Automatic Frameless Sliding Door vs Automatic Framed Sliding Door
Automatic sliding doors come in at different types and different looks. This article mainly discusses the door panels which are mainly framed or frameless.
We will score these two based on four (4) aspects: aesthetics, air and water tightness, safety and cost.
Round 1: Aesthetics [Frameless (+1), Framed (0)]
This goes without saying. Not only in the construction world, in consumer electronics, we now see the frameless is the trend of this century. From mobile phones to laptop computers to TVs, we are always yearning for a thin or almost bezel-less design. We always desire everything to be almost transparent.
In automatic doors, a frameless design make our entrance look neat and our view is unobstructed. This is what architects, designers and owners usually would want.
Automatic Frameless doors wins this round.
Round 2: Air and Water Insulation [Frameless (+1), Framed (+1)]
Automatic framed doors take this round effortlessly. Automatic framed doors are best to keep air and water outside of the building compared to automatic frameless sliding glass doors because framed doors have better seals, mohairs, and gaskets to ensure that the door is protected against external conditions.
Therefore in terms of energy savings and sound insulation, automatic frameless doors are no match for framed doors. Furthermore, framed doors is really best if you aim to have energy savings. The frames allow you to use a different type of glass materials such as insulated glass to create better sound barrier and further reduce energy consumption of the building.
Round 3: Safety [Frameless (+1), Framed (+2)]
Automatic Framed Doors are generally safer than Automatic Frameless glass doors. With aluminum frames on the perimeter of the doors, the glass are well-protected against bumps and scratches on the edges.
Tempered glass which are generally used in frameless glass door applications are 4x mechanically stronger on the surface but weak on the edges. A severe depression on a tempered glass edge can cause the entire glass to shatter making it a safety hazard to pedestrians. Furthermore, since frameless glass must be tempered, spontaneous breakage could occur due to nickel sulfide inclusions.
Automatic framed doors take this round.
Round 4: Cost [Frameless (+2), Framed (+3)]
It is hard to select the winner in this category because there are many factors into play. While all else being constant, we can assume that framed doors are most expensive because of the addition of the aluminum frames and the accessories it has to use, actually framed doors can be cheaper in certain instances because framed doors can afford to use a thinner glass without any heat treatment, whereas frameless glass doors for automatic door applications has to be 12mm or thicker and must be tempered for safety.
We have identified four major categories where these two proponents could be judged. However, at the end of the day, it all boils down to your preferences. Sure we can see that automatic frame door scores more than an automatic frameless door. However, bias against certain aspects like aesthetics can sometimes outweigh this decision. In other words, owners can forget about the safety and air and water insulation as long as it looks good.