An aluminum sliding door is a patio door with an aluminum frame and two glass panels. Other types of aluminum sliding doors with metal panels are not as readily available but may be custom designed and made for patio privacy screens and indoor room dividers. Commercial aluminum sliding doors often have a criss-crossed aluminum frame with glass panels. A good quality aluminum sliding door has well-jointed corners so that the frames hold together well and stand up to daily use.
Many aluminum sliding doors slide in a groove with the help of little rollers added to the door frame. It's important to keep sliding door grooves clean so that the rollers can glide smoothly. Otherwise, the door may stick and be difficult to open and close. A sliding glass door should always have a good lock and many aluminum sliding doors have locks in the door handle as well as at the bottom of the frame.
Since sliding doors move along a groove, they take up less space than hinged doors. A door on a hinge needs open space in front of it to be opened and closed properly. Whereas a chair or table can't be placed near a hinged door to allow proper access, furniture could be placed near an aluminum sliding door as long as there is enough space for people to step in and out of the door.
Basic aluminum sliding doors have two glass panels; one panel remains fixed while the other slides when the door handle is pushed open or pulled closed. Aluminum French sliding doors are double-sliding because both doors are movable. While many aluminum sliding doors have clear glass panels, some may feature metal openwork patterns inside the glass or they may have an etched or frosted pattern. Some sliding commercial doors for businesses are made of glass panels with an aluminum trim.
The patio area of a modern style house or loft home may feature an aluminum sliding door without glass panels, but with textured, openwork aluminum panels instead. This way, a privacy screen is created as well as a usable doorway and the openings in the metal allow for light and air to pass through. A similar type of textured aluminum sliding door may be featured inside a contemporary home for use as a room divider and doorway.