The Alumina Bifolding Door Review

In this first Alumina bifolding door review, we take a look at the features, options and benefits of Liniar’s latest bifolding door in aluminium.  We also tell you what other brands Alumina can be considered against as well as focusing on its features you will not find on other aluminium bifolds or door and window systems on the market.

Liniar, one of the best known PVCu systems companies in the UK is behind the Alumina bifolding door. When we first saw the product, we liked its different aesthetics and the overall new concept. Here is what we can tell you about Alumina bi folding doors and whether you should consider buying them.

alumina bifolding door review

Alumina bifolding door review.  What is Alumina?

The Alumina bifold is an all aluminium bifolding door with a polyamide thermal break. It has all the strength, quality and craftsmanship associated with a well-designed aluminium bifolding door. Alumina folding doors have the pedigree that is behind Liniar’s broader range of PVCu windows, doors and home improvement products.

With Alumina, Liniar sought to shift from the similarities found in many aluminium bifolds. The first shift from traditional aluminium bifolds is the sculptured line of the product. The second is the warm-to-the-touch exterior. This is thanks to another new feature by Alumina – a foiled aluminium bifolding door.  Door aesthetics are subjective, however, the Alumina is a very good looking bifold.

There are other features and options that we cover in this Alumina bifolding door review.

Alumina profiles and configurations.

The core frame components with Alumina comprise ABF091 Outer Frame and ABF092 door sash. These are the only two major frames available, both with a sculptured detail.

The six glazing beads available are square, sculptured, chamfered to suit both 28mm double glazed units, 36mm and 40mm triple glazed units. Added to these are a cill and several threshold options.

The profiles enable single doors, French doors and two to seven panel folding doors. As you would expect, doors open in or out, slide in one or two directions and feature a traffic door.

The frame head and bottom for the doors, without a cill measures 125mm.  The meeting stiles are 156mm. For doors with a trickle vent there are three options:

  • A trickle vent through the sash (although this will need them to every sash to avoid a clash when the doors fold).
  • A 30mm frame extension at the head.
  • An optional Head Vent section.

Alumina comes with five different threshold options. These include a weather rated low threshold – something few bifolds provide. It also meets disability requirements (Equality Act, BS8300 and Part M of the Building Regulations).  The low threshold option provides a great solution for homeowners especially.  Other major brands stipulate no weather performance or internal use only. You can use a low threshold Alumina bifold inside or as an external bifold door.

Alumina sizes and specifications.

Alumina doors come in sash sizes of 1200mm wide and 2500mm high. The maximum width is 6 metres overall.

For those wanting small doors for roof terraces, commercial shopfronts and other uses, the smallest height is 1850mm with the smallest door leaf being 700mm.

The benefits of foils on an aluminium bifold.

Powder coating remains the most common method of colouring aluminium, but foils have other advantages. The foiling of PVCu windows creates some stunning finishes.  Foils also feature on some of the most expensive and luxurious PVCu windows and timber-look products. The advantages are a better appearance a longer life on the surface.

  • Foiling aluminium creates a warm-feel bifold’.
  • A foiled aluminium bifold feels different to the touch.
  • Foiled aluminium enables a woodgrain finish.
  • Foiled aluminium bifolds like Alumina are not subject to very long lead times.
  • You can even have plain colour foils with aluminium, just like PVCu .
  • Foiled versions of Alumina are supplied with a matching PVCu bead – making them easier to install and further enhancing thermal efficiency.

Therefore, with a product like Alumina that is the only foiled aluminium bifolding door on the market colour choice as well as texture is available, not to mention a very appealing wood effect bifolding door.

If a homeowner desires wood effect outside and a plain colour inside, the lead times with other aluminium systems are very excessive.  The few systems companies supplying bar length profile to their manufacturers can quote up to six weeks or more just to deliver the material.  This can push a delivery date for other aluminium bifolds up to 10 weeks or more.  So a foiled Alumina does offer an advantage to those customers wanting a dual colour bifold without the wait.

Finally, you should get a bigger choice of woodgrain with a foiled product than a sublimated versions.  If you have not seen a foiled aluminium bifolding door before, it is worth checking out. Contact us and we can put you in touch with some showrooms where you can view Alumina bifold doors.

Alumina bifolds match with PVCu windows.

Despite the popularity of aluminium compared to five or even ten years ago, PVCu remains the dominant replacement window in the UK. For value, energy efficiency, ease of installation and simplicity, PVCu is best for many. Homeowners who replaced their old windows with new PVCu in recent years are perfectly happy with their purchase, expecting their new windows to last a long time – as indeed they should.

Following the installation of new pvcu windows, it is also likely that a homeowner may consider the building a new extension to incorporate bifolding doors, or to replace their old sliding doors with a new bifold.  There are some homeowners who love their new aluminium bifold so much they want to replace their PVCu windows with aluminium.  The reality is the cost can often be prohibitive. Alumina does the reverse in matching a new door to their existing PVCu windows.

Alumina is different again in that while it is entirely fit for purpose as a stand-alone bifold, it is also a great product for matching the sculptured appearance of Liniar and colour of other PVCu windows. It is also a great addition to the many thousands of homeowners that have Liniar PVCu windows in their homes.

  •  PVCu products with an aluminium bifold.,
  • The exact same colour process throughout the home.
  • The same sculptured appearance to match PVCu windows.
  • There are even matching colour silicones and window trims.

black alumina bifolds

Why a PVCu glazing bead on Alumina bifolding doors matters.

Updated in 2019, Alumina bifolds and residential alumina doors come with the option of an aluminium or upvc glazing bead. The main benefits of a upvc bead is for installers.  More flexible, easier, less risk of marking the aluminium and faster to glaze a door. The PVCu bead is also more flexible making glazing substantially faster too.

For homeowners the benefit is a neater looking door. This is because all aluminium windows and doors use an additional wedge gasket.  As well as keeping the glass in place, wedge gaskets go inside the door. With many aluminium systems only when the internal wedge gaskets is taken out, can the door glass come out. The obvious benefit is security with not being able to remove the beads.

The PVCu bead option with Alumina doors also has this great safety feature.  However, as it comes with a gasket extruded with the bead, there is no need for the additional wedge gasket. As a result, the door looks much neater at the glass line compared to other doors.

Even better is the full colour matching with the aluminium even though the materials and the colouring process are entirely different. Finally, if you already have the outstanding PVCu liniar windows, your aesthetics match at the bead line and on the bifold.

Cost savings when you buy Alumina.

Because Alumina matches Liniar PVCu windows, there are cost savings to be had when working out budgets. It is usual to have new aluminium windows to match bifolding doors.  The main reason is colour matching and a similar visual appearance.

What Alumina offers is the facility to save money by having Liniar PVCu windows, cheaper than any aluminium window. As a result, you save money by having PVCu yet still having the same colour thanks to foils and a matching appearance.

Products matched with an Alumina Bifold.

The complete home solution will be appealing to many homeowners as well as being a selling proposition to installers. Liniar with Alumina has become the first door and window systems company to offer a full suite of fully matching products for any home.  And by full suite we mean:

  • Conservatory and Lantern Roof
  • Casement Windows
  • Sliding Doors
  • Front Doors
  • Flush sash timber-look windows
  • Single doors and French doors.
  • Residential and composite doors
  • Soffits, fascia boards and trims
  • PVCu Decking and fencing

Comparing Alumina with Origin and Visofold.

It makes sense in this Alumina bifolding door review to compare the door with two other bifold door brands.  We chose Origin and Smart Systems’ Visofold 1000.  There are other doors to compare Alumina with such as AluK, Schuco or Reynaers. We chose Origin and Smarts Visofold because these also come in a wood effect finish, although not foiled.  Sunflex bifolding doors also come in woodgrain but are more expensive than these brands. For foiled bifolding doors, Liniar foil all their own extrusions, where many use external suppliers.

 Origin OB-72 Alumina Visofold 1000
Product Guarantee 20 years 10 years 10 years
Who makes the door. Origin Liniar & Approved manufacturers Approved manufacturers
Product Availability Origin Dealers Exclusive Liniar-Approved Widely Available
System Company Quality Perception Excellent Excellent Good
Bifolding door sight line at the door mullions 154mm 156mm 132mm
Matches the same brand window No Yes No
Woodgrain Finish Four Colours 7 stocked foil colours (both sides)
6 (external face only).
Virtually any foil colour, subject to lead times.
Four Colours
Deep bottom rail option No No Yes
Anti-finger trap feature Standard Standard Standard
Traffic Door Option Yes Yes Yes
Maximum panel size 1200×3000 1200×2500 1200×2500
Secured by Design PAS24 only Yes PAS24 only
Threshold Options Two Three including Part M Two
Weather rated low threshold No Yes No
Glass Options Double or Triple Glazed Double or Triple
Glazed
Double or Triple Glazed
Typical Double Glazed U-Value 1.6Wm2K 1.5Wm2K 1.5Wm2K
Matching single or French Doors Yes Yes Yes

Alumina offers better thermal efficiency than many of the other bifolds on the market when glazed with standard specification thermally efficient units. Typically these achieve 1.6-1.8Wm2K.

Hardware and Security features of Alumina bifolding doors.

bifolding door profile

Alumina offers discreet hinges, great security features and even folding keys to prevent damage to the frame when doors are opened with the key still in the lock. Study the hinges of the Alumina bifold carefully and you will notice the intermediate door handles are integrated with the hinges.  This gives an uncluttered look to the door and a neater appearance.

Another great feature of Alumina is the facility to fit a door restrictor. This gives an element of door control to the independent traffic door.  The restrictor works with  French doors within a four or six panel bifold too, holding the door open at 90 degrees.

Alumina comes with the choice of white, black gold and chrome rollers, the latter looking very eye-catching with matching hinges and handles.  Handle colours are the same as the roller colours but also include a dark chrome option.

With Alumina the locking hardware is what you would expect from a highly-engineered product.  You get bi-directional locking points, shoot bolts that engage into the head and track and anti-lift feature.  There are anti-bump cylinders available as well as optional anti-snap as well.

The locking system from Alumina has won a Queens Award for Enterprise in 2017.  Called ModLok™, this patented locking system provides both a lock and a thermal insert. ModLok™ has a high strength polymer lock body, meaning the lock is also a thermal break.  No other aluminium bifold features this locking system.

Bifolding Door Security.

We must also mention that Alumina is tested to the stringent PAS24 and carries Secured by Design (SBD) accreditation as well. You have to be very careful with claims over SBD and whether the license for the product exists as a number of doors don’t have the accreditation or hold the license.  Alumina bifolds are also Part Q of the Building Regulations Compliant.

Finally, for the door cylinders, Alumina doors come with the option of standard or folding keys.  You also get the choice of keyed alike cylinders. This is useful where you have more than one bifold on a project and want the same key to unlock any of them. Finally, you can order extra folding key blanks to cut extra keys.  All cylinders are anti-bump.

How good is the Alumina bifolding door?

The great thing about the current and mature bifolding door market, the calibre of aluminium designers and the broad range of product standards and certification is that there is no ‘bad’ bifolding door on the market. As long as a fabricator makes any bifolding door as the systems company intends and it is correctly installed by a competent installer, they’re good products. This makes the job of reviewing a product harder when all products today are designed to high standards.  Therefore, what we do is look at the features that made a door stand out.

But where bifolding doors will differ is in their engineering, their components, the range of colours and specifications.  Homeowners doing their research around bifolding doors will see many repetitive messages around security, U-Values, weather performance and quality. This is true of many quality bifolds and Alumina is no different. It is secure, weather resistant, well designed and comes from a company with immense knowledge in the design of windows and doors.

In this Alumina bifolding door review, we see similar specifications against other leading brands of aluminium folding doors there is no reason not to consider this door with them. In fact, Alumina offers some features the others do not. With seven stocked foil colours for both sides of the door, six colours for the outside face only on dual colour, colour options are certainly a great feature of Alumina bifolds.  Liniar also foils their own profiles as well.

alumina single door

Reasons to consider Alumina bifolding doors.

Alumina Bifolding Door

Advantages

Considerations

A sculptured product matching PVCu windows Door leaves don’t go as tall as other systems
Five threshold options & weather rated low threshold Not as slimline as other brands
The door restrictor and folding keys a great idea.
More woodgrain options than Origin or Visofold
Foils much easier than paint to repair in case of damage
It is a Liniar product – excellent quality and design.
Can save money on a building project by
matching cheaper PVCu windows
Very attractive polished gold and chrome door hardware

Summary and Conclusion.

We hope our Alumina bifolding door review explains more about this new aluminium bifolding door. Some systems such as Schuco bifolds, Reynaers or Sunflex are designed to be flat in appearance. The best selling bifolds such as Smart Systems Visofold, AluK and Origin are softer in aesthetic. Ultimately it is the customer that chooses the door they like. There is no reason not to consider Alumina alongside these other brands.

Alumina does go further with more handle options, more door configurations, more hinges and roller options than other systems. What you also get with an Alumina bifold are more threshold options and a weather-rated low threshold too.  Unlike most bi-folding doors available on the market, the threshold choices with Alumina provides five threshold options.  Even better is that all of these come with severe weather-rating.

Finally, with the option of foils, you get a greater choice of colour and texture than other doors on the market offering just RAL colours.  If you’ve not seen the foiled finish, it is worth looking at.  Alumina will appeal to those homeowners happy to choose a quality Liniar PVCu window but understand the benefits of an aluminium bifold.  Visually Alumina is very different, as well as being everything you expect from a quality, engineered aluminium bifold with a bit more thrown in.

alumina residential doors
The Alumina front door using bifold door profiles and a combination of both aluminium and PVCu

Update 2019

This review from 2017 is updated to reflect improvements in the product. Additionally, Alumina bifolding doors are available to installers from Liniar on 10 day lead times for standard colours and foils.

Since this article was written, Liniar has also made further enhancements including an Alumina foiled residential door using both a combination of aluminium and PVCu. Contact us for further information and where to buy Alumina bifolding doors.