STEEL OR ALUMINIUM FRAMES - WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

One of the questions we most frequently get asked is "What is the difference between the aluminium frame and the steel frame on your sliding wardrobe doors?" Below is a brief guide to the main differences between the two framing options.

1. Manufacturing process

The steel frame used by Wardrobe Doors Direct is what is known as a 'rolled' frame. This means that it starts life as a flat sheet of steel that is rolled (or bent) to create the final profile of the frame or tracks. The thickness of the steel compared to the aluminium is less but it is the shape and profile that gives the frame its integrity.

In contrast, the aluminium frame is manufactured by 'extrusion' method which means the aluminium is pushed or drawn through a die of the desired cross-section, under great pressure, to create the final profile.

2. Door construction

Once the steel profile has been formed there is a natural springiness to the material which is utilised in the construction of the door. The door panel is pushed into the steel frame and the steel frame then grips and holds the panel in place, similar to the way a bulldog clip works. This doesn’t affect the integrity of the finished doors as much of their strength comes from the actual door panels.

The aluminium frame construction differs to that of the steel frame in that the frame is screwed together - this allows for taller doors and more complex designs to be achieved. With aluminium frame sliding doors a clear rubber gasket is used between the glass and the mirror panels. Aluminium framed doors can also be constructed so that they have a door panel on each side – ideal for use as room dividers or sliding doors.

It is also worth mentioning that due to their rust-free nature, aluminium frames can be used in damp or humid environments such as bathrooms and kitchens.

3. Top and bottom wheels

The aluminium framed doors have their running gear integrated into the top and bottom of the frame where as the the steel frame doors have their running gear positioned on the back of the doors. Both the aluminium and steel framed doors are ball bearing rollers for both bottom running gear and the top guide wheel. There are no appreciable differences in the performance of the doors - however, visually, if you were to look inside the steel frame wardrobe you would be able to see the top wheels attached to the back of the doors.

Top and bottom wheels for sliding wardrobe doors

The aluminium framed doors also come with door positioners in the bottom track as standard.

4. Visual differences

The main visual difference between the steel and aluminium framed options (apart from the profiles shapes) are the number of colour and wood effect choices available. The steel frame is available in six woodgrain effects and five colours; whilst the aluminium frame is available in four colours.

5. Optional extras - aluminium only

Optional extras available for aluminium framed doors only include:

  • Soft close action - a piston dampener can be fitted into the top frame.
  • Brush strips - these can be stuck on the the side of the frame and prevent the clatter of metal on metal when the sliding doors are opened or closed against each other. The brush strips are only available in grey so work best with the anodised silver aluminium doors and the black gloss doors.

So which should I choose?

As we have seen, there are no real visual or performance differences between the two options. Your final decision may come down to price point – the aluminium sliding doors are more expensive to manufacture because of the construction method and the material used. If the doors are for your main bedroom and are going to be used every day then it might be worth splashing out and having aluminium doors with soft-closers. However, if the wardrobe is to be installed in a spare bedroom which will only be used occasionally then the steel framed option would offer a more economical alternative.

Still not sure? - please don't hesitate to give us a call on 0800 035 1730.

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Wardrobe Doors Direct
6 Gawthorpe Avenue, Bingley, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD16 4DG (Please note this is not a showroom)
Tel: 01274 563 323, Email:

Manufactured in the UK