One of the newest and most popular trends in luxury home design is frameless doors. If you’ve yet to see a frameless door, picture your front door (or bedroom, closet, etc) without trim work surrounding it. Picture the wall being perfectly flush with the door, instead.
Frameless doors can be placed in interior or exterior openings, and no matter where they go, they’re stunning. We’ve installed quite a few at this point and many of our most recent calls are inquiring about installing a frameless door on their luxury home.
The low-profile, sleek design of frameless doors lends itself easily to luxury home design. For homeowners and interior designers looking to keep the clean lines of their design aesthetic, frameless doors are an excellent choice.
Given that our speciality is custom security doors, one of the most frequent questions we get is whether or not frameless doors can also be certified as security doors. We’re happy to say we can answer all of these questions and more.
Here’s what you need to know about frameless doors — what they are, what they are not, and under what circumstances they can be incorporated.
Are Frameless Doors Really… Frameless?
The short answer is no — frameless doors are not frameless. In fact, a frameless door isn’t really possible. Frames are literally what holds the door in place. It needs a place to swing open and closed. The lock needs to slide into a designated place. This is particularly important for security doors — but more on that later.
A frameless door is actually a regular door with a hidden frame. Quite literally, the walls are built over the frame so that the door looks flush with the wall, whether it’s an interior or exterior wall. These days, builders are typically using drywall (Sheetrock), but older luxury homes may also have plaster walls to contend with.
In these cases, the contractors would likely build onto the plaster using drywall and then tape, seal, and skimcoat to create the flush, seamless look every luxury home deserves. Retrofitting a frameless door into an older luxury home shouldn’t be a deterrent from achieving the aesthetic you want. Experts can make it happen.
It’s true that retrofits are more complicated. The walls are always partially deconstructed, but there are times when the ceiling must also be altered — every house is different. Between our FBS technicians and the local contractors, we’ll make sure that every hiccup (because every retrofit has some sort of hiccup) is handled correctly.
Frameless doors are possible in many situations, but are easier to contend with in a new-build or renovation scenario. Frameless doors are actually installed before the drywall goes up. Once the framing for the wall is done, the door can be placed and installed. At that point, the rest of the wall can be finished, making the wall completely flush.
In fact, depending on the design of the door and the wall, the door could look completely hidden. We’ve built internal doors that are virtually undetectable because they blended into the wall so seamlessly. This is more difficult to do on exterior walls, but not impossible.
Both hinge doors and pivot doors can be installed with a frameless look. It doesn’t really matter because the frame is the same, regardless of how the door opens. We’re focusing on camouflaging the frame, not getting rid of it entirely.
It’s important to note that frameless doors are mostly done in the United States. Because homes in the U.S. are mostly made of drywall or plaster, it’s much easier to install frameless doors. You can cut and recreate the wall pretty easily after the door is installed, but things don’t work quite so easily in Europe.
Buildings in Europe are much older — it’s simply a matter of how long modern societies have existed in the area. There are buildings in Europe that are over 1,000 years old, but such a thing does not exist in the U.S., and as a result, buildings are made with different materials.
Most security doors and windows that we install in Europe are retrofits. Of course, there is new construction happening in Europe, but the number of old buildings far outweighs the new builds. The construction of these old buildings is largely of such high quality that there’s really no reason to tear them down — it would be a shame to lose that history, and a waste to stop using them.
However, many of the walls are made of stone or concrete. Cutting into those walls in order to install a frameless door is far more complicated, and is unlikely to ever look as good as drywall or plaster would. Furthermore, these materials aren’t nearly as forgiving as more modern construction materials.
In most cases, we’d boast that we can make anything happen with enough resources — however, with beautiful, old European architecture, we’re inclined to play on the safe side. If you have questions about whether a frameless door can work for your luxury home, we’re more than happy to discuss it with you. Our architectural designers can consult, as well.
Are Frameless Security Doors Possible?
We don’t like to brag or anything (after all, it’s not bragging if it’s true), but we make beautiful frameless security doors all the time. What makes a security door a security door has a lot to do with the core (preferably, steel), the locking mechanism, and the frame — and since “frameless” doors still actually have frames, we can indeed make frameless security doors.
Frameless security doors aren’t really all that different from a regular framed security door. The frame is still two inches thick, and still in one solid piece. It’s just recessed into the wall as opposed to being trimmed out.
Frameless Pivot Doors
A significant portion of calls we get lately are to inquire about pivot doors. They’re very popular for luxury homes, particularly because they aren’t size-limited the way that hinge doors are — they can be larger.
Hinge doors are limited in size because of the hinge itself — there’s a general standard of hinge doors being no taller than 90 inches and an average of 36 inches wide. However the main consideration for hinge doors is the weight. And as you add coverings, the weight of the door goes up. With pivot doors, the weight is less of an issue because there’s no hinge to contend with.
Our La Ribalta pivot door is the largest hurricane certified pivot door currently on the market. The La Ribalta can be up to 8 feet wide and 13 feet tall, pivoting effortlessly. Like the rest of our custom security doors, this advanced door can be outfitted with a hidden closer, state of the art facial recognition technology, and be fully motorized.
Pivot doors can be taller, wider, and heavier than any hinge door could ever dream of being. They’re particularly popular among luxury homeowners, in addition to high end offices.
Because we are who we are (and because we want to be the best at what we do), of course we can do a frameless pivot security door — and yes, it will be gorgeous. One of our favorites was 12 feet tall and covered in bronze.
Creating a frameless pivot door is essentially the same as creating any other pivot door. We’re just going to make sure the wall extends past the frame to make sure that it’s hidden. As you’d expect, this is easier with big renovations or new builds.
Common Locations for Frameless Doors
Front entry doors can be given the frameless look with great success. We’ve done plenty of frameless front doors, both hinge and pivot doors. Our luxury home owners love the clean lines the frameless aesthetic creates for their front entry.
Frameless front entry doors are even better when they’re paired with facial recognition and automatic motors. Without a door handle, the door can be nearly unrecognizable. In fact, it typically confuses intruders because they legitimately don’t know how to attempt to open the door.
Frameless doors are common on interior walls, especially for closets and utility rooms — spaces that are necessary, but that you don’t necessarily want to draw attention to. In these cases, the door is often designed to completely blend in with the wall with the exception of a low-profile door handle.
Glass Sliding Doors
With frameless glass doors that are security-certified the frame is absolutely paramount. The frame is what keeps the glass together when it begins to splinter.
The physical glass composition of security glass includes panes of annealed glass with a piece of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) in between them. What happens is that when someone strikes the glass with the intention of breaking it, the annealed glass flexes and the PVB layer helps to catch the shards. What this does is strengthen the barrier so make it more difficult to break through the glass.
However, none of this matters if the frame isn’t solid. The frame is what keeps the glass in place. Therefore, it’s critical in order for frameless glass doors to pass the security tests to have a decent frame.
At FBS, frameless glass doors means making the frame as low-profile as possible while still maintaining the integrity of the security glass.
Showers are a very popular place for people to request frameless doors. From an interior design standpoint, it makes a lot of sense — it opens up sightlines, it creates a clean and uncluttered space, and works very well with luxury home design.
For the most part, frameless shower doors are perfect for luxury homeowners, and since the glass can be clear or frosted, privacy can be cultivated in whatever way people feel most comfortable.
However, the bathroom shower door isn’t a place people are typically asking for security doors. This isn’t something that we do at FBS because the integrity of the security glass isn’t possible, and everything we do is rooted in keeping your family safe.
Again, in order for something to be a security door or window, it needs to have a sturdy frame. But in order to obtain that frameless look on a shower door, you’re essentially keeping the glass in place with small tabs of metal on the edges and then sealing the glass pieces together to keep the water from ending up all over the bathroom.
Not that many people are requesting security shower doors, but this is a popular place for frameless doors and we want to be clear that this isn’t something we can fulfill. However, we can create custom security windows for your bathroom, if that’s something you’re interested in.
Getting Started with Frameless Doors at FBS
We’re getting more and more requests for frameless doors as people are building new luxury homes and remodeling their existing homes to keep up with more modern design trends. It’s a beautiful look, and we love helping our clients update their homes with new security doors.
No matter what design aesthetic you’re going for, we can help you find door coverings that perfectly fit with your luxury home. We can help you create a beautiful frameless door that looks like a work of art all on its own, or something that perfectly blends into your wall.
We like to say that if you can dream it, we can do it. If you want a door that is leather on the inside and real wood on the outside, we can do that. If you want a hidden compartment for precious family heirlooms or important things you don’t want to fall into the wrong hands, we can create that for you.
If you’d like to learn more about FBS, our process, or our product offerings, feel free to check out our doors and windows pages. There, you’ll find a wealth of information regarding options and customization so you’re getting the exact security doors and windows that your home or office needs.
If you’re ready to talk about a frameless security door, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. We look forward to hearing from you.