Frameless Glazing Frequently Asked Questions

Frameless glazing covers a broad range of products including doors, windows and screens.  Where contemporary and minimalist looking glass products are required inside and outside the home, frameless glazing products provide solutions. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about frameless doors, windows and general glazing.

There is also more information about the frameless slide and fold doors around sightlines, performance and energy efficiency.

Is frameless glazing really frameless?

There are different types of frameless glazing that needs suitable fixing to the structure.  Even structural glazing found on facades and commercial buildings needs some form of fixing even if it is not a frame.

Therefore, most frameless systems do need some sort of frame or fixing method.  Examples include hidden fixings, recessed and hidden frames, patch fittings, brackets or other methods.  Frameless glazing is not 100% frameless but comes with the bare minimum of a visible frame or hidden frames.

How good are frameless bifolding doors?

There are several different providers of frameless bifolding or slide and fold doors.  It is important to do your research on these products as some are marketed as frameless when they are not, and may differ in security, weather performance and other specifications.

Three of the best known products on the market are Sunseeker, ID Systems and Frameless Glass curtains that offer good products for external use.  Check out that the doors have security and weather testing certification as well as other good characteristics.

Watch out for frameless doors that are only available single glazed and those that are intended for commercial use and not in a residential setting.  A quality frameless bifolding door will be safe, secure, easy to use and energy efficient.

A well-designed, made and installed frameless bifolding door will be as reliable as their full aluminium-framed counterparts

Why are frameless doors and windows so expensive?

It is easy to assume that the less aluminium in a product, the cheaper it should be compared to its fully framed alternative.

Prices on home improvement products vary considerably from company to company so it is always worth getting at least three quotations and also to compare the products to ensure the prices are for like-for-like products.

One of the reasons frameless doors and windows are more expensive than aluminium doors and windows is that the manufacturing process is more complicated. These products are largely made around the glass in the factory, whereas aluminium doors and windows are manufactured 'unglazed' for the glass to be installed on site. So the installer that buys in these products is paying a markup on the glass that they would normally buy themselves directly for their aluminium doors.

Other reasons for the price differences is the fitting and transportation of fully glazed products is more complicated, often with special machines required and more labour on site to handle the products.

 

What are the advantages of frameless doors and windows?

An all-glass appearance, a minimalist look and maximising on views are just three of the advantages of having frameless doors and windows in your home.

For doors especially, no sliding or bifolding doors can offer the uninterrupted views of a frameless product. If your home is in the countryside, has a large garden, or just enjoys any kind of great view or focal point to look at, frameless products make this view even better.  They also make rooms look bigger and are very appealing to prospective homebuyers as well.

One of the best features of frameless products is that they look so good when viewed from inside the house as well.

What types of frameless glass products are available?

Frameless products are not just windows and doors, nor are they just for the outside of the house. Here are some examples of frameless glass products:

  • Frameless opening and fixed windows.
  • Frameless bifolding doors.
  • Frameless Apex and Gable Windows.
  • Balustrades.
  • Rooflights
  • Internal glass doors.
  • Frameless porches.
  • Glass Splashbacks.
  • Glass Rooms/Frameless glazed extensions.
  • Frameless garden rooms.
  • Glass Staircases
  • Glass worktops and slashbacks.
  • Shower Screens.

 

How big can a frameless window be?

Bigger frameless windows are governed by a number of factors:

  • The maximum size the product has been designed at.
  • The forces of wind and the deflection on the glass.
  • Transportation constraints.
  • The pieces of glass the glass processing company is able to handle, toughen or laminate.

A professional company with expertise in frameless products should be able to create a window up to 3 metres by 6 metres.  That is 18 square metres which is a substantial piece of glass!

Is a frameless door or window safe?

Absolutely.  Blackpool Tower, for example, has a glass floor at the top of the tower that you can stand on. There are also frameless rooflights called 'walk-on glass'. There are even glass staircases that project out from the wall in a floating design with no apparent support.

Frameless products use laminated, toughened or very thick glass in multiple layers. This kind of glass is designed with strength and structural integrity.

Frameless doors and windows are designed and made around the glass, that is the structural component of the overall product. So any correctly designed and tested frameless door, window or screen should be fit for purpose. And of course, there are many British and European standards relating to glass safety.

Can I have integral blinds in a frameless door?

As frameless products are made around the glass it is not usually possible to have integral blinds between the glass, although there are exceptions to this.

How long will a frameless glass product last?

There are many different manufacturers of frameless glass products, all with different guarantees.

As frameless glass products are relatively new in the UK, it is hard to comment on the long-term performance of these over two or three decades.  That said, there is no reason why a frameless product with quality glass, quality manufacturing and a good installation should not provide many years of reliable service.

Many products come with a 10-year guarantee and with longer warranty periods on the powder coating of any aluminium frames.

Talk to your frameless provider that can provide specific information about how these frameless products perform in the long term. However, just like any consumer product over the years they are improved, superceded and some are discontinued altogether over time.  Obviously, internal products like doors, screens, splashbacks should last a very long time.

How good is the energy efficiency of frameless doors and windows?

It is important to know that frameless products benefit from the best in glass technology, manufacturing, coatings and components.

Single glazed products are excluded from any energy efficiency. Double or triple glazed frameless products come with very good U-Values on the glass units. Just like a full framed PVCu or aluminium window and door, the glass is the primary component that contributes the most to the overall energy efficiency and U-Values.

Your provider will be able to provide full details, but as a general guide, frameless products for external use meet or exceed current Building Regulations for thermal efficiency.

 

Is there a lot of solar gain from frameless glass?

In a residential or commercial setting, you may need to consider privacy, shading and all-around comfort on hot and cold days.

For privacy, you may need to consider blinds.  If you don't want to have open blinds visible, there are those that fall from your ceiling and disappear from sight when open. There is even switchable smart glass that changes from clear to obscure at the flick of a switch.

Most professional glass suppliers try to address the issue of solar gain with solar control glazing and your supplier should advise you on the likely solar gain from a large glass door or picture window.