Aluminium French Doors

When you select doors for your home, you have many choices. You can pick hinged, sliding, folding, or stacking doors. Each kind offers benefits. They all fit standard door openings. So, let’s compare aluminium French doors with other patio door styles.

The popularity of heritage or Crittall-style doors and windows continues to drive interest in exterior French doors. However, aluminium French doors can offer additional advantages over traditional steel or timber versions, such as energy efficiency and security.

FeatureAluminium French Doors AdvantagesCompared to Bifolding/Sliding Doors
Structural SuitabilityIdeal for smaller or standard openings, easy integration into housesBifolds/Sliding doors require larger openings
Cost-EffectivenessMore affordable optionBifolds/Sliding doors are generally more expensive
Style and AestheticsClassic Art-Deco/steel look, suits character propertiesModern style of Bifolds/Sliding doors may not blend with traditional architecture
AccessibilityLower thresholds, suitable for wheelchair/pram accessSliding doors might have higher thresholds
SecurityKey access from outside, multi-point lockingSliding doors often lack external key access; bifolds may have more potential security points due to folding mechanism
Ease of UseFamiliar usage, no complex opening mechanismBifolds/Sliding doors require more space and have more complex mechanisms

When to choose French doors over the alternatives

french doors in an oak beam room kitchen extension
French doors provide one of the best and most affordable new doors.

First, your choice between French, sliding, or bi-folding doors depends on your project. Are you replacing an existing set of doors with something more modern or building a new opening?

Naturally, for the latter, there’s more flexibility as you get to choose how large the opening is, and size can also influence the choice of sliding doors or bi-folding doors. For an existing space, you’re limited by the size you have.

When thinking about your new space, consider what views you’d love to have and if you aim to have less aluminium framing for a cleaner glass look. Patio doors are fantastic for blending indoor and outdoor spaces, especially on those lovely warm days when you can open up to your garden, patio, or balcony. But, since the doors will be closed most of the time, it’s worth considering how much the views and natural light matter to you even when shut.

Your other consideration when choosing between French, sliding, or bifold doors is how these are used daily. For instance, if you live in a home with only one patio door, functionality becomes more important than in a larger home with more than one door on the ground floor.

Choosing French doors for an existing opening

Are you replacing your old patio doors? Your structural opening size isn’t too restrictive, as aluminium French doors, sliding doors, or bi-folding doors come in configurations for smaller doorways. So, let’s look at the options for an existing opening.

For door openings up to two metres

For openings around 2 metres wide, the classic French door works well. You can get away with slightly narrower options by having smaller panels.

For door openings over two metres

Double doors with one or two side panels work best for openings between two and four metres. And if you go with any steel-inspired double-door products, these look slim and impactful.

For larger door openings over four metres

Larger existing or new apertures extend your options to having more than one double door set or a combination of double or single doors with side panels. A good installer can help you design the most suitable option, letting you choose where you place your doors and which door set to open, depending on your requirements.

french doors in white at the back of a new extension

Four reasons to buy aluminium French doors

You’ll get a reliable, secure, and weather-resistant door made of aluminium, PVCu, timber, or hybrid doors combining two materials. However, aluminium beats all these materials in four significant areas.

If you are considering PVCu, timber or composite materials, we’ve created a helpful guide on choosing the most suitable door.

1. You get slimmer frame lines

Regarding what doors are the slimmest, it’s hard to beat aluminium. PVCu is always thicker as it needs this bulk for strength and security. Timber is a beautiful natural material, but this, too, is usually thicker than any standard aluminium patio door set.

So if reducing the visible sightlines of essential frame profiles matters, aluminium is the slimmest when choosing French, sliding, or bifolding doors. Choose a fully glazed steel-looking door, and you benefit from the thinnest frame lines on French doors.

2. Larger doors, more glass and more light

Aluminium french doors typically provide larger door leaf sizes than PVCu and timber doors. Most other materials give you door sizes of around 850mm – 900mm. Aluminium doors go well over 1m width with most systems.

It’s the same for the heights. For most 2300mm or taller openings, other doors require a glazed light above them. Choose the right aluminium door, and it’ll comfortably cover this height. The benefit is fewer aluminium profiles, larger glass sizes, more light and better views.

3. You can match other aluminium doors

Aluminium is the best solution for matching French and bifolding doors.

You may have a larger extension with bifolding doors for your living area and a nearby study or dining room leading to the garden. Making single or French doors out of the same profiles as bifolding doors is possible. The benefit, therefore, is matching doors where you need these three different types.

4. More choice of designs with aluminium

Aluminium doors come in a substantial choice of colours, including different colours inside and out, aluminium outside and wood inside, and the latest, textured or metallic colours unavailable with PVCu doors.

steel look french doors in the art-deco style fully open leading to a path
French doors with side and top panels.

French Patio Door Options

Single and double doors are the most common, opening in or out and especially suitable for smaller or standard structural openings. Aluminium doors are better for larger openings because aluminium allows wider and taller door leaves than is possible with PVCu doors.

Aluminium doors are typically available at door leaf sites of 1260mm wide for a single door and at least 2460mm wide for French doors, depending on the brand you go with. The same applies to door heights. Aluminium doors come taller than PVCu doors, often up to 2400mm high. The benefit is a larger door, negating the need and the additional cost of a toplight. Some other doors can also be built taller than this if needed.

Most aluminium door brands come with a standard threshold or a low version, ideal for wheelchair users or prams and with a less prominent stepover.

Security Considerations

Most French door systems will include a range of security features, such as multipoint locking, and many have passed the latest PAS024 security tests and Secured by Design. Despite their thin profiles, aluminium doors are safe, secure and weather-resistant.

The final security advantage of French doors is that they provide key access from outside, a feature also available with bifolds but rarely with sliding doors.

Why French Doors Make Great Patio Doors

French doors are ideal for smaller, standard or large openings. They integrate well into a new extension or house. They are the most affordable option for new patio doors compared to the price of a bifold or a sliding door. This style of patio door also works better in character properties.

  • They are familiar to use for young and old.
  • French doors allow you to use your doors as access doors from outside.
  • These doors come in the best Art-Deco or steel look style.
  • A transformation when replacing thick, chunky PVCu French Doors.
  • They have the same security advantages as other aluminium products.

Summary and Questions

Ultimately, choosing the best patio door depends on budget, personal taste and the overall look you want to achieve. French doors today come in all types of frame styles and brands. Get in touch for more information and a local manufacturer, supplier or installer.

What are the size options for Aluminium French doors?

Aluminium French doors are available in various sizes and are suitable for different structural openings. Single-door leaf sizes can be up to 1260mm wide, while French doors can be at least 2460mm wide. They can also be taller than PVCu doors, often reaching up to 2400mm.

How do Aluminium French doors perform in terms of security?

Most Aluminium French door systems include robust security features like multipoint locking systems. Many of them have also passed the latest PAS024 security tests and are Secured by Design certified. Despite their slim profiles, these doors are designed to be safe, secure, and weather-resistant.

Are Aluminium French doors suitable for wheelchair users or prams?

Yes, most brands offer Aluminium French doors with a standard threshold or a low version, ideal for wheelchair users or prams, featuring a less prominent stepover.

Why are Aluminium French doors a great choice for patio doors?

Aluminium French doors are versatile and ideal for small, standard, or large openings. They integrate seamlessly into new extensions or houses, offering an affordable option compared to bifold or sliding doors. Their design, including the Art-Deco or steel look, suits character properties well and provides a familiar use for all ages.

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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
Had a meeting with Nick during the grand designs show. Was extremely helpful and professional would highly recommend
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19:55 13 Sep 23
Extremely helpful with pointing us in the right direction to find the products we required and suggesting firms that could reliably fit them.Nick was quick to reply and very detailed in his advice.Highly recommend reaching out to them.
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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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guard Charlieguard Charlie
12:28 14 May 23
I emailed this company just on the off chance they could help me with new magnetic sliders for my patio door. They were not able to supply those but were so very helpful providing me with the name of a company who could. I am so very grateful at the great service. Dare say customers must be very happy. thank you so much.
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
I asked Nick some questions about an installation we were considering and he replied within hours with some very useful suggestions that will probably lead us to using a different make and supplier. Thanks, Nick. Great work.
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13:18 02 Apr 23
Looking for fair and honest expert advice on all aspect of aluminium windows and doors? These guys will arm you with all the information you need to make the RIGHT choice in a highly complex, crowded marketplace. post a question and you will get a very quick professional answer you can rely on being based on fact. Thanks guys!
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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.
Chantal AuerbachChantal Auerbach
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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17:47 01 Feb 23
So impressed with this company.Responded to my query quickly andgave valuable advice. Nick was extremely helpful and we were able to move forward with our project.
Adri LoloçiAdri Loloçi
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.
Inga GeachInga Geach
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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17:18 10 Dec 22
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11:45 13 Sep 22
Nick has been very helpful on signposting me to a number of partner organisations for steel/aluminium doors.
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17:26 31 Aug 22
My experience with this firm was exceptionally good and this is notalways the case as a female, dipping a toe into technical waters.I was spoken too with courtesy and at a level that helped me consolidate what was needed .On top of that I was given a list of companies and places where I could obtain the type of product I needed.I could not thank them enough and would certainly go there again and reccommend others do too.
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22:39 22 Aug 22
Contacting Aluminium Trade Supply is like contacting the Oracle direct. Advice is always comprehensive and balanced. On multiple occasions they have provided me with options that fully meet our objectives. Many thanks.
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