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uPVC vs Aluminium Sliding Glass Doors

Aluminium and uPVC are the two most popular choices when it comes to frames for sliding glass doors, as compared to steel and timber they are durable, cost-effective, require less maintenance and have a variety of design options.

minimal windows Sliding Door system uses slim aluminium profiles, as we strongly believe that aluminium is the best framing material for glazing in many ways. However, some still prefer uPVC framing and aren’t sure about the details when comparing the two. 

There are many differences between aluminium framed sliding doors and uPVC framed sliding doors, from performance to flexibility in design. This article will explore these differences to help you figure out which is best for your project.

Aluminium vs uPCV Strength and Durability

The first difference being that aluminium framed sliding doors are able to last for many years with no problems due to its robust metal compound. uPVC sliding glass door frames could potentially degrade over the years even though they can have a very long life.

uPVC sliding glass doors can be prone to expansion and contraction with heat, aluminium is much more robust and stable. This is shown in large panels of moving glass such as French doors or bifold doors as the aluminium frames are able to withstand the elements to remain consistent from year to year.

uPVC is also prone to fading over time, when in direct sunlight… So your beautiful new sliding doors may turn ugly sooner than you think given they are bound to be in the sunlight a lot of the time.

Aluminium sliding doors can be made with a very slim frame as the material itself is very strong. uPVC sliding glass doors on the other hand must have a thick frame due to how weak it is. Having slim frames is more ideal as they allow the maximum amount of light to pass through into the home as well as being more aesthetically pleasing due to the higher ratio of glass to frame.

minimal windows slim framed sliding doors, flush threshold
Old Quay, cliffside house

Aluminium vs uPCV Design Options

Architectural design is constantly changing and so using aluminium for windows and doors, architects can keep up with these changes as they are much more versatile. Clients can choose any RAL colour for the framing on aluminium sliding doors whereas uPVC can only offer a small range of set colours. Aluminium framing can also be curved or arched to fit more contemporary building styles.

Aluminium framed sliding doors have a wide variety of finishing options, from a polyester powder coating in and of over 200 RAL colours to anodising and special finishes such as timber effect. This flexibility in design means that the sliding glass door can be specified to blend in with its surroundings or made to stand out as its own design feature.

Having such a wide variety of finishing options means that the aluminium sliding doors can be manufactured completely bespoke to fit in with specific project requirements.

open corner minimal windows sliding glass doors on a beachfront luxury home
new build home in Dorset with sliding glass doors with solar control glass and a marine-grade frame finish

Aluminium vs uPCV Thermal Performance

In terms of thermal performance, aluminium far surpasses uPVC when a thermal break is used. As metal is a conductive material in order for aluminium framing to achieve a better thermal performance than uPVC a thermal break is required. Without a thermal break, the uPVC sliding doors would be more thermally efficient than aluminium sliding doors. 

Aluminium framing profile has significantly better thermal performance than uPVC, especially when a thermal break is used. The minimal windows Sliding Door systems uses a polyamide thermal break and pairing this with the argon gas insulating cavity, warm edge spacers and low e coating that comes as standard results in an extremely high-performance slim sliding door system.

minimal windows Sliding Doors can achieve U values as low as 1.1W/m2K for double glazed systems and 0.8W/m2K for triple glazed. This far surpasses the average U value of that uPVC frames achieve of around 1.4W//m2K.

sliding doors with solar control glass
minimal windows 4+ triple glazed oversized sliding glass doors by an indoor pool in a luxury home in the countryside

Which one is best for you?

Looking at the facts, aluminium framed sliding door are superior to those with uPVC frames, the only factor that makes people favour uPVC is that is it more cost effective. This being said when you take everything into account the extra cost for aluminium framed sliding doors is nothing compared for how much better the system is.

After comparing these two sliding doors it is clear to see that aluminium sliding doors are the better option for the aesthetics and longevity of the products in most.

For more information on sliding glass doors, contact the team today.