Crittal door alternatives – what are your options

Large glass doors are hugely popular in ground floor extension design. Home renovation companies often introduce that indoor-outdoor aspect to family homes, as it utilises the visual connection between areas, creating a larger, brighter home. Almost all of our clients want to explore the option of full width glass doors. The alternative option is to have a window and door combination. Here at Home Tales, we have noticed that during the past 4 years or so, crittal doors have become a strong contender in the mass market. Genuine crittal doors come with a hefty price tag. As a result, companies have invested in a variety of alternative solutions, so homeowners can get that crittal effect at a competitive rate. 

We thought we would talk you through what crittal doors really are, as well as the cost-effective alternatives you might want to consider. 

What is crittal? 

Before we begin exploring alternative options, it’s important to understand what genuine crittal windows and doors are. Crittal windows were originally developed by a chap called Francis Henry Crittal in 1889. He was an ironmonger from Essex. Crittal style windows and doors have a thin black frame and are made from steel. The term ‘Crittal’ can technically only be used to describe windows made by a company called Crittal Windows Limited. Since the early 1900s, Crittal Windows (Limited) have begun distribution in counties across the world, with their first venture being the operation of the Detroit Streel Product co, the first steel window factory in the US. Since then, crittal windows have operated in Belgium, South African, India, Australia, Nigeria, New Zealand, China and Germany. 

Today the word ‘crittal’ is often used as a more general term, to describe black steel-framed windows and doors. Regardless of the supplier, modern steel windows should be double glazed and thermally efficient, to meet the latest building standards. You can also get fire-rated crittal doors too. Genuine crittal from Crittal Windows Limited is priced at about £2,700 per SQM and they also often have a lengthier lead time in comparison with the alternative products. 

What alternatives can I get?

Aluminium crittal style doors are perhaps the most popular alternative to crittal doors. The frame is made from aluminium and painted black. This means at first glance, or from some distance away, it looks like a genuine crittal door. The only aesthetic that might give you away is the thicker frame. Aluminium frames can also be made thin; however, the price point gets more expensive the thinner you go. For this reason, if you go really thin, you might end up hitting a similar price bracket to the genuine crittal doors. 

Aluminium is typically smoother than genuine crittal steel, and it comes in a variety of finishes. These can include (depending on the supplier) the usual matt, semi-gloss and gloss. Some suppliers do offer a unique, hammerite finish, to mimic the look of genuine crittal. 

Alternatively, you can consider alternative styles when it comes to aluminium doors. Bi-fold doors and sliding doors are both very popular design choices. Bi-fold doors offer the ultimate indoor-outdoor design, as you can completely push back the doors to unite the garden and indoor area as one. Sliding doors look quite similar when closed, although typically they have sliding panels. This means there will always be one panel that is blocking the path to the outside.      

Planning permission 

When we apply for planning permission, we typically specify the type of doors we are proposing in the new extension design. If you change your mind and decide you want bi-fold doors instead of crittal doors, it doesn’t always require an entire new application to be summitted. It depends on your local council and the specifics of your area (eg. conservation area). It also depends on the conditions your local council applied to the approval in your original application. As a general rule of thumb, as long as you aren’t proposing a change to the area of the opening (the length or height of the doors), the council is not likely to require an additional application to be submitted.  

How can we help? 

Here at Home Tales, we have a fantastic door supplier who can supply aluminium crittal style doors. They can also provide bi-fold doors and sliding doors, all in a variety of colours and finishes. If you want to learn more about door choices in general, check out our blog post on door choices for your home extension. If you have an alternative supplier in mind, that is no problem at all, we will simply liaise with them as necessary. If you opt for our project management service, your project manager will discuss your door options with you at the relevant time on-site. If you want to learn more about our services or have any questions with regards to this latest blog, contact our team today on 0207 043 2378 or email us at hello@hometales.co.uk. If you are considering a home extension and want to get a quote, book a free, no obligation consultation with a member of our team. You can do this either by contacting us via one of the methods mentioned above or using our online live booking system


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