How to fit aluminium sliding patio doors

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Nick Dardalis

How you fit aluminium sliding patio doors depends on a number of factors. The type and size of the doors, their intended location and even your property all play a part.

Sliding doors are different in how they are installed compared to bifolding doors, French Doors or a new front door.  They also pose an entirely new set of challenges for an installer. Here’s some information about how to fit aluminium sliding patio doors.

How to fit aluminium sliding patio doors depending on the product

fit aluminium sliding patio doors in a new extension

There are many different sliding door systems.  There are simple two panel doors that are easy to fit, right up to six panel door sets and sophisticated minimalist and frameless sliding doors.  Every product is different in its construction and how it is gets delivered ready to fit.

Most door systems are designed to be supplied unglazed with the glass supplied loose. Unglazed doors are fitted first and glazed after. Larger doors may be structured around the glass arriving at your home as glazed panels in the aluminium.

A trained installer will be familiar with the different site conditions and what will be involved in fitting your new large sliding doors perfectly.  We take a look at some of the installation issues you are likely to encounter.

Why the patio door you buy affects it’s installation

The product determines how you fit aluminium sliding patio doors. Thin profile sliding doors in a minimal design are usually made around the glass and therefore handled as fully glazed doors.

The standard range of patio doors made without the glass, fitted and glazed on site are usually much simpler to install as the glass is handled separately.

Smaller sliders are naturally easier to handle but the larger you go the more complex the handling and installation. Professional installers use several methods when they fit aluminium sliding patio doors in order to make the process easier.

  • Extra labour may be needed to move and handle your doors
  • They may use specialist contractors and equipment to handle large glass panes
  • Deliveries may come direct to your home to minimise handling
  • The location of your doors can also affect what’s available for you to buy

Fitting sliding patio doors above ground floor level.

With many of us living in flats and apartments, older properties lend themselves well to having new sliding doors fitted.  However, installing a sliding door above ground floor level can require careful planning.  Sliding doors are bigger than regular doors and windows.

If your building has a lift, this will provide your installer convenience for taking tools, accessories, loose aluminium profiles and smaller items to your property.

The glass panels on sliding doors can be double the width of a French door or a bifolding door.  This glass may have to be taken using the stairs and will need careful handling. Your installer may have to allow for additional people just to offload and move the glass.

Some installers will prefer to use the services of a specialist glass handling and transport company.  Cranes or cherry pickers are available that lift the glass up to your property. Extra costs will be incurred, and the necessary Health and Safety procedures for safe handling and working will need to be strictly adhered to.

How your installer will fit aluminium sliding patio doors on building sites

If your property is in a new development and away from the main parking areas, in a city centre with no parking zones or other restrictions, special arrangements will need to be made.

You may require local authority consent for company vans to be given time to offload in no-stopping zones or be given designated parking permits.  In some cases, your street may be temporarily closed off to accept delivery of your sliding doors and glass if they are to be taken to your top floor apartment.

A good installer will already knowledgeable in the planning needed to fit aluminium sliding patio doors in new developments or building sites. They’ll have the necessary systems in place, pre-planning deliveries, access and installation.

Assembling aluminium sliding patio doors at your house

If your new sliding doors are the type that requires site assembly and glazing your installers will need an area of your home to work in and correctly assemble the frame and the track.   If your doors are in excess of five metres wide, most window company vans cannot accommodate these.  Therefore specialist transport companies will need to be employed.

If you live in a high-level property, assembling the doors can pose an even bigger challenge for the installer if there is a small balcony.  Understandably your installer may need to use the inside of your home as site conditions dictate.

A new aluminium sliding door will transform your home and is a very good investment. However, sliding doors are bigger, use heavier glass and require a different method of transportation, assembly and fitting. Your installer will want to work closely with you to ensure minimal disruption to you and a simplified installation for them.

A good installer should have all the knowledge and tools needed to fit aluminium sliding patio doors. You can also expect your property and any restrictions it may have to prevent you having certain products if they can’t be handled correctly.

Using a crane to lift your new sliding doors

With more and more of us going for grand sliding doors at the largest possible sizes, handling these doors becomes a specialist task. For the larger products, installers may outsource the lifting and handling of the doors to a specialist contractor.

These tasks are only for professional installers and usually the process is seamless, if more expensive. However, even the best-laid plans can go wrong when a set of sliding doors tipped a crane.

Summary and more information

Our advice is always to seek the services of a professional installer competent, confident and experienced in handling aluminium sliding patio doors of all types. So do your research, bearing in mind a professional installer may charge you more, but there’s usually a good reason why.