Aluk vs Origin Bifold Doors – who wins?

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Nick Dardalis

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Both the Aluk and Origin range of bifolding doors provide reliable, functional and attractive doors for any property renovation project. Aluk doors are well-priced, stylish and a well-known brand. Origin bifolds come with more personalisation options and slimmer sightlines. So which one is best?

aluk vs origin article showing aluk grey bifolds in a cafe

Why compare Aluk vs Origin bifolding doors?

Budget is obviously an important consideration for anyone buying bifolding doors, and when comparing Aluk vs Origin, you’ll find the Aluk BSF70 product is usually cheaper, but both brands are aimed at the mid-market.

 Schuco is another brand people frequently compare with Origin and Aluk, and you can find out more if you’re interested in our article comparing Origin and Schuco bifolding doors.

People also ask about the quality differences between Aluk and Origin bifolds. Origin makes its products in its own factory and does not use independent fabricators. So it’s no surprise that the quality control aspects of the Origin product are more consistent.

Aluk bifold doors are manufactured by independent fabricators. Of course, Aluk take care to ensure that the product is manufactured to the correct specifications; there can be variations. Bear in mind, though, that nobody sets out to make a bad door.

A good installer selling Aluk products should not shy away from telling you who makes your door. And there are many excellent Aluk manufacturers around the UK, with Duration in Essex being one and Arkay in Watford, another. In the North of England, Alufold Direct is a long-established Aluk manufacturer also producing excellent quality products.

aluk vs origin showing origin aluminium steel look doors in a bifold design
An example of Origin’s standard slim bifolding door product with applied bars only.

What’s the after-sales service like when comparing Aluk vs Origin bifold doors?

It is natural to want to save money, but budget is not always the deciding factor.

As we often say, there are no bad bifolds on the market and who makes the best comes down to many factors. Any Bi-folding door will meet or exceed the current standards for weathering, security, aluminium quality and the paint finish.  Certainly, some systems are better designed and better engineered than their competitors.

Moreover, some of the hardware options, such as locks and handles, are of superior quality on some of the most expensive systems.  The way they can be manufactured can be different.  For example, some doors will use quite basic joints in their construction, and others will use a more sophisticated or heavier duty method. The basic joint doesn’t make a bad door when both types of jointing often pass the same tests.

By comparing the overall quality of a few different bifolding door systems, you will almost certainly spot the similarities and differences.  Technical details aside, you will most likely make a choice based on the look and feel of the doors and what just feels right for your home.

So, if the systems are all of a comparable standard, what are the differentiating factors?  Is the choice down to price and after-sales service?

Understanding the Bi-Folding Door supply chain.

In the case of Origin, they control the supply of the product.  Origin design and manufacture their Bi-Folding doors and provide the finished product to a network of approved installers.

AluK doors (and the majority of other systems) are supplied by the systems companies in bar length to manufacturers.  Some manufacturers only make one system, while others manufacture a variety of bi-folding doors.  It is not uncommon to see manufacturers offering Smarts, AluK, Schuco or Reynaers so as to provide the widest choice.

Many different fabricators can manufacture the AluK door or even sell it directly to the installer via a trade counter.

The systems company approves these manufacturers and ensures that their staff are suitably trained, with tooling provided.  The systems companies usually support their network of fabricators very well. Examples include making them aware of updates to their products through technical bulletins.

Systems companies can only offer limited after-sales service on bifolding doors.

With a vast network of fabricators buying bar length aluminium, hardware and accessories, it is hard to see how a systems company can offer an after-sales service to end-users. The reality is they probably can’t in the same way that a direct manufacturer can.

A systems company has no idea who has purchased their doors. They only know which fabricator has bought their bar length material.  So how does this affect the end-user customer?

So does the quality of an AluK bifolding suffer as a result?

aluk vs origin bifolding doors by duration windows
AluK doors when well made and properly installed should be reliable for many years.

The answer is no.  AluK are a reputable (global) company with vast experience in designing bifolding doors, windows, entrance doors, sliding doors, curtain walling and much more besides.  Of their fabricators, some are better than others or longer established.  Doors from each particular systems company are made as per their technical manuals. The systems company is there to support the fabricator to ensure that their doors are properly made and correctly installed. Their reputation depends on it.

A further complication arises as some manufacturers choose to enhance the basic AluK door with their own handles.  Some decide to source the hardware elsewhere to save money on fabrication. Others do it to make their door visually different from every else’s AluK door.  Some then choose to rebrand the Aluk door under an entirely different name as well.

Also, the smaller components, such as screws and rivets that are used on doors, can easily be sourced more cheaply than from the systems company.   It is worth stressing that these items in themselves do not make for an inferior product as long as the right types are used as specified in the technical manual.

Let’s also mention the bifolding door systems with a very long and established reputation and a perceived or actual ‘high-end’ brand. Examples include Reynaers and Schuco. These two systems companies market their brand to discerning and high-value customers. Both Reynaers and Schuco operate a business model of supplying bar length to their manufacturers that operate in the same way as AluK does.

So which company offers the better after-sales service?

If a systems company can manufacture a bi-folding door that is fabricated properly and installed correctly, they are unlikely to get many phone calls from customers.

Origin offers a 20-year guarantee because they can.  They are in control of their product from design to installation.  It’s logical that a company in control of its supply chain is better positioned to offer customers a level of after-care directly or through their dealers. 

AluK has a different route to market, so they have less control. But that does not mean that their product is inferior. They rely much more on their manufacturers to make it right.

In an ideal world, there is no reason why an AluK door could not come with a 20-year guarantee.  Hypothetically a 20-year guarantee could be provided conditional upon all components being sourced from the systems company, the door made and signed off as such, with no alternative source of supply of any components, including the powder coating of the product.

In fairness, this would be a nightmare to enforce.

Does it matter where your bifolding door comes from?

The after-sales service you’ll receive from an AluK door provider will be what they choose to provide, and typically, this is a ten-year guarantee that most reputable window companies offer.

This probably highlights the need to be confident in your choice of installer.  AluK will stand 100% behind their product if they are satisfied that it has been correctly made and installed.  This might not be the case if it transpires that an installer or fabricator has cut corners to save costs.

Aluk vs Origin – conclusion and find a local installer

Both Aluk and Origin bifolding doors are excellent products, well-designed and made. The choice you make between these two doors depends on your budget and styling choices. Origin has a slimmer model with the OB-49. Aluk has different-looking hardware with the internal pop-out T handles, allowing the doors to stack neater. Aluk doors can be made in larger sizes and they have excellent thermal and acoustic credentials.

You can get in touch for more information about Aluk vs Origin bifolds, details of local installers near you as well as other folding sliding door brands and systems.

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