With the recent move to their new premises in Chepstow, AluK is a dominant and strong brand in the UK market. One of their latest products is the AluK Luminia F82 Bifolding Door. We take a look at it.
What is the AluK Luminia F82 Bifolding Door?
AluK’s new Luminia F82 bifolding door follows the recent trend for slimmer, better looking and more feature-packed bifolding doors. The folding door market is very mature now, and until recently bifolding doors did not have much in the way of competition. By that, we mean homeowners desired a bifolding door and didn’t consider that today’s generation of sliding doors could offer a better product in the home as well. There are also far more bifolding doors available to homeowners, with at least forty names to choose from.
What AluK has done with their new bifold is concentrated on aesthetics, better-looking hardware and a focused effort to make this door appeal to those wanting a more premium product. We expect to see AluK busy working on increasing awareness of their products in the consumer market. Origin does this the best, closely followed by Reynaers.
Where to buy the new AluK bifolding door.
AluK’s mainstream products, loved by builders and the broader trade market you will see promoted under the Optio brand name. There have been significant improvements to some of their systems, and some have stayed the same. The Luminia F82 bifold door falls under is premium product offering. As well as Luminia, you will see the Infinium range of products intended for the high-end market. Both Luminia and Infinium will be available via select AluK partners.
A partner or dealer network is a good thing when the brand is strong – again Origin being a great example. Where systems companies like Aluk could struggle is streamlining the dealer network to benefit the consumer.
The buying process for a door like an Origin product is simple and the brand message to the homeowner is clear. You go to an Origin dealer with prominent Origin branding in their showroom. They then buy the fabricated door from Origin. Origin is big on marketing, big on helping their dealers with their showrooms, big on training.
The AluK method of supply is different as AluK provides bar length and accessories to a nationwide network of fabricators. Even if these fabricators are specially selected (and AluK do have some very experienced manufacturers in their network), the homeowner arguably doesn’t have the clarity of who makes their door like they do with Origin, Sunflex, Sunfold, Air doors and others.
Features of the AluK Luminia F82 bifolding door.
The stand out feature of the new Luminia F82 bifold is how it looks. AluK has followed the trend of bringing out a slimline bifolding door with door mullion sight lines of just 122mm. Their existing BSF70 is 140mm. For those comparing bifolding door sight lines, this new bifold is up there with the Schuco ASS70 FD, the air 800LS, Reynaers CF77 and Senior’s Alifold doors. AluK has gone one better with the Luminia bifolding offering consistent sight lines around the door. Both frame and cill sightlines are of 97mm. It is a great feature, and it looks very nice indeed.
With the Luminia F82 bifold, you also get:
- A more attractive slimline appearance than other doors.
- Distinctive hardware, many unique to the product.
- Great specifications.
- Fewer aluminium components.
- Low U-Values at just 1.3WmK depending on the glass specification.
AluK’s new bifold also has reliable, compact and slim stainless steel rollers giving a smooth feel as it slides and folds along its track. You get a choice of hardware and the flush pop out T-Handle, instantly identifying a door as an AluK, has been slimmed down, redesigned and looks very seamless in a slave door.
As with any well-designed bifold you can expect certain features as standard such as traffic doors, opening in or our, anti-finger trap gaskets and a low threshold option.
How good is the Aluk F82 bifold?
Any well-made and correctly installed door is going to be reliable. AluK does have much experience in designing doors and windows. This door is designed to be easy to make and easy to fit.
It is clear from seeing the door that the components are quite sophisticated. The shoot bolt mechanisms, hug the corner of the door leaf snugly. The hinges and rollers are attractive in themselves. AluK has designed this door well. In the square profiled version, the Luminia F82 is a handsome bifold door.
Aesthetics are essential to homeowners, and in many cases over and above security, weather tests and performance. Customers read the same messages across everyone’s doors today, so they expect them to be secure, have low U-Values and not leak. It is how they look that is important.
With the contemporary hardware, the flush nature of the handles, the pretty traffic door handle and greater symmetry than other doors, we think homeowners will like it. It is all about bifolding door aesthetics in today’s market. That said, it is also about the marketing and brand perception when Origin still has a mostly unchanged door for over ten years.
Options available with AluK’s Luminia F82 Bifold Door.
As well as the to be expected, excellent choice of colour and double or triple glazing, AluK’s new bifold offers the following options to homeowners.
- Single and French doors using the same profiles.
- The choice of square or chamfered frames and glazing beads.
- Up to 44mm glazing thickness easily accommodating integral blinds and triple glass.
- The option of internal or external glazing (good for commercial installations).
- Anodised aluminium finishes. Available in a range of opening configurations
- Door leaves up to 2500mm high but can go up to 3000mm subject to approval.
- 1200mm door widths.
- The option of a high insulation version of the product using thermal inserts.
What we think of the AluK Lumina F82 folding door.
We saw this door at the 2017 FiT Show, and it looked impressive. It is down to AluK to market the door to the end user, so they ask for it by name and encourage their huge fabricator base to make it. AluK designs some excellent systems but also has a ‘builders favourite’ perception to overcome.
Go to any bifolding door showroom with a range of doors on display and other brands are perceived and sold as more premium. Installers like the existing AluK Optio BSF70 bifold. It is reliable, widely available and well priced. However, many up-sell against it offering other brand names considered more premium. The Lumina F82 should help retain the customer to the AluK brand.
The reality is as well, that many installers buy-in and fit AluK windows and residential doors but offer an alternative brand of bifold. Hopefully, the new Luminia F82 is attractive enough to retain the customer to the AluK brand when looking for a complete installation of windows and bifolding doors.
The AluK F82 bifold is a great upgrade from the BSF70 model. You will find the sashes are slimmer, the doors go wider and taller as well. Installers say it is easier to glaze compared to the BSF70.
AluK GB Ltd now operates from a new 350,000ft2 South Wales headquarters that is hugely impressive, demonstrating its strong position in the UK market. There has been a multi-million-pound investment in new premises, new production lines, a powder coating plant, R&D Facility and even a training academy. All this comes with a new product strategy for the trade and residential market, of which the Luminia F82 bifold plays a big part. See the product; it is a good bifolding door.
Image courtesy of resources.aluk.co.uk.