When it comes to choosing the right aluminium sliding patios for your home or project, the options are either inline or lift and slide patio doors. They both look the same when closed, but the key differences are in the sliding and opening mechanism.
Aluminium sliding patio doors are very much back on the home improvement wish list. With minimal frame and maximum glass, they let you make the most of any view. They save space of course, because they don’t hinge inside or out like bi-folds or French doors, and they can generally span much bigger openings of over 3m high with just two sliding panels.
They can be ordered in two, three or four panel configurations on single, double or sometimes triple tracks, which gives you plenty of flexibility on where you can slide and move the panels to when they are open.
Inline sliders are the traditional patio door option. The panels sit on top of rollers which are in permanent contact with the bottom track, and they use the weight of the doors themselves to glide backwards and forwards. Crucially, inline sliders can only be locked and unlocked when they are fully closed.
Lift and slide doors work in a different way. It is the panels themselves which sit on the track and they only move a few millimetres up onto the integral rollers when you turn the handle 180° and activate the mechanical gearing. This means there is less friction between the doors and the weather strips in the tracks and the doors can feel lighter and easier to move. When you want to close these doors, you just slide them back, turn the handle 180° in the other direction and the panel drops down from the rollers and locks into position.
Unlike an inline door, the clever gearing mechanism in lift and slide doors means that it is possible to lock these when they are partially open – typically if you want to stop children from sliding them backwards and forwards or you want to stop them from being accidentally opened any further.
They are all slim, secure and weatherproof and all offer the same low threshold so you can step directly from inside to out. For buyers, it’s a question of budget, style and what your priorities are when it comes to opening.
If you’re trying to decide between aluminium and PVC-U windows for your home or development, choice will probably come down to the style of your property, your budget and ultimately how sustainable you want the windows to be.