The differences between Steel and Aluminium Bifold Doors.
When looking for a new patio door a bi folding door is still one of the most popular design choices available. A bifold door set will open up an entire wall of a house to the garden providing a 90% clear opening. This is a great solution for projects looking for an internal to external living space that act as one environment.
Both aluminium and steel are popular framing options for modern bi folding door systems. As long as the metal frame is fully thermally broken they will provide a robust barrier to the elements and ensure that the internal living spaces are well insulated.
But which framing material is best for your project? Here is a brief guide explaining the main differences between the two framing materials:
Cost – Aluminium framing systems are by far the most cost effective option for bifold doors. Steel as a material is much more expensive to buy and is also more time consuming to work and manipulate. For this reason aluminium bi folding doors are a lot more common that their steel counterpart as the advantages of a steel frame rarely outright the uplift in cost.
Frame Sizes – Steel has the reputation of providing you much slimmer framing than aluminium. The same applies to steel bi folding doors however the reduction in frame size is minimal. An aluminium bi-folding door will give you a vertical frame junction of 120mm, a steel version will offer 100mm. Only 2 cm thinner.
Maintenance – Aluminium Bi-fold doors are very low maintenance products that are often used because of the materials innate ability to resist rust. A polyester powder coat applied to the frame will protect and maximise the life-cycle of the product with little maintenance required. A bifolding door made from Galvanised Steel will offer similar levels of maintenance although doors in harsher environments may want to consider a stainless steel frame.
Strength – The density of Steel is 2.5 times more than aluminium which means aluminium bi fold doors are lighter allowing greater ease of opening and closing. However, this difference in density also means that steel is a lot stronger and more rigid than aluminium.
Please look at the table below showing a comparison between Aluminium and Steel:
|Characteristics||Steel is tough, strong and heavy||Aluminium is a lightweight, malleable and durable metal|
|Endurance||Easily corrosive and rust if not properly primed||Improbable to hollow, rust and resistant to weather|
|Energy Efficiency||Highly efficient if paired with a thermal break||Highly efficient if paired with a thermal break|
|Frame Sizes||Vertical profiles approx. 100mm||Vertical profiles approx. 120mm|
|Maintenance||Dependent on material and finish chosen||Low Maintenance|
|Cost||Costly than Aluminium due to the complex manufacturing process||More cost-effective than Steel|
|Configuration||Outward/ inward opening. Left / right folding / bi-parting||Outward/ inward opening. Left / right folding / bi-parting|
|Maximum Sizes||1200 mm wide x 3000 mm high per panel||1200 mm wide x 3000 mm high per panel|
|Powder Coated in which RAL Colours||Any RAL Colour to suit building design||Any RAL Colour to suit building design|
|Weight||Heavier than Aluminium||Lighter than Steel|
|Glass Thickness||6-45 mm||6-45 mm|
Maximum Glass Weight
|100 kg per leaf||100 kg per leaf|
Due to the additional weight of steel large elevations of steel bi fold doors may be very difficult to open and manoeuvre. In these instances, an aluminium frame will offer you a more lightweight construction that can fold and stack back in installs up to 7 panes long.
Although the look of steel is a highly sought after design finish a steel bi folding door may not be suitable for your project design. Instead, we recommend a steel look bi folding door which is actually made from an aluminium frame. The resulting design is very similar but without the massive uplift in cost or the additional maintenance.
For those that wish for a true steel door installation, a Belgium set Door (a French Door with fixed sidelights either side) in thermally broken steel may be more suitable.
If you want to find out more about metal framed bi fold doors or you have any more questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call us on 01494 722880