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3 panel system for London balcony

Frameless sliding doors explained

17 February 2021
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Frameless glass sliding door systems: minimally visible design explained

With their clean lines and widespan glazing, sliding doors are popular for their frameless or minimally visible look.  ‘Frameless’ aluminium door and window systems have the narrowest frame profiles to deliver panoramic views over your garden or outdoor space.

SL 800 sliding doors for coastal home

The best slim aluminium sliding doors for a frameless look

Sliding door manufacturers like ourselves aim for products with maximum visible glass and minimum visible frame. For example, ODC’s SL320 sliding system boasts a 20mm frame profile.

Our advice to customers is if you love the idea of minimal sightlines, it’s important to look at the profile of the frames not just from face on, but from an angle, too. Where some sliding system frames are ultra-slim in one dimension, they are likely to compensate for this on the other for strength. This creates chunkier side-on views and correspondingly wide tracks at floor level.


Corner sliding doors


This reverse-living house has minimal frame sliding doors to access its generous balconies and outdoor spaces all year round

Sliding doors with Pocket or recessed installation

The frames of sliding doors can even be recessed into the adjacent walls, floor and ceiling so that very little can be seen around the outer edges. Pocket sliding doors give the illusion of a frameless glas door.  Depending on the width of the opening and the number of doors/panels specified, the vertical lines of each panel will be visible.

Three panel aluminium floor to ceiling ODC SL800 measuring 5m wide by 3m tall in North London

A minimally visible sliding system such as ODC SL800 is purposely designed to provide the greatest impact by being scarcely noticeable from the front view. No wonder we call it the invisible door! It has such a slim profile that, rather than taking centre stage, it plays a supporting role. The huge glass panels ensure that your eye is drawn beyond the product itself.

Single-glazed sliding doors for a garden room

A glass atrium or glass box conservatory will provide a versatile, weather-protected space  for family use. Its single glazed, openable panels are completely frameless but do have a small gap between them. However, the view is uninterrupted.

You can opt for a seal between each section to provide weather protection, which will introduce slim but visible vertical lines. A frame section top and bottom creates a stable area for hinges, enabling panels to slide and stack to one or both sides.

Wintergarden Akzent Plus

This type of glazed structure, whether or not gaskets are fitted, is best suited to a room that can be closed off from the main house during the coldest months. With space heaters, a single-glazed ‘garden room’ or atrium can be used comfortably from March to November. The one pictured in our gallery above has no gaskets, yet it is our customer’s most used room apart from the bedrooms – used for every meal, nine months of the year.

Glass sliding door use and maintenance

ODC Glass Showroom displays of sliding doors
Our largest frameless sliding doors can be operated with one hand

When choosing a supplier, whether you are on the hunt for frameless or minimally visible frames for your glazing project, do take a look at the product in use. Nothing beats a visit to a showroom with working product displays. Compare it with others for ease of opening and smoothness of operation. They will certainly vary, and if you intend to open the door often a heavy or ‘sticky’ door is a nuisance. Ask about a maintenance routine and optional coatings to keep your glazing functional and beautiful.

Similarly, check out reviews and testimonials on your supplier’s aftercare and service. Often, this is as important as the product you choose for ultimate satisfaction. Our videos page has a number examples of our doors being used.

For expert advice on frameless sliding doors for your project, please give us a call on 03300 586 792 or complete our contact form today. We are happy to help.