Patio doors: Aluminum or PVCu?

White kitchen with PVCu patio doors looking onto gardenThis is a question that we’re often asked at Crystal Clear. To be honest, there’s no straightforward answer as it all depends on the look you want to achieve, the style of your property and of course, your budget.

Quality as standard

One thing’s for sure, the technology with both aluminium and PVCu has advanced greatly over the years and most patio doors or bi-fold doors you look at these days will conform to either British or European standards.  That means you can be sure that in terms of standing up to the weather and beating the burglars, they’ll both do a pretty good job.

The main thing to bear in mind is this: as with anything else you buy, you’re likely to find a wide range of patio doors on the market and they’ll all have different energy ratings and levels of quality. So it’s definitely worth doing your homework, or buying from a company you know you can trust.

Size does matter

The one thing we can say is that if you want to go big, aluminium is going to be your best option. Because of its strength and rigidity, it’s possible to create much bigger and taller patio or bi-fold doors that will function beautifully and remain stable for years to come.

Compare and contrast

If you’re thinking about installing new patio or bi-fold doors, we’ve looked at the benefits and drawbacks of aluminium and PVCu.  Hopefully this will help you decide which is the best option for you but if you’re still not sure, you can always ask for our advice:



This is nearly always going to be your cheapest option. With PVCu, not only is the price of the raw material lower, it’s also cheaper to manufacture.  Due to its popularity, it has been mass-produced since the 70s and this has helped to keep costs down.


This is a more expensive product and much more costly to manufacture. However you may decide that in terms of longevity and ease of maintenance, the extra cost is worthwhile and will prove to be better value in the long run.

Open aluminium bifold doors MAINTENANCE


This is a material that doesn’t rot, flake, rust or fade so if you choose a PVCu patio door you’ll find it’s remarkably easy to maintain. It just needs a wipe down every now and then to keep it clean.  Over longer periods of time, they are however prone to warping and may bend with age, making them difficult to open and close.


Doors made from aluminium are so resilient, they hardly need any maintenance at all.  Even in direct sunlight they are robust and stable so won’t warp, expand or contract.  That’s really important, especially if you’re dealing with large panels of glass.



Patio or bi-fold doors made from PVCu are tough, strong and resilient. They have a life span of 15-20 years and some companies will offer a 10 year guarantee. Although they are unlikely to need replacing, the colouring of frames may degrade over time, particularly on white doors.


These are probably the most robust doors you could buy – and that’s probably the reason they’re used for commercial as well as domestic settings. They’ll happily stand the test of time with a life span of 20-30 years, with no loss of quality during that time.



In the early days of PVCu patio doors, security was an issue with externally beaded units but these issues have been addressed and they are now reliably secure. PVCu is also a tough material so frames are extremely hard to break or damage.


Due to their strength, Aluminium patio doors are almost burglar proof and the frames are highly resistant to any damage or harm.



PVCu door frames tend to be quite thick and chunky so some people feel that makes them unattractive and not suitable for character homes. They do however come in a variety of colours and if you want something that can resemble timber, these area a good option.


Because of its strength, it’s possible to make aluminium patio or bi-fold doors which have sleeker and slimmer frames.  As well as making them aesthetically pleasing, it’s possible to achieve a much higher glass to frame ratio. This lets light flood into the room and gives the doors a bigger and cleaner look.



There’s traditionally been little flexibility with PVCu patio doors but this is changing. They now come in a range of colours other than white and even in timber effect finishes complete with mitred corners.


Doors made from aluminium have become a firm favourite with architects because of their flexibility and good looks. They sit brilliantly in period properties and can be sprayed to match any RAL colour as well as creating matt, satin or gloss finishes. With aluminium, it’s also possible to create doors which are bigger and taller due to the strength of the material.

Want to know more?

We’ve got extensive knowledge of PVCu and aluminium patio and bi-fold doors and are also excited to be able to offer the latest addition to the market in the shape of Lumi doors and windows. If you’d like to find out more, why not give us a call on 0117 911 0272 One of our friendly team at Crystal Clear will be delighted to give you a bit more information or a no-obligation quote.