Choosing the best aluminium front doors for the home improves the property with a durable, secure and highly attractive product. At the same time, these products need not be expensive. Schuco, Dutemann Haus, Pirnar and Hormann are just four of the best aluminium entrance doors in aluminium. However, there’s quite a lot to learn about the supply chain, profiles, panels and components of an aluminium front door.
- The advantages of aluminium entrance doors explained.
- Understanding aluminium front door construction
- The solid panels explained
- Understanding door sizes and designs.
- How secure are aluminium front doors?
- How much do aluminium front doors cost?
- Summary – What to think about when buying aluminium entrance doors.
The advantages of aluminium entrance doors explained.
Reliability, slim sightlines, better aeshthetics and stength. Four standout features of the best aluminium front doors you won’t get with composite doors or PVCu doors. Timber doors of course fall into an altogether different category at the upper end of the price range alonside steel reinforced front door.
For many an aluminium front door provides the most affordable option as well as the choice of more prestigious entrance doors.
Often the front door is the last item in a substantial home improvement project. Composite doors provide a cheaper and high-quality alternative to a front door. However, you only need to look at a door in recently built homes by developers to see how badly the composite material ages with cheap doors.
Therefore, the best aluminium entrance doors provide all the advantages of a composite door with even more features and benefits. This is why developers of higher-end new homes choose aluminium instead. Above all, they look better.
Invest in an aluminium front door and you’ll get long service life, great reliability and security where it matters. You’ll also get a substantial choice of designs, whether fully or partially glazed, a traditional or contemporary door panel design.
How aluminium entrance doors differ from composite doors.
Aluminium entrance doors we consider superior to plastic PVCu doors as well as composite doors. While composite doors such as the Solidor or the Endurance are solid and secure, aluminium front doors provide advantages. These benefits are enhanced when there are other aluminium products in the home as well, such as bifolding doors, sliding doors and aluminium windows.
- Higher thermal insulation and excellent acoustics, depending on the type
- A greater variety of locking options
- More flexible sizes than PVCu or composite front doors
- Very stable front door sets
- A better colour match to other products such as windows or doors
To choose the right aluminium front door for your home, it is worth looking at their construction and design as well as their sources.
Understanding aluminium front door construction
Choosing the best aluminium front doors means also understanding their construction and overall design. Much of this centres around the decorative panel. Whether they’re called decorative, infill, solid panels or door panels, these are the part of the door giving its overall look, modern or traditional.
It’s helpful here to understand the makeup of cheaper front doors against the more expensive models and the method of fixing the door panel. There are three common types of door panel design.
The aluminium door with an inset decorative panel.
The aluminium door with an inset decorative panel is old technology although the simplest and still a good way to make a front door. There’s nothing at all wrong with these doors. However, they don’t offer the more consistent lines and better overall fit and finish of the best aluminium front doors.
In simple terms, in place of glass goes the decorative panel. And that’s it. In other words, it’s exactly the same type of glazed door you’d have as a side, porch or back door but without the glass. These are the simplest ways of making aluminium entrance doors.
Whilst they’re simpler, quality and fit and finish does vary. Dutemann makes some of the best aluminium entrance doors using this design with their Haus model. So does Sunflex. Hallmark, Hörmann and Spitfire do too and Kloeber is another brand. Origin makes great front doors, but be aware this is still essentially their bifolding doors sash profile and it’s visible when you study the seals at the door corners where they meet.
An integrated aluminium panel
Here you get an aluminium front door manufactured with the panel as an integral part of the structure whilst still having a ‘glaze-in’ construction.
The visible difference here is the doors are seamless with the door sash either on the outside, the inside or both sides. You don’t get the step from the inside of the door leaf to the panel line. Glasswin, Spitfire, Hörmann and Internorm are some brands with this design.
The flush aluminium entrance doors panel
Then we come to the more bespoke best aluminium front doors using the flush design with their panels. Again it’s the seamless look without the glaze in effect of other doors. They’re more expensive but they’re also made quite a bit differently.
These doors most come in contemporary designs. Internorm, Smart Systems, Spitfire S500, Pirnar and other upper-level front door brands typically use this arrangement.
The solid panels explained
The solid panel plays an essential part in all front doors and there are several types available. Crucially, the panels also contribute significantly to the overall door U-Values. However, these panels must also provide the required feel. Too light and the front door feels flimsy.
The cheapest door panels comes with just basic insulation. Better versions have thicker insulation as well as some timber or steel reinforcement. As well as this, the thickness of the exterior and interior skins you see, vary. Some panels are only 1.5mm thick, others go up to a better 3mm.
As well as the thickness of the aluminium, the overall panel thickness is important. The basic doors have a thickness as much as the glazing allows – 24mm or 28mm with cheaper doors. The best aluminium front doors have substantially thicker skins at 44mm, 50m, 77mm or even up to 90mm with the more premium products.
The thicker the panel above 28mm, the better the door. Thicker panels also contribute to the low U-Values and excellent thermal insulation.
Many door manufacturers don’t make the panels for their doors. Instead these are sourced from businesses specialising in making door panels. Some are sourced in Europe from substantial panel companies. Therefore, it’s quite likely the door has it’s surround frame and door leaf profiles from one supplier, the decorative panel and glass from another.
What to expect as standard with the best aluminium front doors
Generally speaking, all quality front door products Whichever of the two types of aluminium entrance doors you look at all will come with the following specifications as standard:
- Durable powder-coated finish in a big selection of colours.
- Extensive options for handles, locks and door furniture.
- Secure multi-point, manual or electronic locking systems.
- Single or double door options.
- Excellent thermal performance as well as U-Values.
Understanding the aluminium door and frame system.
The aluminium designer panel you get in a front door and the frame profiles are two different products. And it’s the door and frame system that’s also significant in the best aluminium front doors.
The higher end brands often tell you what system is used for the door surround frame if it’s a premium system. Schuco and Reynaers are widely used and just like their bifolding and sliding doors the quality of these profiles is exemplary.
As well as this, using a more premium aluminium system delivers more features within the doors. For instance Schuco profiles such as those used in the Dutemann Haus doors allow options such as hidden door hinges, low thresholds and some of the best German-designed locking systems. It’s also worth knowing that if you have single or French doors elsewhere in the home, often its the same profiles as the front door.
The aluminium profiles or system used for the front door matters. These profiles undergo extensive security and weather testing and come with better engineering. Therefore when choosing the best aluminium front doors, ask what system is used for the frame and door leaf.
The system behind a new front door
Dutemann Haus, Hormann, Internorm, Spitfire, Pirnar doors and many others all utilise sophisticated aluminium systems and high quality construction. Other quality front doors use profiles such as Comar Architectural Systems or Smart Systems.
The Glasswin Front Doors product is another brand offering front doors at very good prices with the benefit of premium aluminium systems in their construction. They use either the company’s own, Schuco or Reynaers aluminium profiles. There’s also a very unique hybrid version using aluminium on the outside door skin and PVCu on the inside. This product is also one way of getting an aluminium door at a composite door price.
These doors come with quadruple glazing, German Winkhaus locks and even a hidden door sash design and hidden handles. There are many excellent aluminium front doors on the market and we suggest also checking out Glasswin doors, starting at just £1500. Their other aluminium ranges come with the same and even better specifications than brands costing two or three times as much.
Smart Systems designer front doors are another standout product. Upgraded to the 10 point locking system, it’s like having a premium steel door lock. Excellent designs, well-priced. In fact, some traditional door designs are so good, they’ll fool you into thinking it’s a timber door.
What you need to know about Origin front doors.
Origin we’ve mentioned making popular front doors for the home. These come with the same frame profiles as their successful folding sliding doors.
The appearance of Origin Doors is the basic glazed panel design where others prefer the flush look like Dutemann’s Haus, Glasswin or Spitfire. Choose an Origin front door and you also get matching side or back doors as well as garage doors. Finally, you get some of the best colour and personalisation options and a 20-year manufacturer guarantee on the frames.
Some websites mention Origin doors as being substandard. This is not only incorrect but also not true. The quality of Origin’s profiles is excellent. The powder coating process is within very strict industry standards, coated by certified and professional powder coaters. As well as this, the panels come with a very high-quality build. In short, these are just as good as other doors.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with doors where the door panels and the aluminium door profiles are from different suppliers. Even more important, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using bifolding door profiles to make front doors. Virtually every bifolding door brand on the market has the ability to create single or double doors from these profiles. Above all, the Origin name and its guarantee are excellent.
The technology used in aluminium entrance doors.
Technology in aluminium door construction, security and design have advanced significantly in recent years. As a result, modern aluminium doors offer high engineering, intelligent features and high insulation the maximum in security and thermal efficiency just like their PVCu and timber counterparts.
Aluminium doors have far better hardware solutions compared to plastic or composite doors being available with a broader choice of locks and handles owing to the absence of a ‘eurogroove’ upon which so many plastic and composite doors are based. There are other benefits not available with PVCu such as completely concealed door hinges, a far more comprehensive choice of pull handles, more ironmongery options too.
When it comes to appearance, gadgets, security and customisation, there is a lot of choice with some of the best aluminium entrance doors on the market. Aside from a vast choice of colours, textures and subtle detailing, accessories are on-trend.
The upper-tier of aluminium entrance doors come with a lot of technology built-in. Examples include:
- Top-quality materials including all aluminium, hybrid aluminium-timber or aluminium and steel.
- Automatic or manual closing.
- Features such as integrated LED lighting.
- Automatic door locks, fingerprint scanners and connection to home automation systems.
- Electromechanical locks also offering access control.
- Quadruple-glass units.
What you want on your door depends on the product and your budget. It is possible to spend upwards of £10000 on a high-specification, technology-laden aluminium front door.
Choosing contemporary or traditional front doors.
Every quality door panel manufacturer and supplier will be able to demonstrate a range of both contemporary door sets as well as the more traditional designs. As a result, whatever style you want for your home won’t differ very much in construction.
To modern or traditional doors comes a choice of glass options, locking systems, door accessories and a selection of door handles.
Door designs vary around the country and many homeowners like to replicate the original front door style in composite or other materials. Glasswin Front Doors is one company we know of offering aluminium front doors in some of the best traditional styles. Even better with these doors, the decorative mouldings are full aluminium.
Understanding door sizes and designs.
One of the main reasons to choose an aluminium entrance door over the composite door is more flexibility in panel sizes and overall door sizes. For example, composite doors can be unsuitable for cottages and older houses with narrow doorways owing to panel size limitations. While aluminium entrance doors are can also be restricted by size, there is usually more flexibility for smaller doors. For large door sets, aluminium has the biggest advantage. Here is how door sizes compare for and double doors. Also included are some composite and timber doors to provide a comparison.
|Brand||Single Door Maximum Size||Double Door Maximum Size|
|Dutemann Haus Entrance Door||1200 x 2390mm||2390x2390mm|
|Glasswin Front Doors||1250×2250||n/a|
|Solidor Composite Door||1013x2163mm||1927x2163mm|
|Rocal Endurance Composite Door||1004x2050mm||1996x2050mm|
|Smart System Designer Door||1200x2400mm||2200x2500mm|
|Origin Residential Front Door||1130x2700mm||2260x2700mm|
|Spitfire S200 Front Door||1150x2250mm||2190x2200mm|
|RK Door Systems Exclusive Front Door||1300x3000mm||2300x2200mm|
|Bereco Timber Front Door||1181x2500mm||2073x2500mm|
|Express Bifolds Aluminium Front Door||1200x2550mm||2390x2550mm|
|Pirnar Front Doors by Arkay Windows||1300x3000mm||2700x3000mm|
|Hormann Thermocarbon Front Doors||1200x3000mm||2200x3000mm|
|Conventional Glazed Aluminium Door||1200x2400mm||2400x2400mm|
So taking some well-known brands, the size advantages of aluminium over composite doors is significant. An aluminium door comes up to 30% bigger than a typical composite door.
Colours and Textures.
All the principal front door manufacturers offer RAL, anodised, textured or metallic colours. Options include satin, matt or gloss finishes and mixtures of different colours inside and out. Origin, Smart Systems and other brands also provide a range of wood effect finishes using the sublimation process.
Some doors use a conventional powder-coated method others offer enhanced protection finishes. Then you get innovation using a combination of aluminium and PVCu such as the excellent Alumina system, customised into a front door.
Glass options for aluminium doors.
With some of the best aluminium entrance doors, triple glazing comes as standard. Also standard is toughened or laminated safety glass. There’s even quadruple glazing available with some products within the aluminium panels.
The glass options available with front doors are extensive with traditional and contemporary glass designs. Door numbers, acid etching, sandblasting, colouring and custom-designs come with most door brands.
Customising aluminium entrance doors for your home.
Aside from the handle choices and door accessories, aluminium doors provide great customisation options. Doors are available with glazed panels to the sides or above.
You can integrate these doors within a two-storey screen or one-off design of entrance screen. Accessibility is taken care of with a choice of standard rebated or low thresholds for wheelchair access. Finally, you can use all the colour advantages of powder-coated aluminium. Powder coating allows single or dual colours, wood effect finishes, contrasting doors and frames and much more besides.
As a result, you can integrate your front door within a screen or create an individual stand-alone front door.
How secure are aluminium front doors?
It goes without saying that as a current and highly engineered front door, the best aluminium entrance doors are certified to several security standards. Some of these standards are British. Other doors originate from Europe and are certified to European standards. British certification includes Secured by Design, Document Q, PAS24 and others. European standards you will see include WK2, WK3, RC2-4 and others. Many of these are harmonised standards. Therefore you have relative peace of mind.
The locking systems on the best aluminium entrance doors like the excellent Dutemann or Spitfire products use some of the best door locks such as Winkhaus. Front doors are substantially more robust and secure than many side and backdoors in our homes.
Other security features in some of the best aluminium entrance doors include hidden door hinges, laminated glass, toughened safety glass, concealed fixings and internal beading of any glazing. We must mention the frame construction of aluminium doors generally that is one of the most secure mechanical methods of door construction with cleats and brackets as well as sealants all creating a sturdy door and frame joint.
How much do aluminium front doors cost?
Because of the considerable choices in aluminium front doors, it is challenging to provide a good indication of prices. The styles, glazing options, hardware choices and the supply chain all affect the price you pay. However, as a very approximate guide, the below prices are based upon a single coloured door with a combination glass and panel construction and standard high security locking system.
Prices include VAT and fitting. We strongly recommend you obtain a firm quotation.
|Brand||Starting Approximate Prices|
|Glasswin Front Doors||£1500|
|Origin Residential Front Door||£1600-£3500|
|Dutemann Haus Door||£3000|
|Smart Systems Designer Front Doors||£2500|
|Hormann Thermocarbon Front Doors||£3200 upwards|
|Pirnar Front Doors||£4000 upwards|
|Spitfire S500 Front Doors||£6300 upwards|
|Express Bifolds Aluminium Front Door||£3200 upwards|
|RK Door Systems Front Door||£4500 upwards|
Some popular brands of aluminium front doors.
You can integrate a decorative panel into virtually any aluminium residential door system. Some brands do this in a very simple way to make aluminium front doors affordable. Other brands go the extra mile with better design, construction and door performance. Here are just some of the brands to consider.
|Mid-Range Front Doors||High-End Front Doors|
|Hallmark Architect Collection||Dutemann Haus Door|
|Lumidorr by Arkay Windows||Hormann|
|Origin Residential Front Door||RK Door Systems Excellence Front Door|
|Smart Systems Designer Doors||Spitfire S700 pivot doors|
|Spitfire S200||Spitfire S500 Luxury Series|
|Express Aluminium Front Door||Hörmann ThermoSafe|
|Sunflex Front Doors||PortaNova Doors|
|RK Door Systems Entre Economy Range||Reynaers Pivot Doors|
|Hörmann Thermo65||Schuco Adeco Door Panels|
|Alumina by Liniar residential door||Internorm AT400 Series|
|Pirnar Optimum and Premium Range||Pirnar by Arkay Windows|
Summary – What to think about when buying aluminium entrance doors.
You can expect to pay more for an aluminium door than any composite door. Some high end aluminium doors are also on a similar price point to timber front doors. Price aside, here is what you should consider before you buy a new aluminium entrance door.
- Traditional door styles are more limited than contemporary designs.
- Current ‘gadgets’ such as fingerprint scanners or access control systems may be obsolete/difficult to work with in years to come.
- We do not recommend you buy these doors on a trade supply only basis. Expert installation is essential.
- Some door companies will require a qualified electrician where electrics are involved.
- Avoid stock size doors sold online. Always have a professional survey carried out.
- The panelled front door glazed into the door sash provides the most affordable option.
Composite doors often try to mimic the authentic product of which aluminium doors are one. In choosing the brands mentioned in this article or any of the many quality products, you are getting some of the best aluminium entrance doors you can buy.
These superb products are unlike the multitude of me-too composite doors on the market. They are individual, their looks justify the price and are an investment in your home. Try to view these doors side by side with a composite door and the differences are immediately noticeable.
The appearance, opening and closing action and the quality of construction are unlike any composite front door.
Above all, the slim lines and strength of aluminium, not only give you neater looking doors but also without the size limitation of composite door.