7 Reasons why aluminium doors are best for shops

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Nick Dardalis

Fitting a front door or shopfront to commercial premises is a very different proposition to fitting residential doors.  Whilst it is understandable that the small business owner would contact their local double glazing firm in the first instance, they could be creating a significant problem for themselves.  That being said it is difficult for the small business owner to make sure that they are fitting the correct product, and complying with relevant legislation; such as building regs.

This article is going to explain why we believe that aluminium doors for shops is the right solution; and also explain why uPVC doors may not be appropriate.

aluminium doors in a shop entrance
Whatever your business, aluminium doors give you long life, flexibility and ease of use.

Why residential doors and windows are not suitable for shops.

There is good reason why doors fitted in homes and doors fitted in commercial premises are different.  There is also good reason why experienced double glazing firms will not sell you doors that are also fitted in our homes.  But don’t just take our word for it.  Next time you are in any high street, retail park, school or hospital, look at the external doors and you will see that these will mostly be made of aluminium.

To most buildings that are not dwellings and buildings are that are correctly designed and specified, it is an aluminium door you will most often see fitted.  But it is not only large chains, shopping centres and retail parks that benefit from aluminium doors, even small shops such as newsagents, hairdressers, small stores and many more should consider aluminium doors that are fit for purpose. Here is why:

Aluminium doors are designed for high traffic.

commercial aluminium doors in a restaurant
Busy restaurants with high traffic need a reliable and safe entrance door.

Consider how many times you use your front door at home. Even if you have a large family your front door may be opened and closed twenty or thirty times a day.  Now consider the people that will pass through the door of not just a busy high street chain store, but also a privately owned shop. If you operate any kind of business that serves the public, you will have substantially more people passing through your door.

The local double glazing firm that is quoting for a standard residential or domestic entrance door is quoting you for a product that is simply not designed for high traffic use. Whilst the PVCu door can easily be fitted and will work, the hardware that is fitted to typical doors we find in our homes is simply not designed for high traffic use.

Aluminium door hardware is designed for heavy use and large numbers of people.

pvcu door on a shop - bad example
This is an excellent example of a pvcu door with impractical handle and one that will be unreliable in the short term.

Let us take the lever handle with multi point locking fitted to most modern doors in our homes that we are all familiar with.  This handle will normally consist of a lever handle inside and out that we lift up to lock the door.  In a domestic setting these types of locks are ideal and what they were designed for.  However when these types of doors are fitted to any kind of shop in a matter of weeks you will find the lever handle dropping, the door being difficult to lock and often dropping, bowing or needing adjustment.

This is not the hardware that is not fit for purpose but merely that it is not designed to stand up to the heavy demands placed on a domestic quality entrance door in a heavy duty shop environment.

Some double glazing firms will attempt to beef up a typical domestic door by fitting additional hinges and some will fit two hinges at the top of the door instead of one in an attempt to make the door stronger in some way.  This does not work longer term.  Where PVCu doors are fitted to shops, these are subject to ongoing service calls because the hardware persistently fails or falls out of adjustment.

Aluminium doors give shops more options and greater customer convenience.

entrance doors
Aluminium doors can open in or out as well as in and out

Domestic entrance doors are only designed to open in or out.  Aluminium doors to shops are designed to open in or out as well as in and out.  Again it is correct design and correct hardware that enables doors to perform more functions than a typical PVCu door.  You may want to give your customers the flexibility of pushing or pulling open a door and it is the concealed closers provided on aluminium doors that give you flexibility in how the door opens.

Very importantly aluminium doors that open in and out can be changed as often as need to only open one way throughout the life of the door.  This cannot be done with any kind of PVCu door and if you want to change the opening action of a plastic door, the entire door and frame needs changing.

Aluminium doors are flexible and versatile.

fire exit doors provide the final escape route out of a building.  they must be easy to operate and require no prior knowledge of how they open.
Fire exit doors provide the final escape route out of a building. They must be easy to operate and require no prior knowledge of how they open.

Perhaps you own a shop such as a jewellers or other shop dealing with money, high value goods or a shop where you need to have control over who gains access to you premises.  Aluminium doors can be provided with access control, fire exit systems, buzz entry systems, swipe cards, key pads or simple push to open handles.  Whatever your premises, whatever your requirements you are guaranteed that there is hardware available to perform exactly the right function.

Additionally aluminium doors provide flexibility should your needs change.  Perhaps you are embarking on a renovation of your shop and are changing colours.  Simple changes to your aluminium doors enable you to change the handles to a different colour, change the locking systems by only replacing one component and not an entire door.  With specialist on site powder coating services you can even change the colour of your shopfront without a complete replacement.

Even better if you opt for an aluminium door to your shop you have the option of making it open either manually or automatically.  This is an excellent way to cater for both able bodied and disabled people at the same time.

Aluminium doors provide valuable safety features

door with anti finger trap
An Anti-Finger Trap Stile is essential on doors used by children

In schools and other areas where children are using doors, aluminium doors can be fitted with safety features to protect children, the elderly and to prevent injury generally.  One such feature is the “anti-finger trap”.  On many commercial doors you will find an anti finger trap fitted to the hinge side of a door that protect fingers from being trapped in the door as it closes.  For any responsible shop owner an anti finger trap gives you peace of mind.

Whilst it is not a legal requirement it is good working practice to now fit shops to any public building with some form of anti finger trap device.

Aluminium doors for shops can help stay on the right side of the law

If you own any kind of shop or provide any kind of service to the public, are you aware of your legal obligations.  With current legislation in force you have a responsibility if you operate any kind of business serving the public . Aluminium doors provided with the correct hardware enable you to provide entrance doors that are compliant with current Building Regulations and the Equalities Act.

Aluminium doors provide decades of service

The hardware, handles and overall design of aluminium doors is such that shop doors can provide decades of reliable service.  It is well known that some doors fitted with quality door closers have been in operation for 30 years in some cases and are still providing reliable service with only minimal routine servicing.  There are no PVCu doors fitted in shops that have lasted anywhere near this length of time.

Therefore, whilst an aluminium door will be more expensive than a PVCu door you will benefit from long life, minimal service calls and warranty work, increased customer convenience and provide doors that are easier to use for the disabled.