There are several aluminium window brands, designed to replicate the look of old steel windows and to replace them. But what about steel look doors in aluminium? In this article, we take a look at how you can use steel look doors inside or outside the home. We also provide some information about some of the brands available.
What are steel look doors in aluminium?
With steel look doors so popular, on-trend and timeless, choosing the right product is essential. The look takes inspiration from the iconic metal doors of old such as Crittall™.
It’s worth repeating as we do throughout our website that only the steel product is the genuine article. With steel you get slimmer lines, better looks and the expertly crafted steel product, welded and largely hand made. Aluminium comes close and provides a much cheaper alternative. And as these aluminium systems have developed, they’ve also become more stylish, slimmer and better. However, if for true authenticity, desirability and ultimate style doors, it has to be steel.
Fashions in interior design, as well as architecture, are always changing. While the trend for steel-framed doors is fairly recent, it’s unlikely these products will go out of fashion. Today, they’re one of the most desirable aspects of any home renovation project. Even better is their popularity inside the home too.
The original steel door dates back to Art-Deco designs and well before that in some older buildings. Steel doors are ultra-slim, very robust and feature the thicker panel where the door handle is usually located. The great thing about original steel doors is how symmetrical they look while letting in lots of natural light. The same now applies to the aluminium steel look doors that is a very credible replacement. But it’s about choosing the right product.
Naturally, if you want the real thing, you have to go back to steel. Nothing beats the authentic product. However, with modern steel residential doors such as those by Crittall™ being a phenomenally good product, the reality is that not everyone can afford the genuine article. Steel look doors are not intended to be ‘Crittall™ replacements’ but offer similar slim sightlines and aesthetics.
The glazing bars on steel-styled doors
The thickness of the glazing bars you get on these door types very much depends on your supplier and how they choose to offer the product.
Generally speaking many will use the 41mm transom to line through with the door rails. We know other better suppliers choosing the 25mm slimmer bar also running through consistently with the sidelights.
There are some other products that do this ‘bar’ arrangement badly with thicker sightlines than expect. Bear in mind these are aluminium doors so you will not get the variety of bars on the genuine steel product.
For instance the Innervision, Homelight range, Berkley etc in steel come with glazing bar sizes ranging from 19mm, 26mm, 30mm. Again it’s worth stressing these are aluminium products not steel. Only steel gives the authentic slim lines. Therefore, a good supplier offering 25mm bars is giving you a better product aesthetically.
Steel look doors, design options
Just like aluminium doors, there’s a lot of flexibility in available designs. As long as your doors fall within the design limitations of the system, such as maximum door widths or heights, there’s no reason why you can’t create the look you want.
It’s consistent sightlines that matter with these iconic door designs. Importantly, it’s where you’re having doors with sidelights where they need to line through and look the same. The same also applies to the surrounding sidelight frame. Ensure the lines are consistent throughout the door set. Is it essential? No, but it certainly makes for a better-looking product once installed.
Single and double doors
An excellent solution to terraced or smaller homes with existing French doors or smaller doorways.
Black steel look doors, fitted by Open Living of Hertfordshire.
French doors with Sidelights
One of the most popular designs for typical openings in new extensions. French doors with sidelights provide a balanced door set with symmetry.
Available with equal or unequal panes, these designs work in any setting. Again, notice a well-designed product from an expert supplier comes with consistent slight lines to the rails and framing.
Doors and framing installed by Newlite Home Improvements of East Sussex.
French doors and combination screens
It’s easy to also create substantial screens. This substantial home shows double doors with two sidelights either side and toplights above.
Installation by Aspire Bifolds of Epsom – specialist installer of these aluminium systems.
Some excellent steel look doors in aluminium to consider
Right now, there are only a handful of system designed from the outset as steel look. Others simply add bars to an existing product. Whether these are authentic in look or even worthy of marketing as steel-look is subjective. Of course, budget plays a huge part in any property project. As a result, there’s nothing wrong in opting for something at the right price even if it’s not a true aluminium steel look door product. Here are the best of the present range of steel look products.
aïrMOD series steel look doors
Available to the trade or, for homeowners via a quality dealer network is the aïrMOD system.
Everglade Windows are one of the longest-established aluminium manufacturers, making steel look doors long before they were popular. As well as exterior doors are a range of matching windows and screens.
Duration Windows steel look doors
Available to the trade or, for via the retail route are the steel look doors and windows made by Duration Windows.
Another company with a long history in aluminium manufacturing, Duration also provide a full range of steel-look doors, windows and bifolding doors.
Using Smart Systems but also making Aluk, there’s a host of these art-deco style products.
Smart Systems Alitherm Heritage or Heritage 47
Unquestionably the most popular and one of the best for looks. Smart Systems Alitherm, Heritage or Heritage 47 is the product you see the most as you do your research.
You can find this system as single or double doors, screens and windows. Image shows Alitherm steel look French doors and windows supplied and installed by Newlite Home Improvements.
The Smarts Alitherm Heritage 47 System is, in our view, one of the most authentic-looking aluminium systems for the replacement of old steel doors. We first worked with the Smart Systems door as far back as 2013 when it was quite new in the market. The system was used to replace the old metal doors in a substantial Surrey house where the homeowner was insistent on retaining the look of her old Crittall doors. They were very much part of the overall house style.
Many of the products you’ll see are the Alitherm system under different brand names or re-engineered and improved.
Another well-known brand in steel look systems, windows, doors and bifolds are Aluco. Aluco products you’ll only find via a network of approved dealers.
This system uses the Smart Alitherm system but it’s also customised to great effect for interior doors and screens.
These products are very well made, have excellent hardware choices, and of course look super stylish in the popular black matt finish.
Features of steel look doors in aluminium.
The current generation of steel look doors in aluminium offers all the benefits of modern glazing with the classic look of period doors.
Insulated aluminium frames, high specification glass units, durable powder-coated finishes and latest specification locking systems are just some. So you’re not compromising on energy efficiency, weather performance or security. Here’s some other features you get.
- Doors are suitable for installation as internal or external doors.
- Can open in or out.
- Can couple to sidelights and top glazed panels.
- Are available with run-through mullions and transoms for a consistent appearance and matching glass pattern.
- Substantial colour choices although black remains the most popular.
The steel look is a great way to add a metal screen or door to your home that makes a real statement, especially in the right colour such as black. The other advantage is how much natural light they bring into a room and creating privacy, with a real sense of space. Estate agents call this ‘broken living’, where you can define a zone in the home yet retain the open, airy feel.
Steel look doors with matching screens do not just have to be used for external use or to separate a conservatory. We have helped homeowners create beautiful fixed windows between the hallway and the sitting room. They make great looking room dividers, even shower enclosure screens and glazed partitions. Don’t forget the thermally insulated aluminium and quality glass units that will also make them energy saving.
Security of aluminium steel-look doors.
You may see information on company websites or be told by a salesperson that doors meet the required security standards. There are many badges and labels from Secured By Design and other testing organisations and institutes, relevant to door security but not necessarily to the type and style of door you are about to buy.
It is important we make you aware that not every one of these types of doors has been security tested. While you may read that residential doors are accredited to say, Secured by Design, always ask your installer for details of the security test. Not every version of a residential door is tested. By version, we mean:
- The door configuration such as whether it is a single door or double door set.
- Whether the door has a sidelight or just a full frame.
- The type of safety glass fitted – laminated, toughened and the glass/unit thickness.
- The size of door tested.
- Whether the door opens in or out.
Smart Systems tells us that their Alitherm Heritage door is not security tested; this has also been verified by a number of their large and established manufacturers. This does not mean that your door will be easy to break into or that you are getting a door that is not secure. What this means is that this product has not been put through official security tests to obtain certification. This may or may not affect your home insurance policy and we advise that you carry out the necessary checks.
Steel look sliding and bifolding doors
If you are looking for sliding or bifolding doors with the steel look, it is a little more challenging than French doors. The main reason is that there are slimline sliding door systems but to re-create the steel look aluminium plant-on bars have to be fitted. This is not a difficult job for a good manufacturer and a competent installer, but cutting, machining and getting the bars absolutely right is key.
Most installers attempt to offer an otherwise standard bifolding door and try to create the steel look with it. In our view it can look very authentic when done right. It is worth remembering a bifolding and sliding door will have thicker door and frame profiles so getting the slimline look throughout needs careful thought and planning with your installer as to what size bars they intend to use. Many homeowners like it and choose it. Take a look at some products and decide for yourselves if you like the look.
Frameless steel-look doors.
One of the most recent innovations in steel look systems is a frameless system. Shown here in an internal setting, this is a beautiful screen using only the minimum of aluminium profiles, with ingenious glass design. Made by Frameless Glass Curtains of Kent, this is another great product, giving the steel-look inside the home.
Get in touch for more information and where to buy steel look doors in aluminium?
We can put you in touch with a local showroom showcasing the latest steel look doors in aluminium as well as authentic steel look aluminium windows.
Use our contact form to get in touch and find out more.