Sliding doors are very useful products, helping to save balcony and patio space. However, the seals have always been the weak spots of these models. Today, advanced lift-and-slide doors feature optimised opening mechanisms, not only offering great ease of use, but conforming to contemporary thermal insulation standards as well. Fortunately, these enhancements limit neither the large selection of construction materials and optional features, nor the individual design options that can be chosen according to your personal preferences.
Sliding doors typically consist of one or more glazed leafs that can be slid horizontally and at least one glazed leaf which is fixed to the frame. When opening the door, the leaf is slid parallel along the fixed element. This method provides one significant advantage over traditional swinging doors, which is that sliding variants do not require extra space for an inswing leaf, nor do they create an obstruction when fully opened.
Lift-and-slide doors are a significant advancement over normal sliding systems.
Despite these advantages, the lack of control over the contact pressure applied to the seals is one major disadvantage of these older sliding mechanisms. This can result in insufficient thermal insulation and the possibility of a draught entering through even small deformations of the seal.
Aluminium, wood or uPVC lift-and-slide systems solve this issue with an integrated lifting function. As the handle is turned, the leaf is lifted out of the bottom seal, allowing it to be easily slid along the guides. When the handle is turned into the other direction, the leaf is lowered back into the seal. Modern lift-and-slide doors normally have prefixed inlets in the frame, granting reliable sealing when the leaf is in a closed position.
Another useful function of lift-and-slide doors is the ability to lower the leaf into the frame when partially opened, fixing the leaf in this position. This enables you to air out rooms by positioning the leaf at any point along the guide rails. As the leaf is then firmly fixed to the frame, this poses less of a risk of burglary when opening the door only partially.
Lift-and-slide door frames can basically be manufactured using any construction material also used for sliding systems or inswing front doors:
Unplasticised PVC or timbers are the base materials for all frames, as these materials provide excellent thermal insulation. However, uPVC frames are typically produced with multi-chamber profiles and additional reinforcement elements, improving the thermal insulation and torsional stiffness of the finished product.
As a typical lift-and-slide door always consists of at least two parallel segments, the installation depth of each individual leaf might seem relatively small, depending on the thickness of the glazing. However, because of the parallel segments, the installation depth of the entire construct is typically double that of a non-sliding door.
Please also consider that while these doors require slightly more space for installation, they simultaneously require less space when opened due to not featuring swinging leafs.
Another very important aspect for these construction components is the exact type of glazing used. This is because these doors typically feature very large glass surfaces to enable a perfect view of your balcony or garden.
For this reason, investing in laminated safety glass or multi-pane elements with gas fillings in the spaces between the individual panes will show a variety of very positive long-term effects. Such additional features may increase the price of your lift-and-slide door, but they can be used to effectively decrease long-term energy costs or increase burglary protection.
Any door can be manufactured with multi-glazing elements. This allows you to effectively combine multiple measures. For example, installing an external layer of laminated safety glass and filling the spaces between individual panes with anti-noise cast resin or noble gases, improves burglary protection, thermal insulation and sound absorption simultaneously.
As lift-and-slide leafs are opened quite easily thanks to the lifting function, they are perfectly suitable for homes which need to provide access to people with disabilities.
In such cases, mounting the lower guiding rail flush with the floor is advisable. If the door system is installed in this way, the threshold can be crossed very easily by movement-impaired or wheelchair-bound people. This is a significant advantage unique to lift-and-slide doors, as most other variants cannot be installed flush with the floor to the same extent.
Thanks to this method of installation, lift-and-slide doors can even be installed inside homes, acting as internal room separators. The advantage here is the fact that whenever you need to provide for unimpeded movement between rooms, the leafs can be firmly fixed in an opened position. This allows you to flexibly connect or separate different interior spaces.
Lift-and-slide frames are often shaped very minimalistic, as large glazing elements make up most of the surface area of such doors.
However, your door can still be individually designed, regardless of the material used for its construction. The frames can be coloured using any of the various hues provided by the RAL colour scale. Additionally, they can even be equipped with wood-grain decors. The seals and fittings of these systems are normally available in white, black, grey or bronze.
Wood-grain foils for uPVC or aluminium frames can provide even these modern materials with the pleasant aesthetics of traditional wooden doors.
Another aesthetical advantage is the opportunity to create a particularly smooth transition between the glass element and the frame. This allows you to minimise the visual impact of your lift-and-slide door, allowing even entire walls to be opened to the outside visually. If such an installation is too risky for you, aluminium roller shutters can effectively protect the interior of your home from both the light of the sun and burglary attempts
Although lift-and-slide mechanisms are slightly higher priced than sliding systems without a lifting function, they show significantly better thermal insulation and thus pay for themselves after only a few winter months of significantly lower heating bills. Thus, lift-and-slide doors are an affordable alternative to simple sliding variants which allow convenient airing out of rooms and easy access for people with disabilities.
Thanks to the large selection of different materials for the frame (wood, aluminium, uPVC and composite variants) as well as colours and decors for aesthetic individualisation, modern lift-and-slide doors allow you to truly match your personal door to your personal requirements and tastes. Thus, innovative lift-and-slide doors excel at both practical everyday use as well as aesthetics.