A smarter solution
Ian Cocken, Director of Sales and Marketing at Aluplast UK, discusses the advantages of the Smart-Slide PVC-U patio and how it represents a genuine alternative to more expensive aluminium systems.
Q: What is Smart-Slide – and what makes it different to other PVC patio door systems on the market?
Ian Cocken (CA): Smart-Slide is a next-generation, 70mm PVC-U sliding patio door system. The vast majority of PVC-U patio doors on the market are still based around old designs which means that even the ones that have been tweaked and upgraded over time, are still fundamentally flawed.
In some cases, they are limited technically, as well as aesthetically, but perhaps the biggest limitation is that they are just not able to deliver the sizes that consumers now look for. It’s the Grand Designs effect! Homeowners want a product that can fill large apertures, with as much glass as possible.
Unfortunately, they’re just not going to get that with a run of the mill PVC patio – but they can with Smart-Slide, because it has been designed, from the ground up, to be technically superior to any other PVC sliding patio on the market.
Q: If bigger is better, what sizes can be achieved with Smart-Slide?
IC: For a traditional PVC patio, specification is really limited to a maximum pane size 1,800mm x 2,100mm. If you want to go bigger than that, then you need to specify a triple track design and homeowners will rarely buy into that, because of the additional cost and also because of the undesirable sightlines.
Smart-Slide, in comparison, is capable of spanning 4.5m at 2.5m with just a sliding sash and a fixed panel. Up until now, that would have only been possible with aluminium.
Q: At that size, is there a risk Smart-Slide can be compromised on security or performance?
IC: Smart-Slide has been designed from a blank piece of paper, these sizes are well within its technical capability. It meets BS6375 for weather tightness and depending on the glass specification, it can achieve a DER of A+.
A large part of this is down to the fact its design incorporates such advanced hardware. It can accommodate individual sash weights of up to 200kg and even at that size, because we have eliminated the need for brush seals, it takes very little effort to open and close the doors. The quality of fit and finish is what you would expect for a very high end, premium product.
Another unique feature is that Smart-Slide can be locked on all four sides of the sash. That means homeowners can open the door part way if they want to let in fresh air, but they can do so with the peace of mind that it can also be left open and be completely secure.
Smart-Slide majors on the size at which it can be manufactured but security is also one of its defining features. It is tested to PAS24, so its appeal extends beyond the retail sector. It ticks a lot of boxes for specification into new build projects as well.
Q: Can Smart-Slide genuinely compete with aluminium products? Surely, consumers who have the budget to spend, will always opt for the real thing?
IC: It might very well be the case that some people will insist on aluminium regardless of cost, but even at this premium end of the market, there are always projects that are more price sensitive. Smart-Slide’s contemporary aesthetics, its potential to be manufactured at such large sizes, means it absolutely should not be pigeonholed by the limitations of older generation PVC-U systems.
And especially not when you factor in the range and quality of finishes available from aluplast. These include Anthracite Grey, one of our ‘off the shelf’ stock options, but also the aludec range of foils that have been designed specifically to replicate the look and feel of aluminium.
At this point, Smart-Slide presents an opportunity for installers to not just upsell against competitor PVC system, it genuinely becomes a viable alternative to aluminium as well.