowadays there are so many coatings and more applied to double glazed units that it is difficult to achieve these without some element of “swirl” marks in the manufacturing process which are even more visible in the morning sun. But Total should be able to advise you further in accordance with the GGF guidelines or other industry standard.

    On the matter of your SAPA patios. Its a hard one to comment on with the issues you raise. I believe if there is a problem with a product it is up to the company you placed the order with to sort. As you will be aware now double glazing companies offer a product from various “systems” companies like SAPA, Smarts, etc and if there is a problem with the product which is not a manufacturing or installation fault then SAPA should get involved. In the case of your doors SAPA would have manufactured kits, either cut to size or for Total to cut down and these would have been assembled/manufactured in the factory at Total which is totally normal.

    I do have a couple of additional questions though if i may?
    How did you end up using a middle man like YouChoose? I have to admit i’d not heard of them until i read your post and have been reading their website. Any particular reason why you didnt go direct to one of your local companies? Just curious really.

    Who did you place the actual order with for your doors? YouChoose or Total?
    Kind Regards
    Ed James

    • admin says

      Thanks for all the comments.

      A post on double glazed units is on its way, however I’d like to get the facts accurate on this beforehand as its a subject which I know causes installation companies a lot of difficulty when the end user claims he can see marks between the glass, yet the guidelines, installer etc say its “within tolerance” or “to standards”.

      Therefore, once all the facts from fiction have been sorted a post will go up.
      Regards

  6. gary says

    Does anyone know if the problems identified with the new SAPA Crown patio doors have been resolved ? I’m thinking of having some new Crown patio doors fitted to my house but having read the thread I’m having second thoughts. thanks.

    • admin says

      Sapa have now resolved all the issues with the first version of the crown patio door and the improvements are noticeable. Please let me know if you need any contacts for prices/installation.

      • gary says

        Many thanks for replying. It’s reassuring to know that the issues have been addressed with noticeable improvements. I’m looking to get a 2-3 quotes, so contact details for installers in the SW London/Surrey area would be appreciated.

        • admin says

          Hi Gary
          I looked at some further detail this week and no there are still some quality and operational issues which in my point of view give cause for concern. I have also spoken to a couple of other established SAPA fabricators who report that presently, they will not use the SAPA Crown Patio Door until it is back up to speed and have moved to the Smarts or Beaufort Product. Apologies for any confusion. I’ll be honest and say its been a good six months since I last worked with the product and during this time it was my understanding that the issues had been resolved but like I say, in speaking to the fabricators it would appear this is not the case. Let me know if i can help further.
          Nick

          • Susie says

            Hi

            I was just about to order a 4.3m 4 panel run of Crown sliding doors and came across this article. I would also be interested in knowing whether Sapa have sorted out the issues mentioned above to date. If not I have competitive quotes for Beaufort so might go with that instead.

            Many thanks

            Susie

          • admin says

            Thank you for your comment. Present issues aside, I would go for the Beaufort Door – its a superior patio in my view compared to the Crown even if SAPA didn’t have the issues mentioned. Obviously the best person to give you the latest on the SAPA product is your installer and I’m assuming they offer in their product range both options?
            The Beaufort is a very good patio door indeed.

  7. John says

    We had 3 sets of sliders plus 2 sets of french doors installed just under 12 mths ago. Every one of the problems listed has been shown. AGS (Devon) are here again this time to replace all the vertical interlocks on the fixed and sliding sections with revised profiles that have an additional box section to add more rigidity and hopefully prevent bowing and general lack of sealing on 2500mm high units. AGS say SAPA consider these to be special extra cost sections not normally needed. AGS are standing the additional cost.

    • admin says

      AGS are not incorrect in what they say, however some fabricators I know are offering the heavy duty interlock as standard. AGS have done nothing wrong I’m sure and the improved interlock should help with the issue. Please let me know if you need any assistance.
      Regards
      Nick

  8. admin says

    Since writing this article over a year ago, SAPA Building Systems have massively improved this product and introduced some significant enhancements too. These improvements address all the issues of the original product and this website would have no hesitation in recommending it. Further articles will follow soon on the improvements and the new products.

  9. Anonymous says

    With the Sapa Crown Sliding Doors should there be any noise between the upright centre section through the brush seals?

  10. Nigel says

    Should there be any noise heard between the centre uprights on the Crown Sliding Door system through the brush seals

    • admin says

      Thanks for your comment. The product is not “soundproof” it really depends on the noise transmission. It may be worth getting your installer back to check that the panels are adjusted and aligned correctly and making good connection with the brush seal.

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