Once you’ve committed to fit sliding doors to your property there are a range of different materials that can be used to construct the frames that will hold your new glass. Here, we’re going to look at two popular and commonly used materials to help you make an informed choice about what type of sliding doors to fit.
Unlike the first generation of aluminium windows and doors that came onto the market in the 1970s, today’s aluminium sliding doors are the highest of glazing technology.
The natural strength of aluminium sliding doors allows the frames to be narrower than other materials, meaning larger areas of glass can be used. Aluminium is also 100% recyclable, with no loss of quality.
Aluminium is a very durable material, even during extreme weather changes your sliding doors will hardly expand and contract. In fact, aluminium expands just 1mm per metre, making it well suited for larger windows and sliding doors.
In addition to its strength and durability, aluminium is a great aesthetic material for sliding doors as it won’t have unsightly joints, it won’t rot, and it won’t need to be painted regularly for maintenance. The homeowner can also choose from hundreds of colours for the frames of their sliding doors.
What about timber?
Timber windows and sliding doors can be made from a softwood or hardwood. The softwood (usually a redwood) will often come with a chain of custody certifying that it is from carefully managed sustainable forests. There are several species of hardwood that may be used. As hardwood is slower growing and often comes from developing countries where the certification and chain of custody processes are more prone to corruption, hardwood can be more difficult to justify environmentally.
Whether hardwood or softwood, timber windows and doors often have a more traditional appearance, and for the homeowner may give a softer, cosier feel to the property. As the frames are usually given a painted or stained finish, the colour options are almost infinite, although generally you have to have the same colour inside and out. Of course, these windows and doors will require regular maintenance to keep them looking good and to make them last as long as they should.
It is increasingly popular to use engineered timber where the knots have been cut out and three or four layers of timber are laminated together. This has the advantage of being much less likely to twist and warp with changes in the weather but can mean that zigzag joints in the wood called finger joints are visible. In time they may even be apparent through a paint finish.
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