From good to great. Origin Frames Ltd in 2023

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Nick Dardalis

Since 2002, Origin Frames Ltd has pioneered making beautiful and high-quality aluminium glazing for the home with a first-class service to match. In 2023, the company now offers a substantially larger product range than before. Originally starting with a folding sliding door product, Origin Frames Ltd is one of the country’s biggest aluminium window and door manufacturers and arguably one of the best known door and window brands.

We’ve recently updated Origin content on the website as both the product range, features, and specifications have all changed. Here is how Origin products are now available for homeowners and the fenestration trade.

Origin Frames Ltd – then and now

windows and doors by origin frames ltd in a large surrey house

With a multi-million pound turnover, some of the best manufacturing facilities, a substantial nationwide presence, over the last twenty years, Origin Frames Ltd are a force to be reckoned with in aluminium windows and doors.

The original bifolding door product, first called Easifold and now the OB-72, continues to be one of the better bifold doors on the market, and the company has shifted its original focus of ‘bifold doors for new extensions’ into a virtually complete range of products for both the replacement of existing windows and doors and for new building projects and extensions.

Whilst Solarlux invented the bifolding door and Solarlux is arguably the best you can get with a folding sliding system, Origin can, in our view, be credited with making the bifold door popular in the UK and, at the same time, revolutionising the supply chain for windows and doors. Origin products all provide a fantastic solution for any home, whether you choose folding doors, sliding doors, windows or residential interior and exterior doors.

Here is how the Origin product range has evolved and changed over the last twenty years since the original Easifold door.

Origin bifold doors

picture of the latest origin frames ltd steel look bifolds in a modern refurbished kitchen

The first product introduced by Origin Frames Ltd, the OB-72 bifold door continues to be a very successful bifold and, from the outset, came as a door with excellent specifications. Where other bifolding doors came with quite staid door handles, Origin offered standard and the premium Hafi range. Finger-safe gaskets were heavily marketed (although other brands came with these), and over the years, the size capability got better as did the customisation options.

With middle mullion sightlines of 154mm, the OB-72 has never been the slimmest, but it is incredibly well made and the installer trade loves the product and the Origin service behind it.

Today the OB-72 retains its place as the only Origin bifold product available at the largest sizes and in two woodgrain colours, golden oak and natural oak. More woodgrains were offered in previous years, but demand saw these reduced to the two most popular as of today. At the same time, the bifold door profiles are used to make the Origin Residential and front doors range as well as garage doors. Also available using OB-72 are bifolding windows. The product has also adapted as much as possible to meet the changing U-Values of Building Regulations.

Further innovations to the Origin bifolding doors range saw the introduction of the OB-49, an even slimmer version, meeting market demands for doors that are smaller at the door mullions. With mullion sightlines of 110mm, the OB-49 is in the top ten of the slimmest bifolds. OB-49 also creates really nice single or double doors. Also available today with Origin bifolds are colour-matched hardware, new handle finishes and textures, colour-matched gaskets, excellent lead times, and a long product guarantee.

Origin aluminium windows

secured by design windows in a white colour in a new home

The next product to follow the bifolds was aluminium windows. We were amazed at the ingenious design found in the OW-80 product, originally called the twin flush. Flush casement windows were already available in PVCu, but no company had yet done these in aluminium. Even better, the windows were flush inside as well as outside, whereas most other brands today still focus the flush aesthetic on the outside. Even better, Origin windows were available in a woodgrain aluminium finish, something only done in the 1990s by Monarch Aluminium. You can still get woodgrain windows in the OW-80 only in just two colours today and on special order, high cost and extended lead times with some other brands as well.

Origin Frames Ltd not only saw the value in using the well-known and trusted Yale brand in the window locking system but also came forward with Aerogel, giving this aluminium window the best insulation on the market at the time.

Anyone that knows what goes into coating window handles will appreciate the complexity, and today many window brands only offer a standard colour range. To the best of our knowledge, Origin remains unique in offering colour-matched window handles and not just standard colours. Origin OW-80 windows also come at some of the largest window opening sizes, beating other well-known brands by some margin, without needing a heavy-duty opening vent profile.

The OW-80 was followed by the OW-70 product, again meeting the market demand for slimmer aluminium windows and sitting comfortably alongside other well-known brands as not only windows with gorgeous slim sightlines but again using the flush casement look on the outside. No steel-look window is available from Origin, although the company will put glazing bars on the glass to give it a grid-like pattern. Better options exist, such as Reynaers SL38, SL68, Aluco windows, and Alitherm Heritage.

Origin residential and front doors

picture of hallway with origin front door, one of the best aluminium front doors

The front doors were the third product from Origin, following the windows. With a slick and very expensive marketing campaign, accompanied by television advertising and even in the Coronation Street ad break, Origin front doors were nothing new compared to other front doors in aluminium or remarkable but were appealing, well-priced and of excellent quality. Also available on launch were garage doors – not the roller or up-and-over type, but hinged. The woodgrain options were excellent, although these are now no longer available.

Origin Frames Ltd used the same profiles of the OB-72 to create their front doors, followed by glazed doors with optional midrails and a choice of 35 door designs, separated into contemporary and classic designs. Now this range has been reduced to just ten designs – a sign perhaps of the heavy front door market with other comparable, if not better, front door products available using a more sophisticated design than Origin’s decorative panel in place of glass. Origin front doors look great, but to the trained eye close up, you can see their shortcomings.

Origin, in our view cut corners in this choice of front and residential door offering, although there are benefits to making single and double patio doors using bifold profiles.

Origin sliding doors

origin sliding doors 0s-44 model in a lounge setting

In 2018, Origin again pioneered with being one of the first companies to offer the ultra slim sliding door using the Cortizo system. Whilst this advanced bonded sliding door design was already available with specialist installers and designers, we can credit Origin with making these door types available to more regular door and window installation businesses.

The first sight of this door was a complete departure from other sliding doors on the market, and Cortizo doors are now found under many different brands but are essentially the same product. This product was also Origin’s first foray into providing glass with their products because the bonded nature of these doors means the glass is required during fabrication. Origin is one of the numerous providers of this Cortizo door now, and not everyone supplies it the same. We think that, once again, Origin was one of the first companies to realise the potential of minimalist sliding doors, and the rest of the market followed suit.

Within a year or two came a more standard sliding doors range with the OS-77, and OS-44, offering a more traditional appearance and more affordable product. This, in 2021, was added to with the OS-29, which is thinner still at the mullion. There are, again, better sliding doors on the market, but absolutely nothing wrong with Origin’s either. Moreover, these sliding doors allow Origin to meet the popularity of sliding doors in the market, once again enjoying a huge resurgence. Whether you choose the 77mm, 44mm, or 29mm model at the mullion, you get excellent quality handles made by Blu and a really well-made sliding door with a lovely smooth and quiet sliding action.

Origin internal doors

origin oi-30 internal doors in a barn type setting with wood walls and ceiling

It was only a matter of time before Origin Frames Ltd had to address the popularity of the steel-look, pioneered by Aluco and Smart Systems Alitherm and offer a steel-look product. Origin introduced the stylish OI-30 internal door collection.

Aluco Aluminium was the first for internal doors in aluminium. We think Aluco products are slimmer, better-made, feel more premium and offer a sliding door option. You’ll also find alternative designs, such as the floating lock option, which is not available with any other internal aluminium steel-inspired door. There is no question the Origin internal doors look great and are sure to be a fantastic seller for the company.

Whilst not the most comprehensive range of internal doors and screens on the market as a hinged-only design, Origin OI-30 internal doors are well-made, very attractive and come with beautiful handles and accessories. The wide availability of these via the Origin dealer network also makes them very accessible.

Origin Frames in 2023 – conclusion

Whilst Origin provides an excellent home solution in aluminium windows and doors there are three products we think are missing from the range.

First is a dedicated steel-look system which, aside from the OI-30, there is nothing. The bifolding doors and OW-70 windows are available in a steel-look, but the reality is these are their standard bifolds and windows with nothing more than bars on the glass. Aluco, Smart Systems, Alitherm and Aluspace and Reynaers all make the steel look significantly better.

Also missing is a dedicated residential door range, where as mentioned, Origin relies on their bifold door profiles to create front doors and single or double doors. The side panels are also window sections, whereas other brands design side and top panels better.

There isn’t any kind of lantern roof or rooflight product, but with so many other options on the market, Origin would need to sell a substantial number to make it viable. Lantern roofs and rooflights are largely similar, with no one product doing it better than others.

If Origin is to offer a front door, these should move to a dedicated door and sash system rather than a bifold because it is easy to see in several areas of the product where the bifold seals and other components don’t look as well-finished as a purpose designed front door. Despite this, installations using these doors do look smart.

The bifold, arguably the product Origin is best known for, can easily develop into a slimmer product capable of larger panel sizes, which is how the mature market is heading with folding sliding doors.

Origin Frames Ltd continues to go from strength to strength as the dominant force in the UK fenestration industry and is now one of the largest and best known in the UK. Superbly made products, outstanding customer service, extensive dealer support, and desirable products for the homeowner and their network of installers, a handful enjoying Platinum Dealer Status with Origin owing to their loyalty to the brand.

Above all, we credit Origin Frames Ltd for bringing brand awareness to doors and windows. It was nearly impossible 15-20 years ago for homeowners to know which brand they were buying. Origin made door and window brands cool, with other system companies following suit in marketing their brand directly to the homeowner and improving the perception of the door and window industry as a result.

Get in touch for more information about Origin windows and doors products and details of where to buy or view them around the UK.