Over the years we have seen tremendous growth in the use of aluminium in all aspects of building design and development. Not only is aluminium used to improve the building framework, but it is also used to enhance the aesthetics and interior design. One of the places where this comes to life is through the increased use of aluminium sliding doors in both residential and commercial builds.
What has created this trend?
Doors are a focal point in any home, office, hotel or building as they frame the space and the view. The versatility of this metal lends itself to many different door design options. Whether you are looking to enhance the lobby of a hotel or a pool area, create an open space that connects the interior to the exterior or create a flexible working or living space, aluminium sliding doors can answer any of these needs.
Doors set the tone for your experience within an area, which is why they are so important architecturally. Aluminium sliding doors tick many of the design boxes, not only do they provide a fresh aesthetic, but they are cost-effective, require little maintenance and are highly functional. Aluminium doors have become a simple and elegant solution for any build.
What has made aluminium sliding doors so popular in recent years?
- Architecture is dynamic and ever-changing. Over the years we have seen the increase in contemporary modern design and minimalism, a move towards open and flexible spaces that allow for freedom of movement and a shift into creating open plan areas that easily transition the interior to the exterior. With all these changes in design, it makes sense to use door systems that could fit into any aesthetic and will remain timeless regardless of changes made to the interior or exterior design. Aluminium doors fill this function, they integrate seamlessly into any building and have several functional benefits that appeal to the client. Such benefits include:
Enhancing Energy Efficiency
Aluminium sliding doors provide excellent insulation by keeping in warmth during the colder months and remaining cool during the warmer months. This is an added benefit to your monthly electricity bill and the environment. Less heating and air conditioning mean lower energy consumption and savings on your monthly electricity costs. Aluminium doors assist with temperature regulations and the highly effective insulation of sliding doors stops draughts, dust and damp entering the building, as well as creating an effective sound barrier.
Durability and Longevity
Aluminium sliding doors are known to be exceptionally strong. Their longevity under the strains of daily wear and tear is unsurpassed, with minimal degradation compared to other materials. Not only is aluminium known to stand the test of time but it is rust and corrosion resistant and requires little maintenance over time. The glazing materials used on the glass has practical benefits which include the reduction of UV rays coming into space thereby enhancing the longevity of your furnishings and flooring. Glazing also increases energy efficiency, acoustic insulation and can reduce temperature condensation on the glass in hot or cold climates.
Creating an indoor-outdoor flow has become an essential aspect for many clients who are looking for a seamless transition between the interior and exterior elements of a building. Having a large expanse of sliding doors gives a space the illusion of walls ‘disappearing’ when you want them to. When these doors open to an entertainment area, swimming pool, fireplace or exquisite garden, it turns a home or building into a cohesive space, full of potential and promise. A great indoor/outdoor flow allows for more interaction with the outdoors, even when the doors are not open. You can appreciate the surrounding environment – a garden, the sea, a skyline, sunsets and sunrises.
The glass panes of aluminium sliding doors instantly increase the amount of natural light filtering through the building. Natural light has been proven to boost health, wellbeing, mood, energy and productivity. It is connected to our brain function and natural circadian rhythms. Whether in the home, work environment, school or hospital, natural light is a key benefit to the positivity and health of the people in the building.
Sliding doors are a great space saver and allow you to utilise every inch of space. There is no need for hinges or extra space required for a door to swing.
If you use aluminium for your sliding doors, there is the added benefit that it is recyclable.
Style and Security
Glass sliding doors add a fresh, modern look and breathtaking style to any build. The extra light that comes through the glass panes gives any room a feeling of airiness and openness. The natural light enhances all elements of the area, colours are given more depth, and furniture pieces are framed in the space. In the past, many clients have been nervous about the safety and security of sliding doors, worried about the glass shattering and how easy it would be to get into a home or office space through the sliding doors. Modern sliding doors have made great headway by incorporating shatterproof glass and having robust locking mechanisms ensuring that your family or staff are always safe. In addition, you can have a hook-over locking mechanism installed on sliding doors preventing them from being disengaged from the frame.
Why aluminium sliding doors make sense architecturally:
Aluminium sliding doors have many benefits that speak to the client’s needs, as explained above, but what about the benefits to architecture. One of the main benefits of this metal is that it lends itself to customisation, which for many architects looking to create multi-functional, open and versatile spaces, is music to their ears. There are several other advantages to using aluminium doors which include:
- Versatility – aluminium is a versatile metal that lends itself to many different design applications, to suit any architectural design, both residential and commercial.
- Durability – aluminium is a lightweight strong mental known for its strength and durability. It is perfectly suited for the South African climate and weather conditions. It will not warp, crack or discolour over time.
- Aesthetic appeal – aluminium door frames and glass have many different colour and glazing options which allow for customisation to match your space.
- Energy efficiency – there are single or double-glazing options for the glass panes. Glazing improves insulation and energy efficiency, resulting in less energy needed to cool and warm the home.
- Minimal maintenance– aluminium doors require less maintenance over time as the aluminium frame is corrosion and rust-resistant. High-quality aluminium door frames are powder-coated, which ensures that they will maintain their sleek look and longevity.
- Variety of sizes, glazing and finishes – there are several different size options, powder-coated colours to match any colour as well as single and double glass gazing options available depending on the type of aluminium sliding door system chosen. Not only does this provide variety, but it allows you to create a sliding door system to suit your needs and applications.
Aluminium doors tick many design and functionality boxes for both clients and architects. They are aesthetically appealing and come in a range of different sizes, shapes and designs to fit a variety of applications.
Different Types of Aluminium sliding doors
There are many aluminium door options available on the market, allowing you to provide your clients with options based on their needs and the design of the build. When choosing aluminium as your medium of choice for doors, you can rest assured of its durability and functionality. They will stand the test of time, for both their long-lasting properties and aesthetic appeal. Aluminium door options include:
Sliding folding doors have grown in popularity over the last few years. These doors are perfect for creating an open, workable, movable and mobile space. They allow for flow from indoor to outdoor spaces, ideal for entertainment areas, pool terraces, bar areas and more. You can rest assured that these doors are made with the highest quality aluminium and glass and will stand the test of time, putting any concerns about the usability and practicality of installing this type of door in the home or office to rest. They also have the following features:
- They are double sealed to ensure no leaking due as a result of weather conditions.
- Have a smooth operating action to ensure ease and usability.
- Use a double-action locking mechanism to enhance safety and security, giving you peace of mind.
- Have a bottom rolling system that facilitates ease of use.
- Are available in a wide range of designs, powder-coated colours and glass. Ensuring that the folding doors match the aesthetic of your space.
- These doors have a lead time of 14 to 21 days for manufacturing.
The Serene Tilt and Turn Doors are like the bi-fold sliding folding doors but have a completely different aesthetic and operating action. These doors were inspired by European designs and have a very modern and sophisticated aesthetic. They are made from high-quality hardware and are incredibly versatile. What makes these doors so distinctive is the inward tilting feature. They also have the following features:
- Effective seals make this system draft-free and watertight while protecting you against summer heat and winter cold.
- Suitable for both single and double-glazing options.
- Available in a variety of popular architectural powder coating colours and finishes.
- Are ideal for high-end residential and modern commercial buildings.
- This door system has a 5 to 8 week manufacturing lead time.
Prima/Patio sliding doors are perfect for having an enclosed space yet still wanting it to feel open. This sliding door system works well in patio areas and similarly in office spaces to create separate offices or boardrooms. These doors offer a contemporary aesthetic appeal and add a sleek and modern look to any. They also have the following features:
- Are sealed effectively using draught-proof wool pile.
- Are glazed with 6.38mm Laminated Safety glass.
- Are fully reversible, which means they can open on the right or left-hand side.
- Are fitted with nylon rollers and weatherproof corner sealing pads between sill and jamb frame, rubber stoppers in the head and sill frame with double screw ports in the outer frame to ensure stability.
- Fitted with standard lever lock handles, but cylinder locks, night locks and night latches are available, to ensure your safety and security.
- These doors have a lead time of 7 to 10 days for assembly.
Hinge doors are an excellent choice for internal and external openings of houses or buildings. They lend themselves to both commercial and residential spaces and can be manufactured as single or double doors. They are robust, secure and fully weatherproof, ensuring protection against daily wear and tear.
- These doors are available in a wide range of powder-coated colours to choose from. There are also several different glass options.
- Match these doors to your needs and aesthetics with custom handles, locks and other hardware options.
- Parliament hinges will be fitted where a 180-degree opening is required.
- There are different privacy glass or patterned finishes available.
- This is a fantastic option for stable doors for a kitchen, a laundry or even an office space.
- This door has a lead time of 5 to 7 days.
A pivot door gives a space the wow factor. The name comes from the swinging motion that the door makes when it moves. The door rotates on a spindle, as opposed to fixed hinges, attached to the frame. These aluminium doors are often used as statement pieces and are bigger and heavier than other doors systems.
- They are available in a wide range of powder-coated colours and have different glass options available.
- Customise your door with different handles, locks, hardware, privacy glass or patterned finishes.
- This door has a lead time of 5 to 7 days.
Aesthetically, Palace Multi Sliding Doors add grandeur to any entrance. These sliding doors are bigger than your average sliding doors system and act as a statement piece in any building. They can be made up of several panels and now also have a multidoor sliding option.
- These doors are heavy-duty and are ideal for higher wind and deflection applications.
- There are different panel configurations to suit your needs.
- Windows can also be inserted into this door design.
- These doors have a lead time of 15 to 20 days to manufacture.
The Knysna Sliding doors are known for their smooth and light sliding action, as well as their reliable and secure locking mechanism. They integrate into any space effortlessly with their design aesthetic and are excellent in sealing against water and air infiltration, making these doors perfect for coastal areas and areas that experience extreme weather conditions.
- This type of sliding door is available in a range of durable and popular architectural colours and finishes
- They have been designed to suit standard sliding door glass sizes
- The Knysna sliding door is excellent at sealing against water and air infiltration
- There are usually fixed or multi-sliding sash options available
- They come with a reliable and secure locking mechanism to ensure safety and security
- The smooth and light sliding action enhance ease of use and functionality.
- These doors require a lead time of 14 to 21 days to manufacture
Choosing the right aluminium doors for your client
With so many aluminium door options to choose from, the possibilities are endless, but it is essential to choose the right door system for your client’s needs.
When making this decision, you need to discuss with your client their use of the space, who will be using it and what they want to achieve. This will give you a better idea of what doors would be suitable. For example, if the doors are for a family who entertains a lot and want to position the space around this, Sliding Folding Doors would be a great option as they completely open up space and create a fantastic interior to exterior flow. In the case of seaside office space, you may want to look at using the Palace Sliding Doors which will enhance the beautiful view of the ocean and still be practical enough when opening up onto a balcony.
To make the best possible choice, you also need to consider the property, area and climate. Look at the amount of dust, the terrain, rainfall and what the climate is like, as these elements will influence the type of door system needed and the longevity of the doors.
The design of the build also impacts the door system chosen and it needs to be determined if the doors are standard in terms of size or if they will require customisation.
Once you have considered all these factors and decided on a door system to suit your clients’ needs, you need to decide on a supplier to help you fulfil these requirements.
Here are our top 6 tips for choosing the right aluminium door supplier:
1. Choose a full-service provider
When choosing an aluminium door supplier, it is essential to look for a full-service provider. This would be a supplier that will source, supply, manufacture and install the aluminium doors for you. This reduces the possibility of errors and saves on cost by removing the middleman, ultimately ensuring that the project is streamlined and that there are not too many different moving parts, thereby simplifying the process.
2. Look for experience
When choosing a supplier, take a look at how long they have been in business. This will give you an idea of their quality of work and service. A company that has been going for a number of years will be able to show you examples of previous work completed, giving you an idea of what their work will look like and what they have worked on in the past.
3. Aluminium Suppliers need to be building compliant
It is always important to make sure the products being manufactured comply with building standards and regulations specifically meeting the South African National Standard Building Regulations and the South African Bureau of Standards (SANS). These regulations ensure the quality and structural integrity of the aluminium doors. Some other regulations to look out for within this space are certifications from the Association of Architectural Aluminium Manufacturers of South Africa (AAAMSA), the South African Glass Glazing Association (SAGGA) and the South African Fenestration and the Insulation & Energy Rating Association (SAFIERA).
4. Customisation is key
Not all projects are the same, and some are more complicated than others. The right supplier needs to think outside of the box and help provide a solution for whatever the project requires. You want a supplier that can modify the end-product to meet the specifications of the job and help to make your vision a reality.
5. Ask the hard questions
Do not be afraid to ask the hard questions. You need to make sure you are making the best possible choice for your build or project. Ask about the following:
- Service delivery and their ability to meet deadlines
- Average lead times
- The quality of the aluminium and glass being used
- The lifespan and durability of the aluminium windows and doors
- What will happen if any structural issues are discovered?
- What is the warranty on the products?
6. Look for a supplier that will provide you with expert advice
Look for a supplier who can give you the right advice and options. A supplier who will look at the project as a whole and suggest products that will meet the needs of the design, not only the aesthetic elements but the functional elements as well. The right supplier will consider the region, location, weather and what the doors and windows will be exposed to. From here, they will be able to advise on the options that would work best for that project.
The benefits of aluminium sliding doors are endless, not only are they stylish and aesthetically versatile, but they are durable and energy-efficient. This is largely why these door systems have become so popular in recent years. This popularity has led to the design and development of several different aluminium sliding door options that cater to different needs, applications, aesthetics and functionalities. This variety has opened an opportunity for architects to think outside of the box, enhance spaces and capitalise on beautiful views. Choosing the best door system for your client’s needs should remain at the forefront of this process. One way to ensure this is done is to partner with a knowledgeable supplier who understands the design needs and considers the different factors that could impact the door system like climate, region and weather.
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