Slim sliding patio doors are becoming very popular for home renovations and new extensions. There are other terms for patio doors such as sliding doors, glass sliding doors or contemporary sliding patio doors. A sliding door is just a good as a bifold in a modern home. If you are trying to decide between a sliding or a folding door we offer some advice.
One of the features homeowners may be looking for in a slimmer sliding patio door is narrow sight lines. These narrow sight lines can consist of the overall appearance of a sliding door such as the size of the outer frame and the sliding door profiles. The other detail is the interlock. The interlock is the central mullion where one sliding door meets the other in the closed position.
Are slim sliding patio doors better?
There are many different types of sliding door on the market. There are the more standardised sliding doors from the leading systems companies. These are available from two panel patio doors, up to multi-panel arrangements. They also come as inline sliding doors or lift and slide doors.
Then there is the higher end (and substantially more expensive) ultra-slim sliding doors from SAPA’s Artline, Schuco Panorama Design, Slimline doors from IQ Glass, Uni Slide from Fenster Fabrications and many others. These often require a specialist installation and are quite complex products. Some of these doors offer central interlocks as thin as 17mm which is remarkably slim for a sliding door.
With the more mainstream aluminium systems, there have been changes to existing products to slim them down. Smart Systems have their Visoglide sliding door offering a 35mm interlock. AluK has also done the same with their door, the BSC94 inline slider, a 45mm slimmer sight line. We have also seen drawings of a forthcoming sliding door from Origin that promises a very compact interlock compared to other doors.
So how important is a slimline sliding door and the slim profile as well as a thin interlock? Is the shift to thinner sliding doors a reaction to customer demand?
Slim sliding patio doors are different doors, not better doors.
Just like a bifold, a sliding door is designed to span large apertures. The one feature that a sliding door has, not found in a bifold, is the substantially larger glass panels. Sliding door panels are invariably wider than any bifold. As a result the distance between the vertical sections is greater and the visible aluminium farther apart.
Our view is that slim interlocks are attractive but are more relevant on a smaller door. A two panel sliding door can arguably call for a thinner interlock and one that is less prominent when it is quite narrow. An example is a sliding door replacing French Doors. The interlock becomes less important the bigger the doors are and the more panels, such as a three, four or even six panel door.
On the larger sliding doors we have seen with bigger sight lines but greater spacings, the difference between a slim and a more standard sized vertical section is not that great. See the doors installed and glazed and it is hard to tell the difference in many cases.
The Dutemann Glide-S, for example, is possible at 6.7 metres wide with just two sliding panels. A thin interlock on a sliding door of this impressive width is not a huge factor. Dutemann doors have interlocks starting at 47mm which is perfectly adequate as well.
In choosing a sliding door, there should be as much focus on the appearance of the whole product not just one area of it. The sliding action, how the door feels in use, the quality and appearance of the door handles, the finish and the glazing are all equally important as well.
Air sliding doors. Contemporary doors in a modern home extension.
One example of a current generation contemporary sliding door used in a very desirable style of glazed extension is the air 500 LS or 600LS sliding door. It is the only sliding door on the market with a 25-year guarantee as well.
Sight lines of air doors are slim for a sliding door with a choice of interlock available. Everglade even produces a specialist sliding door, designed for those projects where ultra wide and tall doors are necessary.
The air sliding doors shown are 7 metres in width each and 2300mm high. These large sliding doors feature glass at over 200kg per panel, yet the doors, their square aesthetic and their design we think works with this new extension. At these large sizes, a slimmer door may not necessarily be the better door.
It is also worth highlighting how well the air doors with their square flat profiles blend in well with the grey aluminium roof bar found in the glass roof. This creates a matching aesthetic and modern box appearance. Slim sliding patio doors may not have had the same effect, as good as they may be.
A sliding door that may not be the thinnest on the market or does not have the slimmest interlock is just as good as the slimline alternatives. Stresses govern size limits on doors from wind loadings, deflection on the profiles and other significant factors. These are all taken into account when designing a sliding door as part of the overall project. With many of the slimline systems, you may find they are restricted as to how tall they can go, because a thinner profile or interlock may not be as strong as a thicker one.
If you are looking for a latest generation aluminium sliding door, or slim sliding patio doors there is much choice. The modern sliding door is very advanced compared to old patio doors with simple locks and handles or fitted in hardwood subframes.
Contact us if you would like advice about sliding doors, inline or lift and slide as well as the products mentioned in this article.