Retail storefronts with a lot of glass often utilize aluminum door frames due to their large size and resistance to corrosion. Exterior aluminum frames (or curtain walls) are used when an owner is designing a building to incorporate a lot of glass with minimal frame lines. Architects often specify these frames when the desired look is “crisp.” This look is becoming more and more popular. In addition, interior aluminum frames can be fire rated up to 90 minutes, and are sometimes less expensive than hollow metal frames.
One drawback of an aluminum frame is the inability to change a hardware application in the field. Also, customization options are limited, since during the manufacturing process, aluminum frames are extruded by the use of dies. Once installed, aluminum dents easier than hollow metal and is not as durable. Finally, since aluminum frames are usually anondized, it is more difficult to change a paint color or fix paint scratches on an aluminum frame.
Hollow Metal Frames
Hollow metal frames are ideal in abusive environments since they are more durable than aluminum frames. They are commonly found in hospitals, schools, office buildings and apartment complexes. During manufacturing, hollow metal frames are formed from sheet metal that is bent to the specified profile. For this reason, hollow metal frames have more customization options both beforehand and in-field. Patches can be added with on-site welding, grinding, and painting, so the frame can appear untouched. They can be manufactured for uncommon applications and very large wall thicknesses.
Hollow metal frames can be used on both interiors and exteriors, and can hold various types of glass applications. In addition, they can be fire rated for up to three hours.
Accuracy is important when ordering hollow metal frames. Frame profiles cannot be easily adjusted on-site, which means precise up-front measurements are crucial. However, unlike aluminum frames, hollow metal frames can be re-painted and scratches can be fixed.