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.
|Aluminium French Doors Advantages
|Compared to Bifolding/Sliding Doors
|Ideal for smaller or standard openings, easy integration into houses
|Bifolds/Sliding doors require larger openings
|More affordable option
|Bifolds/Sliding doors are generally more expensive
|Style and Aesthetics
|Classic Art-Deco/steel look, suits character properties
|Modern style of Bifolds/Sliding doors may not blend with traditional architecture
|Lower thresholds, suitable for wheelchair/pram access
|Sliding doors might have higher thresholds
|Key access from outside, multi-point locking
|Sliding doors often lack external key access; bifolds may have more potential security points due to folding mechanism
|Ease of Use
|Familiar usage, no complex opening mechanism
|Bifolds/Sliding doors require more space and have more complex mechanisms
When to choose French doors over the alternatives
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.
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.
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.
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.