Frame Of Mind: Choosing The Best Framing Materials For A Sliding Glass Door

16 September 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

Installing glass sliding doors on your property can be a tremendous boon if done well, flooding a room with light and providing excellent views (not to mention raising your property's value). However, while great care and attention is placed in choosing the right type of glass and suitably secure locks, many homeowners installing glass doors overlook the matter of the frame.

The frame of a sliding glass door isn't just there to hold the glass in place -- it's also vital for keeping the door moving smoothly and easily, as well as providing a solid line of defence against intruders. As such, you should choose the materials your frame is made from carefully, as a material unsuitable for your needs may cause more trouble than it's worth. Take stock of the advantages and disadvantages of the following framing materials before you spend your money.

Timber frames

Timber window and door frames are beloved by many for their old-world charm and surprising durability, and wooden frames can serve you equally well when fitted to your sliding door. Virtually all timber sliding door frames are coated with chemical treatments before sale, which give the wood tremendous resistance to mould and fungal rot and deter wood boring insects such as termites. Timber frames can also be surprisingly inexpensive, especially if you choose engineered timber or non-tropical woods.

Unfortunately, all of these advantages are reliant on you taking good care of the frame as timber door frames will need to be cleaned and maintained regularly to check for signs of mould and cracking. You will also have to retreat your frames on occasion to renew their resistance to rot and insect damage, although choosing a tough polymer-based treatment over traditional timber oils will make retreatment less frequent. Retreating your wood is also vital to prevent moisture infiltrating the wood as this can cause the wood to warp and make the door 'sticky' and difficult to operate.

Steel frames

Steel sliding door frames are practically the last word in strength, and these frames are ideally suited to support larger glass panes and multi-door arrangements. Like timber frames, they are treated with a variety of protective paints and surface coatings before sale, but these coatings are designed to prevent corrosion and rust caused by moisture. These coatings are available in a huge variety of colours, shades and designs, allowing you to match your door frames to practically any design scheme. 

This strength and versatility comes at a price, and steel is one of the most expensive framing material choices out there, particularly when reinforced frames are required for particularly large doors. In addition, the rust-resistant coating on steel frames is not invulnerable, and your doors may fall victim to strength-sapping rust after a long period. Damaged coatings can be redone, but this is expensive and may require temporary removal of the frame.

PVC frames

PVC's surge in popularity as a window and door framing material owes a lot to its low price and practically non-existent maintenance, but PVC has other advantages to offer too. Available in a wide variety of colours and designs (including convincing wood and stone grain effects), PVC is perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing versatile framing material out there. It is thoroughly resistant to fungal rot and insect attacks, and its relative lightness makes for easy door operation.

Sadly, PVC's popularity has made it somewhat ubiquitous in many communities, and a PVC sliding door may not provide the distinctive look you desire. PVC is also quite vulnerable to damage by prolonged exposure to sunlight; while additives included during the manufacturing process help to slow this perishing, ageing PVC sliding doors may lose strength around glass edges and locks, necessitating replacement.

Contact a company like Nu-Look Glass & Aluminium Windows to learn more about sliding glass door options.