Aluminium French Doors

Aluminium French doors for a patio door are making a resurgence due to the popularity of black steel, Art Deco, industrial or Crittall® style look. They also have many advantages, particularly as replacement doors for most UK homes.

There are many other choices for patio doors, so, let’s compare aluminium French doors with other patio door types to help you decide which is best for you and your home.

Structural SuitabilityFrench doors are ideal for smaller openings, easy installationBifolding and sliding doors require larger openings, ideally minimum 3 standards doors wide
Cost-effectivenessFrench doors are a more affordable optionBifolding and sliding doors are generally more expensive and more expensive to install
Style and aestheticsFrench doors look great in a Art Deco, black steel look which suits most UK propertiesModern look bifolding and sliding doors may not blend with existing UK architecture
SecurityFrench doors have key access from outside and multi-point locking. Many have passed the PAS 24 security test and Secured by Design.Sliding doors often lack external key access; bifolds may have more potential security points due to folding
Ease of useFrench doors have a familiar usage, no complex opening mechanismBifolding and sliding doors require more space and have more complex mechanisms
Table showing the advantages of French doors compared to bifolding and sliding doors

Aluminium French doors security

Security is a major consideration when choosing external doors. Most aluminium French doors include a range of security features, such as multipoint locking, and many have passed the latest PAS 24 security tests and are 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.

Aluminium French doors for a patio versus alternative doors

First, your choice of patio doors depends on your project. Are you replacing patio doors, having an extension or building a new home?

As a replacement, you may be restricted to a set opening width and height and, hence, the type of patio doors unless you intend to make the opening wider, which would involve a structural engineer. French doors are perfect for smaller openings. For extensions and new builds, you have more flexibility with your choice of opening size. Bifolding and sliding doors are stunning for wide openings, but French doors can also have the wow appeal by adding side panels and having multiple smaller door openings across one wall.

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

You need to decide how you want to use the doors. How often will you use them as exits and entrances? Do you have a view or garden you want to make the most of? Do you want a clear glass modern look or prefer the grid glazing bars or a cottage or industrial style?

Sliding and bifolding patio doors are fantastic for blending indoor and outdoor spaces, especially on those lovely warm days when you can open up the wall to your garden, patio, or balcony. However, being realistic, the doors will be closed most of the year in the UK, so how often will you open them? You also need to consider that you will be looking through them most of the time, so which aesthetic do you like? Lastly, if you use them as a daily entrance and exit point, which type of patio door is more practical?

So, let’s look at the options for an existing opening.

Choosing aluminium French doors for an existing opening

When replacing patio doors, the size of your structural opening will have an impact on the number of doors and fixed panels. Take a look at the door configuration options:

Up to 2 mSingle and the classic double French door works well, opening inwards or outwards. You can get away with slightly narrower options by having smaller panels.
Over 2 mDouble doors with one or two side panels work best for openings between two and four metres.
Over 4 mLarger existing or new extensions extend your options to having more than one double door set or a combination of double or single doors with side and top fixed glass panels. A good installer can help you design the most suitable option.
Aluminium French door configuration options
french doors in white at the back of a new extension

Four reasons to buy aluminium French doors

You can get reliable, secure, and weather-resistant doors made of aluminium, PVCu, timber, or a hybrid that combines two materials. However, aluminium beats them all in four significant areas.

1. You get slimmer frames with aluminium French doors

Regarding which doors are the slimmest, aluminium is hard to beat. 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. So, if reducing the visible sightlines of frame profiles matters, aluminium gives you the slimmest. Choose a fully glazed steel-looking door, and you benefit from the thinnest frame French doors.

2. Larger doors mean more glass and more light with aluminium French doors

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

Aluminium doors are typically available at 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. Choose the right aluminium French door, and it’ll comfortably go higher. The benefits are fewer aluminium profiles, larger glass sizes, more light, and better views.

3. You can match aluminium products with aluminium French doors

There is nothing wrong with mixing and matching French doors with bifolding or sliding doors, which can be done easily with aluminium. For example, you can have a large extension with bifolding doors in your living area and a nearby study or dining room leading to the garden, which would suit single or French doors with the same aluminium profiles.

If you wish you can also match with new aluminium windows, but there is also nothing wrong with mixing materials to suit the style of the house.

4. More choice of designs with aluminium French doors

You can choose the plain full glass panel or, very popular at the moment, the black steel look. This style is the iconic thin black-framed windows and doors with a distinctive box grid design. They are also referred to as Art Deco, 1920s, 1930s, black steel, industrial, heritage, and Crittall® style windows and doors. The design options for aluminium French doors are endless. You could even go bespoke and design your own grid pattern to replicate and match a historic style you have.

The significant benefit of aluminium is the choice of RAL colours. Black steel look and the softer anthracite grey are the most popular colours for aluminium French doors; however, with powder-coating, the world is your oyster!

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

Why choose aluminium French doors?

To summarise aluminium French doors are perfect when replacing old doors in smaller, standard openings. However, they can also accommodate larger openings when designing a new extension or house as an alternative to bifold or sliding doors.

They are the most affordable option for new patio doors compared to a bifold or a sliding door. This patio door style also works better for character properties.

  • The French door operation is easy and familiar to operate.
  • French doors allow you to lock and use your doors as entrance doors from outside.
  • Aluminium French doors are stunning in the Art Deco or black steel look style..
  • Aluminium French doors provide a modern transformation when replacing thick, chunky PVCu French Doors.
  • French doors have the same security advantages as other aluminium products.

Ultimately, choosing the best patio door depends on budget, personal taste, and the overall look you want to achieve. Do you have any further questions? Contact us for advice and information regarding local suppliers and installers.