Smart Systems AluSpace Review

When it comes to the ever-popular steel look in aluminium, it’s fair to say Smart Systems Heritage range is one of the best and longest established. Whilst predominantly an exterior system, Smart’s Heritage products are widely used internally. Now there’s the new Smart Systems AluSpace – a dedicated interior steel look system. From studying the system manuals, this system is undoubtedly going to be as successful as the exterior system but in different ways. It’s excellent and highly recommended.

Here’s our review of the Smart Systems AluSpace product. Being new, we’ve only seen the technical and fabrication manuals up to now, but there’s enough to give both homeowners and the trade a comprehensive overview of the product. AluSpace joins Aluco and the OI30 door system designed and made by Origin, giving three comparable products on the market intended for internal use.

Some background information on Smart Systems AluSpace

smart systems aluspace door and new york screen in a kitchen

AluSpace internal doors and screens are developed by Smart Systems and made by their network of approved fabricators. This is different from Aluco, Crittall, the new Origin OI30 where only they make their products and sell them through an approved dealer network.

This new system is designed to provide a new aluminium solution to those wanting attractive, functional and the latest steel-look doors and screens. With slim profiles, the desirable multi-panel styling, the heritage glazing bars and an excellent choice of designer door hardware. AluSpace is designed to create the sought-after style, whilst at the same time letting light flow from room to room. Choose obscure glass and you also get privacy.

For anyone also getting the exterior range of windows by Smarts, there is some similar styling, making AluSpace an excellent complementary system.

Suitable for dwellings or commercial environments, Aluspace effectively divides spaces, provides some acoustic protection and creates highly attractive screens and doors, compared to timber or commercial

The aluminium profiles are produced in the UK and with it’s sleek and attractive design also comes simple fabrication for manufacturers and installation for retailers. As it’s an internal system, there’s hardly any maintenance needed and its lack of exposure to the elements should mean many years of great looks and reliability.

The styling of AluSpace Explained

Taking inspiration from steel windows, AluSpace comes with slim profiles, just 35mm deep and between 30mm and 34mm deep. It’s super slim.

The Heritage frame and sash profiles come with a step, typical of industrial or Art-Deco styling and with flat transoms and mullions creating the grid pattern. Each of these transoms is again slim at 33mm deep. The benefit of this is creating near-consistent sightlines where frames or door sashes meet the horizontal bars.

Smart Systems has also very cleverly designed some additional profiles designed to not only create the styling of steel but also cater for the various uses and the multiple possible configurations.

First of all is a 100mm vertical coupler designed to sit between frame profiles, typical of old steel doors. At the same time, this profile provides integrity and strength to the door or screen.

There’s also a smaller 6mm thick and 35mm wide horizontal coupler, for when horizontal modules need joining together.

With many New York-style screens fixed only to the one side of the wall and open on the other side, section INT250 closes off the exposed edge of the outer frame that would normally be fixed to a wall and finishes it off neatly, with a slight soft curve on each side.

Again looking to create the same kind of styling available on steel products, doors get the option of a 150mm deep bottom rail, (the standard is 51.5mm).

All the glazing beads holding the glass in place are square, keeping the similar styling on the other side of the frames.

Smart Systems AluSpace Door Types

The hinged doors are the most popular chosen in the steel look, and these come in single or double doors, opening in or out and with matching side or top panels.

We also have a slim sliding door model, designed just like the genuine steel article to hang from the track above rather than having the rollers at the bottom.

The pivot door is something not offered by Aluco and this product uses a top and bottom pivot where the door is hinged slightly off-centre from the side frame. The benefit of this is a more distinctive looking door when open and with a cleaner look at the hinged side.

The most recognisable feature of any steel door is the thicker plate behind the handles. All three door types come with this feature. Hinged and pivot doors have handles, sliding doors have a recessed flush pull handle.

How slim is Smart Systems AluSpace?

Aluspace provides super slim sightlines whether you choose a fixed screen, hinged, sliding or pivot door. Here are the sightlines you can expect with standard configurations.

Fixed Screen 30.5mm all round

Hinged Single Door, 63.5mm sides and top and 51.5mm at the door bottom. A single door with side panel has a 96.5mmm sightline overall where the door joins the screen.

Double doors are just 109.5mm where they meet in the middle.

Sliding doors are significantly slimmer than the usual exterior grade doors that would be used.

A single sliding door panel is just 38mm wide on the side frame – impossible with even the slimmest sliding doors on the market. Even at the top, this door beats other sliders with just 114mm overall sightline where the door hangs on its support at the top. And again slimmer than any exterior sliding door, the bottom of the sliding panel is only 35mm high as is the side.

The superb slim lines on the sliding model continue to the side dimension. Choose a sliding door on a double head, where one panel slides in front of the other, and this door set is only 100m deep at the head and 90mm deep at the bottom. Want sliding doors that slide apart? The middle dimension on the closed doors is 75mm.

For the pivot doors, you can expect the same outstanding design and slim lines. 40mm deep at the sides, 91mm at the top and 83mm at the bottom.

Whichever door type you go for, or internal screen, there’s no slimmer system on the market right now. There are only millimetres of difference between the sightlines of AluSpace and Aluco hinged doors depending on how you configure your doors.

Sizes available with AluSpace

Of course, Smart Systems AluSpace is designed to work with standard doorways. But for those wanting to use the system to divide a room, or as part of a new building project, here are the minimum and maximum sizes available with each for the door types:

Hinged Doors per leaf:

Minimum width, 400mm
Maximum width, 900mm
Maximum height, 2200mm

Sliding Doors per panel:

Minimum width, 400mm
Maximum width, 1200mm
Maximum height, 2500mm

Pivot Doors per leaf:

Minimum width, 400mm
Maximum width, 2000mm
Maximum height, 2500mm

For the fixed screens, it’s possible to create very small modules, right up to quite large screens. As with any window system, the sizes are determined by several factors such as loadings on the frame, glass weights and location. A qualified installer can advise where oversize windows and doors are required.

Glass options available with AluSpace

Smart Systems AluSpace is predominantly a single glazed system with glass available in 6mm, 8mm and 18mm thicknesses. It is possible to double glaze these doors, but only at a maximum of 18mm thickness.

With AluSpace being a product for internal use only, there’s obviously no need to insulation in the glass. Anyone wanting acoustic performance can get suitable acoustic units at the 18mm thickness.

All doors and screens will come with laminated or toughened safety glass as standard, depending on the glass type and how the installer chooses to provide the doors.

Hardware and handles for hinged, sliding and pivot doors

Smart Systems AluSpace comes with cleverly thought out hardware options for the doors, whether hinged sliding or pivoting.

Better than the options available with exterior doors used inside, you get an excellent range of period and contemporary door handles with Aluspace.

The colour choices are also extensive, available in Antique Brass, Satin Brass, Matt Bronze, Satin Chrome, Matt Black, Satin Chrome, Polished Chrome, Satin Nickel, Polished Nickel and Polished Brass.

All of these finishes, of course, work well with the matt black powder coated finish, most will choose with this collection of doors and screens.

Like Aluco, Smart Systems has also considered the types of locks to provide with Aluspace, bearing in mind where these doors are likely to be fitted.

You get the option of a lever/lever lock operating just a latch. For bathrooms and ensuites, there’s an internal thumbturn option operating a dedicated bathroom lock. Even the keys are in a traditional design.

Sliding and pivot doors come with the option of contemporary pull handles.

Double doors have hidden flush bolts on the secondary leaf for when these need to be opened with plates for fitting onto the finished floor for the bolts to locate into.

Smart Systems AluSpace – why we need better internal steel-look systems

smart systems aluspace room divider in a new build house
An exterior grade Smart Systems Heritage product used internally

As the trade is aware, it’s possible to use any exterior steel look door, window or screening system inside the home as many come with the option of a low or no threshold. And up to now, they’ve been widely accepted by homeowners, seeking the Art-Deco, heritage, industrial or Crittall® look.

However, as good as exterior products such as Alitherm Heritage, Aluk steel-look, Everglade’s aïrMOD, Reynaers SL38 and similar systems may be, they’re products designed for exterior doors. There are also numerous door brands simply putting aluminium bars on otherwise standard doors and selling these as steel look. And up to now, customers have been perfectly happy with them. And for interior doors, it’s possible to do these without the threshold found on the external doors.

The downside to using exterior products is, they come with compromises and several ‘features’ not needed for interior doors, windows or screens:

  • A thermal break
  • Multi-point locking and limited handle options
  • Double glazed units as most systems don’t offer a single glazed option
  • An exterior-grade sliding door when used internally
  • No options for sliding or pivot doors internally
  • All the seals and brushes used externally for sealing and weather performance

The new Smart Systems AluSpace product addresses all these limitations and provides the features well-designed interior systems truly need and up to now only brilliantly addressed by Aluco Aluminium with their interior range.

What steel styled interior systems are available?

To give some context to what’s available on the market, for interior systems. First of all, is the genuine Crittall® steel product that remains the absolute best for anyone wanting spectacular internal glazing and the genuine article. It looks the part, it’s made differently and it’s worth every penny of its very high price. And this is the issue – as desirable as it is, not everyone can afford Crittall® or steel.

In steel, you’ll also find several independent brands around the UK also having designed similar looking products to Crittall. You can get in touch for details of steel door and window providers. Then, there are some European systems too, providing aluminium products in this Scandi or Hygge styling.

Of course, dealing with an aluminium specialist (or getting in touch with us) it’s possible to create a good internal door, but for the reasons mentioned, only Aluco has the right product.

Fire-rated internal steel look

It’s worth mentioning that aluminium has no fire rating. Therefore if any level of fire protection is required for internal doors it has to be steel, and we’ve explained why this is the case.

For aluminium interior doors, the Aluco product remains one of the best. We know this system well and there’s nothing better for a genuine internal door and window system, designed from the outside for inside the home.

The quality, design, features and, most importantly, the door hardware that’s crucial for finishing off a door is absolutely spot on. Even better, Aluco doesn’t just extend to internal doors and windows. Wardrobe doors, shower screens, even doors for wine cellars are all perfectly possible.

How much does Aluspace cost?

In a matt black powder-coated finish with single glass, indicative prices supplied and fitted are:

Single steel look door, prices from £1400 plus VAT

Double doors with side panels, prices from £3400 plus VAT

Two panel internal sliding door, prices from £2300 plus VAT

Three panel internal sliding door, prices from £3700 plus VAT

Single pivot door with side panel, prices from £2300 plus VAT

Smart Systems Aluspace – Conclusion

Smart Systems joins Aluco as another well-designed and executed internal steel-look system. With the Origin OI30 product, there are now three aluminium systems to consider and all can be compared together.

The steel-look trend is here to stay and offers end-users even more access to the latest-generation aluminium products with a style and appeal only steel can match.

Internal systems such as Smart Systems AluSpace are simple to install, other than the obvious extra care installers need to take working inside people’s homes. The option of a pivot door gives AlusSpace a tiny advantage over Aluco and more options than Origin OI30 which only comes in a hinged door option.

Use our contact form to get in touch for more information about Smart Systems AluSpace and where to view it, get a quotation or buy.

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