Aluminum patio sliding and bi-fold doors – which system will be right for you?

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Currently, the fenestration market has many systems of aluminum patio sliding doors, so no matter if you need them for a London terraced house, a single-family house in Belgium or a modern residence on the coast of the United States – you will always find something for yourself. However, you are probably wondering which solution best suits your project and ponder which aspects are important while choosing the system. To make your decision easier, we have prepared a comparison of lift-and-slide, frameless, bi-fold and classic sliding slide window systems.

After reading this article you will know:

What’s in favor of aluminum?

  • aluminum is characterized by greater durability compared to PVC or wood, often looks better aesthetically, but above all, it is more resistant to weather conditions or scratches, while requiring less maintenance
  • aluminum systems allow larger structures to be made, which is suitable for current architectural trends
  • the price difference between aluminum HS and PVC systems in the current market conditions has become so small that it is not worth to buy plastic HS with inferior quality, because aluminum systems are only 20% more expensive
  • according to the experience of our partners, aluminum constructions are subject to the smallest number of complaints

MB-77HS Monorail vs MB-77HS Standard

Our firm favorite is the HS Monorail, which usually meets the demands of most of our partners. So let’s compare it with the classic 2-wing HS from the same system provider.

frame comparision of MB77-HS vs frame of Monorail visualisation

Frame of MB-77HS vs frame of Monorail

Advantages of MB-77HS Monorail

  • its more favorable thermal performance and air tightness allow you to save on heating, in this version of HS there is more glass, which is a better insulator than aluminum, thus the Uw/U-Factor coeffcient of HS coefficient is lower by up to 0.25 W/(m²K) than the standard model, and significantly more light enters the room
  • is about 6% cheaper than MB-77HS Standard

schematy otwierania drzwi tarasowych

Disadvantages of MB-77HS Monorail

  • the structure is visually asymmetrical, you must discuss this aspect with the end customer or architect
  • the standard HS has more design options, while the Monorail can only be produced in the A, C or G opening scheme

Detailed comparison of aluminum sliding systems

Before you decide to buy sliding systems, you need to remember that their installation is definitely different from the assembly of standard windows and requires the participation of a qualified installation team. To illustrate:

  • it is important to take care of accurate levelling or appropriate force when attaching anchors or screws, so as not to bend the frames, any bending of them even by 2 mm will result in the sash not moving smoothly, and it may even jam when trying to slide it
  • frameless systems have wings glued into the frame with silicone, so they are not glazed like other systems, because the whole glazed wings are inserted right into the frame

Due to transport or technical circumstances, the frame may be dismantled into parts, and then you or your installation team must assemble the structure so that it is even and the wings can be easily inserted. But fret not, our team will help you decide which transport option will be best for you – with the windows separately in the transport frames or maybe with the frames disassembled separately into parts.

As for security, burglar protection can be upgraded in any system for an extra charge. As we mentioned above in frameless systems, the glass is glued in, so it is difficult to remove it, however, you need to make sure that the manufacturer does not use exterior glazing, because if the glass is not glued in then a prepared burglar, can easily remove it. debesto, however, increases anti-theft protection by recommending and using safety glass – mainly tempered or laminated.

Comparing other systems to HS, prices are as follows:

  • Panoramic (frameless sliding doors) – approx. 50% more expensive
  • Bi-fold – approx. 10% more expensive
  • Slide – approx. 40% cheaper
CharacteristicsHS – lift-and-slide doorsPanoramic – frameless sliding doorsBi-fold – accordion systemSlide – basic sliding window-door system
Maximum sash dimensions (mm)3300 x 36004000 x 40001600 x 24001800 x 2600
Threshold height after installation (mm)Thresholdless below 10 mmThresholdless, below 10 mmLow, around 25 mmHigh, around 50 mm
Width of the center mullion (mm)47.52513395
Heat transmission coefficient U-Factor (ft²⋅°F), Uw – W/(m²K)U-Factor = 0.17
Uw = 0.96
U-Factor = 0.18
Uw = 1.0
U-Factor = 0.21
Uw = 1.18
U-Factor = 0.30
Uw = 1.7
Possibility of using an electric motorYESYESNONO
Estimated price starting from (EUR)* 2 7204 1752 9751 530

*In terms of price differences – we compare all constructions with HS, with dimensions of 3000×2200 mm, opening scheme A, tempered glass, without electric drive

HS lift-and-slide system

  • will work well both in a single-family home and in apartments or hotels
  • will allow you to save space, because its sash opens parallel to the wall
  • can have a very low threshold or even be thresholdless, so it is suitable for children and people who have problems with mobility, in addition, it can be easily opened or closed
  • its sashes can be as large in structural size as frameless systems, but they are more massive, even when a narrow center mullion is used
  • achieves the best thermal performance among the compared systems
  • microventilation can be added so the HS slightly unseals
  • a good solution for investments with not the highest budget

visualisation panoramic frameless slide door schuco

Panoramic frameless sliding window in the premium segment

  • apart from its traditional use as a building element for terraces, balconies or conservatories, the panoramic is also suitable for commercial or public use buildings
  • particularly well-liked by architects and clients who want a minimalist look and as much glazing as possible, which at the same time maintains favorable thermal properties
  • in the panoramic windows, it is possible to fully hide the frames around the perimeter (including the threshold), and glazing occupies about 94% of the surface of the entire structure
  • the system allows for elegant finishes, such as a handle hidden in the center mullion

Bi-fold accordion system

  • if you want a total opening, along with the greatest passage of light, this system is the ideal option
  • compared to other systems, it does not provide such good air tightness, because there is only a brush at the bottom of the sash, which can cause draft, so it is rather suitable for public places (for example, a café) than houses (unless they are located in a mild climate)
  • the most frequent subject of complaints due to their complicated mechanism (the right bolts must hit the rail for the door to close, which is easy to disrupt), because of this they are also more difficult to operate

visualisation of an aluminum bi-fool door
visualisation of a sliding aluminum patio door

Slide – basic sliding window-door system

  • the least technologically advanced system that fits locations with mild climates that do not require high airtightness and temperature protection – such as in the Mediterranean or the south of France
  • worth considering it if you care about the lowest possible price and do not have high aesthetic requirements, however, their use increases the likelihood that you will have to repair or maintain them due to their lower quality
  • check whether the local building code, allows for the system to be of U-Factor higher than 0.30

All the aforementioned systems are powder-coated, covered with a coating imitating the texture of wood, or anodized, allowing you to choose colors from the RAL palette that is rich in tones. You can also select different finishes, such as glossy or matte.

A more cost-effective solution?

For low-budget projects, we recommend the smart sliding system – Gealan Smoovio or Aluplast Smart Slide. If you have other questions related to PVC patio sliding windows, check out our article where we compare PVC PSK, HST and Smart-Slide systems.

As you can see, the purchase of an aluminum sliding system is a significant investment, which additionally requires cooperation with experienced window fitters, as well as logisticians, who must take great care of the transportation of such a structure – but you can leave all shipping (and other) issues to debesto.

ktoczek

about author

Katarzyna Toczek

Technology consultant at debesto.com, a company from Poland that specializes in the export of windows and doors in the B2B segment to countries like Germany, France, UK, but also the USA or Seychelles.

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faq

debesto.com – who are we and what do we do?

1.What will I gain from working with you?

First of all, you’ll save your TIME. We will do the whole work with ordering doors, windows, gates, and blinds for you. Why should you outsource it to us? 
  • You will get products in a quality which was checked by us.
  • You don’t have to worry about meeting the deadline or financial condition of the supplier - we order the production only to verified companies.
  • We’ll find products that suit your needs - it doesn’t matter if that are windows, wooden or aluminum doors, PCV, blinds, or garage doors.
  • One complete transport at a lower price instead of a few different ones will come to the place of investment.
  • You’ll comfortably get everything done with one adviser, one invoice, one transfer, and only one place where you can (if necessary) make a complaint.
 

2. Does your company produce windows?

We aren’t just a traditional producer. We order the production of doors, windows, gates, and blinds inside of a network of selected and verified suppliers in terms of production punctuality, their financial condition, and the quality of products. We call ourselves the broker on a polish joinery market. We’ll do all of the arduous work with ordering the joinery from Poland for you. We’ll choose relevant products at an affordable price, organise safe transport and we’ll deliver the product to any address in the world. 

3. Do you have any stationary representatives in other countries?

We do not have any branches in other countries. Our office and a magazine are in Poland in Oleśnica (30 km from Wrocław).We overcome thousands of kilometers separating us from our clients owing to modern technologies. Thanks to that you’ll save your money and time because we don’t have to add any extra costs to the services or products to maintain expensive offices all over the world.

Delivery time, payment, installation, warranty

1. What is the delivery time on debesto.com?

The time of order processing is highly dependent on its specification. For example, white PCV windows, standard colors (anthracite on one side) can be ready for pick up or a shipment from 7 working days. The waiting time for nonstandard PCV colors is about 4 weeks depending on the color. The production time of PCV doors is also about 4 weeks. Aluminium doors and windows - from 3 weeks, wooden windows from 6 weeks. Furthermore, the blinds about 2 weeks, garage doors - about 3 weeks, metallic doors from 4 weeks. You’ll find estimated production time next to every product on its subpage.

2. How does the payment look like? Do I have to pay the whole amount immediately?

We suggest two forms of payment: 1. 50% of advance for production of the product and 50% shall be paid before picking up/ sending the goods. 2. 100% payment in advance. This form is much more favorable because we give you an additional 5% discount depending on the group of products.

3. Will I buy the joinery with an installation on debesto.com?

No, on debesto.com we sell only windows, doors, blinds, and gates, which we deliver to every place in the world. The installation of the windows depends on the client. We do not offer installation service because our offer is not directed to the building companies, installers, developers, and realtors that can install the joinery by themselves.

4. If the windows would be installed by a different company, do the products keep the warranty?

Yes, the only condition is installing the product in accordance with the art of assembly and applicable standards in the country of the installation in terms of the warranty.

5. Do the products that I buy have a foreign warranty?

Yes, the only condition is installing the product in accordance with the art of assembly and applicable standards in the country of the installation in terms of the warranty.

Aluminum patio sliding and bi-fold doors – which system will be right for you?

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