Aluminum is a minor player in the residential door market,
largely due to its conductivity, as mostly vinyl products take
on the starring role.
"While aluminum dominates the market for fenestration
products in commercial applications, aluminum doors are not
widely used in the residential market. In fact, the market
share of aluminum residential doors is statistically
insignificant," said Libby Magliolo, spokeswoman for the
American Architectural Manufacturers Association, Schaumburg,
Ill. Aluminum is used for only about 9 percent of residential
patio doors and represents only a very small percentage of
exterior or interior residential doors, she added.
U.S. residential windows, doors and screens have
overwhelmingly gone to vinyl, according to Nick Adams, vice
president of business information and member services at the
Arlington, Va.-based Aluminum Association.
Aluminum frames are used in some storm doors, especially in
some colder areas of the country, and their strength-to-weight
ratio and corrosion resistance makes them viable alternatives
in certain marine climates and areas that are prone to
hurricane activity, according to Charles Johnson, the Aluminum
Association's director of environmental health and safety,
noting that coatings tend to adhere better to aluminum than
In contrast, in the nonresidential market aluminum entry
doors comprise almost half of the market (and the majority of
the commercial window market) due to the energy-efficient
properties of the metal and its structural strength, which
allows it to support heavy spans of glass, Magliolo said.
But in residential applications, aluminum isn't very
popular, largely because of its conductivity, Adams said,
noting that it is a good conductor of both heat and cold, which
means it isn't very energy efficient on its own and requires a
good thermal break. Vinyl, by comparison, doesn't let the cold
in or out, he added.
But the aluminum industry continues to promote the use of
aluminum based on lifecycle cost and sustainability, Adams
said, noting that while the metal has a very high recycling
rate most vinyl doors end up in a landfill. Likewise, aluminum
is more durable than vinyl and, therefore, lasts longer.