Steel-framed glazing: the new bi-fold doors?

Steel-framed glazing

Look back at our recent covers and you’ll see steel-framed glazing dominating projects. Its warehouse look fits in with the ever-popular industrial style as well as more classic-contemporary or Mid- century designs, plus it has heaps of history. Crittall, the company probably best known for steel windows, has operated for nearly 200 years, so this type of glazing works well in historic refurbishments and restorations, especially from the Victorian era – and there seems to be a plethora of those having work done, am I right?

But what does this mean? Are bi-folds forgotten? Yvonne Jones, design director at Chameleon Interiors certainly thinks so. “Bi-folding doors were a fashion must-have years ago, but they have become so common and – to be honest – in my opinion are not the most stylish, which is why designers like me are promoting other concepts,” she told me. “When someone mentions bi-folds, I want to scream ‘no’ because there are so many other options. Steel-framed glazing has a nostalgic appeal because it was used on so many historic buildings and at the moment it’s on trend to mix old and new.”

So is being bored of bi-folds pushing this trend, or have the hoards of Pinterest boards and Instagram accounts featuring the look influenced us? Maybe it’s bigger than that: perhaps we’re on the hunt for more character in our schemes. You can’t deny that the black- framed glazing’s iconic look easily accomplishes this.

Glazing

Steel-framed glazing, like this one from Drury Casement, brings a lot of sunlight into a home. Photography: Chris Snook

If installed to stretch along the full rear of the house, bi-folds are great for summer as they open all the way up – but when it’s freezing, you’ll only use one or two. Steel-glazing tends to have thinner but more frames, so lets in more light while still achieving a sort of indoor- outdoor feel – but it has smaller doors, so you won’t be able to fling them wide open. However, the material is also recyclable, so this solution is among the most environmentally friendly windows and doors available.

Steel-framed glazing can set the tone for the rest of your décor, too. Why not match your taps, tiling, or other details – from your cooker to your handles – to the colour of the frames for a cohesive feel? The glazing doesn’t have to stop at your outside wall: carry it indoors through room dividers, creating a broken-plan living space to give you the privacy of separate rooms without compromising on space or light. This can work for a kitchen and a utility room, pantry, or living-diner as well as to link a bedroom and ensuite. Shower screens in the same design allow you to bring the look into your bathroom without losing privacy – match it with matt-black brassware and even a black bath.

Perhaps the main drawback is cost. According to the Steel Window Association, a fixed vision panel screen starts at around £2400 and a double-door design costs from £7000 – but they are virtually maintenance free. Manufacturing times will also vary, but generally, ranges from 12 to 20 weeks. So, are you a convert?

You may also enjoy: Setting a renovation budget: where to start

Featured image: Steel-framed glazing has become popular in the recent years with most renovators including it in their projects. Photography: Chris Snook

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