The beauty of using steel as a framing solution for a patio door is that the stronger material is able to give you a slimmer sightline than the same door size in aluminium or timber. This slim framing profile can then be used to create steel framed patio doors that have smaller frames and allow you to maximise the glass in the opening.
However, the current trend in steel door design is to incorporate additional framing into the patio door, therefore reducing the amount of glass in the opening and increasing the frame.
So when it comes to a steel patio door design which is best; more frame or more glass?
The inclusion of additional glazing bars within a steel door set is extremely ‘on trend’ at the moment. These horizontal and vertical glazing bars within the door face call back to a more classical style of window and door design where additional framing bars were required to add strength to a window opening. Thanks to the advance in steel fabrication and technology this is no longer the case but these dissecting glazing bars have become a staple design feature of industrial architecture.
Most traditional steel doors will include some kind of glazing bar design. You can tailor the glazing bar design within your steel doors to suit either the neighbouring properties, existing buildings or your preferred style.
Glazing Bars in steel systems can either be true (where the bar is a true piece of frame that dissects through the glass) or adhered (where the glazing bar is applied to the surface of the glass). Both options are available for your steel patio door, however, keep in mind that you will be able to achieve a much more intricate glazing bar design with an adhered glazing bar than a true one.
The inclusion of glazing bars and additional framing elements into a steel door can add character and further interest to your glazing design. Rather than a clear piece of glass designed to capture the view outside, your glazing then becomes part of the building design and the internal view.
Now that glazing bars with steel systems are not a structurally integral part they are not required in order to create a thermally broken steel door. This offers freedoms in the design of the door set and the creation of large, slim framed patio doors without dissecting glazing bars.
French or Belgium doors with a steel frame are used to fantastic effect as rear patio doors where smaller apertures are available. This could be on a city centre rear extension or on a country manor, the effect is the same.
Take this London extension for example. The small rear extension was designed with character, offering a modern open plan living space internally and a more traditional design for the external elevation, more in keeping with the neighbouring properties.
By using the slim framing profiles of the Mondrian® CWS-65 Slim system the architects were able to maximise the amount of glass within the small patio door opening. No glazing bars were used across the face but a solid ‘kick plate’ was included to the base of the doors designed in line with the base of the solid brick wall to the side.
As the frames were made from thermally broken galvanised steel they were then powder coated a dark grey colour which offers a great contrast with the light brick.
Both options offer a modern and effective design for your architectural design. The real decision is what type of design you want to achieve. For those that want to maximise the glass in a small aperture then a slim framed steel door with no framing divisions will be the best option. For those that want to make the steel doors more of a design feature then the inclusion of a bespoke glazing bar design will offer character and artisan style.
Take a look at the Mondrian® Inspiration page for more project ideas and ways in which you can tailor your steel doors to suit your project design.