How weather resistant are frameless glass doors?

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Nick Dardalis

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One of the key expectations with a new bifolding door is that it should be weather resistant. The door market consists of many different bifolding door products made of PVCu, timber or aluminium. Then there are the frameless bifolding doors often compared to the regular full-framed aluminium bifold.

picture of frameless glass doors.
Are frameless glass doors weather resistant with so much glass and so little frame?

Frameless doors such as those by Frameless Glass Curtains, promoting their lack of visible framing but how do these doors stay weather resistant?

If you are comparing standard aluminium bifolds to frameless glass bifolding doors you may be thinking that a predominantly all-glass door, can’t be weather resistant and sealed?

Weatherproofing on frameless bifolding doors.

Bifolding doors are designed to open in or out, slide to the left and to the right. Frameless glass doors also have these features as well as the advantage of panels that slide and hinge independently rather than being concertina type doors, connected by their door hinges.

A conventional all-aluminium door uses a combination of design, engineering and components to provide air, wind and water resistance. If you then look at a regular single or double entrance door, weather resistance is much easier to achieve. This is because you have less frame, a rebate all around and, on French doors, the facility to apply a rebated mullion as well.

schuco bifold door in open position.
Aluminium bifolding doors rely on four gaskets inside and out that compress to keep the meeting doors sealed.

A bifolding door will still use many of the principles found on a hinged door; however weather performance needs to be more sophisticated because of the number of panels that butt up together when the doors are closed. There is already a rebate provided to the perimeter frame and the threshold, but how do the connecting panels remain weather resistant?

The answer is sophisticated gaskets that are designed to seal the door effectively with good compression when the doors are closed. Quality gaskets, the right tolerance gaps between the doors and correct installation all work together to keep doors sealed. In addition, drainage is provided to the threshold of the door meaning should any way penetrate the seals, it falls to the threshold and drains away to the outside.

As a result, aluminium bifolding doors meet the current standards for air, wind and water resistant measured in Pascals.

How are frameless bifolding doors kept weather resistant?

A frameless door features its own weather protection system to ensure doors that are predominantly glass remain sealed where the doors meet in the middle. The outer frame already provides the rebates found on an aluminium bifold, but frameless bifolding doors do not have the flush bolt locks found on the intermediate doors that also help keep the door panels sealed because they are locked shut and tight.

Frameless Glass Curtains use a unique design. They are engineered to ensure each intermediate panel is locked secure, but at the same time, weather resistant. Just like a conventional bifolds, frameless bifolds still meet British and EU standards for air permeability, water-tightness and wind resistance. Specifically these are:

only a gasket between the doors. other doors rely on aluminium or plastic profile.
Only a gasket between the doors that still ensures a highly weather resistant glass folding door.
  • BS EN 1026:2000 for Air Permeability
  • BS EN 1027:2000 for Water Tightness
  • BS EN 12211:2000 for Wind Resistance
  • BS EN 1279-2: for Moisture Penetration in Insulating Glass Units
  • and PAS 24:2012 for Enhanced Security

In the middle of the doors, a highly sophisticated grey PVC bubble gasket is located on each vertical edge of the connecting doors. This gasket has exceptional weather resistance and compression properties. When the frameless door leaf is closed, the gasket compresses with the adjoining one to provide superior weather performance as well as an uninterrupted sight line and no visible mullion.

So if you are wondering if a frameless glass door has less weather resistance than a conventional aluminium bifold, the answer is no!

Even though doors like the Frameless Glass Curtain from FGC has no visible mullion and no capping pieces found on other doors marketed as frameless, they are independently tested to meet the very latest weather performance standards. They also keep your home dry and secure.

If you would like more information about the technical and performance aspects of frameless bifolding or frameless glass doors, please contact us.

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16:42 30 Oct 23
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07:03 11 Sep 23
Update - A second email to nick for help on bifolds resulted in a detailed informative reply even on a Sunday ! This guy is so knowledgable and helpful .I approached Nick for an independent view on sliding doors v bifold and the different brand options . His reply was extremely detailed and prompt and allowed me to navigate this often confusing world in a much more informed way . Thanks so much Nick
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