Aluminium lift and slide doors – Smart or Schuco?

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Decisions, decisions… With all of the aluminium lift and slide doors out there, which should we go for? Smart, Schuco or any others on the market?

Our customers often come to us weighing up between many different aluminium lift and slide doors on the market. Most of the time, they are actually a bit overwhelmed. In addition to the two systems we offer, there are the likes of AluK, Reynaers, Internorm, Rational and Velfac. These are available as either straight aluminium or as a timber /aluminium hybrid to give the customer yet another decision to make. They all come with their own unique price tags, lead times, thermal values and size limitations.

We like to think we have done a lot of the hard work for our customers. We know what’s out there and could source all of it. However, we have done our homework and choose to supply and install two aluminium lift and slide doors. Smart and Schuco. Between them, we’ve got every base covered. Smart is a great aluminium system, which not only performs well in every category, but is cost effective too. Schuco is a more expensive system, but one that can go taller, wider, heavier and more thermally efficient than any other on the market. Both of the systems come with the same guarantee from us: 10 years generally and 25 years on the powder coated aluminium and the colour finish.

At our Kent showroom, we have window, sliding and bifolding door samples of both Systems. The Smart Alitherm 300, 600, 700 and 800, the Visofold 1000, the Smart Visoglide Plus, the Schuco ASS70 FD bifold and the Schuco ASS70 HI aluminium lift and slide doors.

Showroom loggia windows doors conservatories Kent installers

In this article, we thought we’d focus on aluminium lift and slide doors, running through the main differences between the two. (We might add however, that due to the speed at which products change and develop in this industry, the information may be outdated quite quickly!)

Price

Generally, our Schuco ASS70 HI aluminium lift and slide doors are about 15-25% more expensive than their Smart Visoglide Plus lift and slide counterparts. This is due to the fact that metal and parts of Schuco are more expensive. It is simply a more expensive product.

Size limitations

Schuco is unrivalled in terms of size limitations. Our Schuco aluminium lift and slide doors can go up 300kg per pane. Moreover, as the outer frame can be joined together, the maximum width is purely governed by the width of the panes in the door. The maximum number of panes in a lift and slide door is 6. This means it would be possible to make a Schuco sliding door around 15 metres wide! Moreover, Schuco ASS70 HI doors can also go up to around 3000mm in height.

The Smart Visoglide on the other hand can go to a maximum of 6500mm wide and 2500mm high, again with 6 as the maximum number of panes in a door.

On a lot of the architectural new builds and extension we install into, this can mean Schuco is the only option. We have found that architects have a tendency to design very large openings for aluminium lift and slide doors!

Thermal values

The thermal performance of a door is also known as its ‘u value’. The u value of a door tells us how much that door loses heat and air leakage. The lower the u value number, the more efficient a door is. For example, a u value of 1.1 is better than a u value of 1.6.

It is also important to consider the glazed units that are used. Glazed units also have a u value. A standard double glazed unit has a u value of 1.2. We also use more efficient double glazed units, which can go as low as 1.0. Stepping up to triple glazing can get the u value down to 0.8. As Schuco doors can accommodate wider glazed units than Smart doors, this can mean they can achieve an even better u value with wider triple glazing.

The u value of the aluminium frame combines with the u value of the glazed unit to give an overall u value. The overall u values are below. Please note these can change with product innovations and by us using a better glass spec.

Overall u value using standard double glazed unit

Smart Visoglide Plus – 1.7

Schuco ASS70 HI – 1.4

Overall u value using best triple glazed unit

Smart Visoglide Plus – 1.4

Schuco ASS70 HI – 1.0

Aesthetics

Everyone is different when it comes to aesthetics. Some of our customers base their decision  on which system they go for because they prefer the Schuco handles, for example. The colours available are the same for both. You can choose from any RAL colour.

The only objective to compare the two systems aesthetically is the thickness of the frames. The outer frame is practically the same across both systems. The central ‘mullion’, ‘meeting style’ or ‘interlock’, is thinner using Smart. On the Schuco ASS70 HI, it is 108mm. On the Smart Visoglide Plus, it is 84mm or 35mm. Smart have recently released the new 35mm mullion, which can be read about here.

So, in this respect, the Smart Visoglide Plus is more slimline looking. However, Schuco can go wider, higher and heavier than the Smart door so one might expect it to be chunkier.

Smart Visoglide vs. Schuco ASS70 HI

Smart Visoglide and Schuco ASS70 HI

In summary, with the aluminium lift and slide doors we can offer, whether Smart or Schuco, we’re sure to find the right door for you and your home.

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