aluminium crittall-style doors. an investment or fashion trend?

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Nick Dardalis

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The trend for the Art-Deco, heritage and industrial style, and especially for aluminium Crittall-style doors, is now firmly established in new build extensions and when replacing patio doors, windows and even inside the home. The benefit of the steel look is its timeless style when you consider buildings originally fitted with Crittall® or other metal windows that are always refurbished with identical windows. This timeless and iconic style now works brilliantly in homes, offices, bars and restaurants. If you’re considering aluminium Crittall style doors or windows and not sure whether the style or indeed the many products available in the steel look, are an investment in quality glazing or a soon-to-pass fashion trend, read on.

The trend for aluminium Crittall-style doors is not new

aluco aluminium crittall-style doors in a modern house conversion
Always stylish and on-trend aluminium Crittall-style doors. Hinged and sliding models by Aluco Aluminium.

You might think the trend for aluminium steel-look windows and doors means the product concept is new. In fact, the early specialists in these types of windows like The Heritage Window Company, have been around for twenty years or more. And some fabricators of aluminium Crittall style doors and windows have been making them for even longer. There are also numerous companies making new steel windows or set up for the refurbishment of old metal windows.

The reasons why aluminium Crittall-style doors and steel-look windows are not new are actually quite simple. First is the requirement to replace existing steel windows with a like-for-like or suitable equivalent in listed buildings or for homes in a conservation area. You can’t just rip out old windows and fit what you like. Second and equally important is that many people improving their homes actually care about what they replace their windows with and want the new glazing to keep with the house’s style or enhance its look.

Why is the Crittall® style so popular right now?

aluminium crittall-style doors in a new dining room extension
The look will remain timeless when the glazing style works well in the design. Sunflex heritage French doors.

Just like all trends, they come and go. Fashion is an excellent example where trends can circle back every few decades, coming back either as the original with a modern twist. And it is no different for glazing and interior design. And just like fashion, starting with a particular look on the catwalk, glazing trends change through innovative architecture, interior designers with creative flair and vision, and homeowners looking for something entirely different from standard double glazing. Colour is another reason, with new windows and doors rarely being white or brown.

  • Original ‘double glazing’ is aluminium starting in the 1960s
  • Aluminium falls out of favour replaced by PVCu in the 1980s
  • Aluminium is back in fashion since around 2010 – slimmer and better-looking windows

For patio doors especially these have seen a shift too.

  • Early double glazing was mainly French doors in 1960s and 1970’s
  • Sliding doors, whether aluminium, aluminium in hardwood frames or PVCu in the 1990s
  • Bifolding doors get popular around 2005-2008, sliding doors fall out of fashion
  • Sliding doors, especially slimline models, come back into fashion around 2017
  • Sliding doors and aluminium Crittall-style doors are presently in fashion

Trends today originate from many sources. Before, it was physical shows, print, media and old-style advertising. Now it is enhanced visibility through the internet, social media, music and aspiration, not to mention our growing interest in lifestyle programmes, property renovation being one of these. Even celebrities and influencers now tell us what doors and windows they’ve had in their homes. For doors and windows, it also starts with innovative glazing companies deciding to offer their customers something new and different.

A trend may rise to popularity for one reason and fall out of favour for another. Trends are at times, unpredictable phenomena, but certain behaviours remain true. Indeed, the life cycle of a trend consists of five stages: Introduction, Rise, Peak, Decline, and Obsolescence.

For doors and windows, it also starts with innovative glazing companies deciding to offer their customers something better. Aluminium Crittall-style doors are currently in the rise stage. The reason for this is their adaptability to virtually any style of property because they take inspiration from original and timeless window designs. Timber-look PVCu casement and sash windows taking inspiration from crafted joinery, are another example, and these too are very popular right now for replacement windows.

The glazing trend of the last decade around slimmer frame profiles, views, transparency, opening up your home, connecting to your outside spaces, and filling your home with light is what made bifold and sliding doors, and especially aluminium patio doors, so popular. Aluminium Crittall-style doors do not go against this trend. They’re just another product in a different style that provides a similar experience. So there’s little chance of these going out of fashion. But there is every chance a new type of door will appear in the future.

Aluminium Crittall-style doors vs steel

steel internal crittall doors in a lounge setting
Steel is slimmer and, by design, looks different to aluminium

There is a genuine case to answer that if you want the absolute best in this glazing style, then go for the original and not what is obviously an aluminium imitation – as good as aluminium currently is. We’ve seen all the current aluminium versions of the steel look, and you will see a difference between aluminium and steel. These material and design differences can also make the difference between staying in fashion and possibly going out of fashion.

Steel is slimmer and has smoothly welded corners, the glazing bars are seamlessly also welded to the door frames, giving an altogether better look. They are not cut and applied manually to the glass, the badly-made products having visible edges. Overall the entire fit and finish of the authentic Crittall® door ensure it does what it says on the tin – that this is the original and best. The fundamental differences between steel and aluminium as materials are essentially the reason why Crittall doors and other steel brands look the way they do. The significant advantage of aluminium Crittall-style doors is cost saving and often a third of the price of the genuine article.

Arguably a genuine product like Crittall® always stays on trend because it’s not only proven its longevity for over 100 years but also because it is a brand with kudos, pedigree and heritage.

aluminium Crittall-style doors 5 reasons why they’ll stay in fashion

aluhome air mod windows10
The suitability of this style for most property types is likely to retain its popularity. aïr MOD doors by Alühome

The Crittall, industrial, heritage or Art-Deco look will remain popular as a glazing style simply because of how this distinctive style looks. There is no other genuinely comparable product.

Light-filled and spacious rooms will always be desirable in a property renovation. For interior doors and even with the grid-like pattern, few products let light flow like aluminium Crittall-style doors.

The introduction of aluminium doors and windows has improved buyers’ access to this style because the genuine steel product is more expensive, exclusive, and until now, discounted by customers with lower budgets.

There aren’t any other alternatives for exterior doors anywhere near as slim. For interior doors, only frameless glass doors or steel provide anywhere near the minimalist sightlines.

The styling and appeal of these products work in most house types, not just Art-Deco and replacing the original steel windows. Cottages, suburban house extensions, Victorian terraced houses, Georgian homes, apartments and new build homes. This style suits them all and complements existing architecture.

And 5 reasons why this style could lose its appeal

cortizo steel-look sliding doors
Too many bars can be overkill, obstructing the view.

There is a risk that the over-promotion of this glazing style may also result in its downfall. You see this style everywhere now for property renovation projects, especially interiors. We fear people will tire of it.

Some products and companies continue to offer nothing but standard doors with bars on the glass, turning people away from this style, because it is not the properly-designed steel-look system they’re looking at.

The grid-like pattern created by the heritage bars really only suits certain aperture sizes. The bigger you go with aluminium Crittall-style doors, the greater the risk of doors starting to look a little like a cage.

We see the overuse of black as a go-to colour as a mistake by the glazing industry and risks going the way of white plastic windows. It becomes staid. These doors look really attractive in lighter colours, cream, grey and other finishes.

As interest grows in more energy-efficient glazing, the Crittall® style falls short when you want the lowest U-Values.

More information and where to buy aluminium aluminium Crittall-style doors and windows

You can get in touch for details of exterior and interior steel-look doors and windows, product advice and where to buy the right products from the best suppliers. Use our contact form and get free impartial advice.

Crittall® is a registered trademark of Crittall Windows Limited and unconnected to the Aluminium Trade Supply Website.

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16:42 30 Oct 23
Nick responded incredibly quickly to my enquiry (on a Saturday too!), and was able to offer invaluable advice on both aluminum systems and manufacturer / suppliers. Thanks Nick!
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16:18 09 Oct 23
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19:55 13 Sep 23
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07:03 11 Sep 23
Update - A second email to nick for help on bifolds resulted in a detailed informative reply even on a Sunday ! This guy is so knowledgable and helpful .I approached Nick for an independent view on sliding doors v bifold and the different brand options . His reply was extremely detailed and prompt and allowed me to navigate this often confusing world in a much more informed way . Thanks so much Nick
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12:45 05 Sep 23
This is a must site for anyone looking for advice. Great service and very quick answers to questions. Nick has been of great help quiding us through the maze of aluminium products. Thank you
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20:24 26 Jul 23
I contacted Nick @ ATS for guidance on what aluminium sliding door systems would be suitable for an opening in an extension that is going to be both wide and tall. He came back really quickly with very detailed and incredibly helpful advice. He is clearly extremely knowledgeable about the systems on the market and their respective features and capabilities. If you’re feeling a bit lost by the overwhelming range of choices out there, I’d definitely recommend contacting him.
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17:25 19 Jul 23
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07:51 12 Jul 23
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09:24 16 Jun 23
Fantastic website full of valuable and pragmatic advice about product selection and comparison: no other website gives information like this. Truly written for public interest. Don't hesistate to reach out to Nick via the mailing system. He responds very quickly, is friendly, and has very sound and high knowledgable advice. I have already shared this with my friend planning her own grand design.
guard Charlieguard Charlie
12:28 14 May 23
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Benjamin LewisBenjamin Lewis
10:06 04 May 23
Nick is very helpful indeed. Extremely knowledgeable on bifolds which was in relation to my query. Great website as well, some very useful articles. Particularly appreciated the article that lists all the major bifold options in order of their sightlines! Thank you!
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08:07 15 Apr 23
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16:25 21 Mar 23
After a lot of research to find doors that would meet our unusual size requirements and feeling increasingly uncertain about the best way to spend our small budget, I stumbled on the ATS website, and I'm so glad I did! I contacted ATS to request advice and Nick promptly replied with a wealth of information, providing us with options and relevant contact details. I only wish I'd found them sooner!
Carol NortonCarol Norton
10:01 17 Mar 23
I've been so confused about how to achieve the look I'm after, and going round in circles with various window/door companies, trying to get away from the huge chunks of plastic currently around my windows. I didn't expect an email to a company found through a Google search to really help - but I was desperate, so I tried. I'm SO glad I did. Finally I have clear explanations from ATS of where I've been going wrong, exactly what I'm looking for, and a list of local companies that might be able to provide it! The response has excelled my expectations and I feel as if I'm finally inching closer to a home with which I'll be happy and comfortable: thank you.
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20:54 14 Mar 23
It is rare that I write reviews, however after my very positive communication with Nick - enquiring about suitable slim sash aluminium windows for my project, I felt that a review was definitely warranted. I can reinforce the many positive reviews posted so far, Nick was very quick to respond, providing comprehensive detail, with excellent independent advice.In summary, great service, thank you Nick.
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13:04 09 Mar 23
Nick from Aluminium Trade Supply was incredibly helpful informative and pleasant to deal with. He responded quickly to emails and was very knowledgeable. Highly recommend being in touch with Nick if you are considering new aluminium windows or doors.
Lee JonesLee Jones
20:21 22 Feb 23
I dropped Nick at Aluminium Trade Supply an email re high security slim sightline bi-folds and their alternatives and he responded that quickly (and so comprehensively) that I felt bad I’d not paid him for his time!Nick Sir your product knowledge is outstanding and you are providing a level of service that goes wayyyy above and beyond expectations. I’ll definitely make sure I mention Aluminium Trade Supply to anyone I encounter looking for a fenestration solution 🙏🏼
15:13 13 Feb 23
We are looking to replace some old UPVC patios doors with aluminium ones. The ATS website is a great source of advice in an area where clear information is sorely lacking. Having used the website, I then followed this up with a number of specific questions relating to our search, and Nick came back very quickly with clear, detailed and very useful advice.I have been very impressed with both the website and with Nick's advice. My only regret is that I didn't come across ATS before replacing various windows in 2021 - I'm sure it would have saved me a lot of grief and money! Thanks again Nick.
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11:21 08 Jan 23
Nick was super fast to respond and provided some great recommendations. I would recommend this website to anyone looking to find bifold or sliding aluminium doors.
Stephen HoustonStephen Houston
16:16 03 Jan 23
Looking for aluminium crittall style internal door and external patio French doors. Noted good reviews and thought would ask for advice. Comprehensive reply with excellent independent advice and lists of fitters who could provide products and installation. Great service.
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08:25 21 Dec 22
Nick from Aluminium Trade Supply has been extremely helpful with navigating the jungle that is aluminium glazing for our upcoming extension project. His advice was prompt, detailed and always impartial. Very grateful for your input, thanks Nick!
Amanda BurtonAmanda Burton
10:54 16 Dec 22
Brilliant website and an excellent service. Nick provided not only detailed advice and supplier contacts, but highlighted the considerations of various products so I could make an informed choice. Our Sunvista minimal sliders were fitted this week and I couldn't be happier, stunning. Thanks once again for your advice and recommendations, invaluable!
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11:45 13 Sep 22
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