December 15, 2022

How to Use Structural Glass and Slim Framed Sliding Glass Doors Together

Written by Rebecca Clayton


Using slim frame sliding glass doors with structural glass for a modern design. Using slim frame sliding glass doors with structural glass for a modern design.

For projects looking for a minimal frame design to their glazing slim framed sliding glass doors are the first choice. With sightlines as slim as 21mm and a frameless finish at the head and base, the glass doors offer the perfect solution for the encouragement of internal-external merging; a popular design consideration for modern living spaces.

The striking aesthetics and almost frameless slim vertical profiles of these sliding glass doors conform to the highest specification of architectural glazing exceeding the practical and efficiency targets that modern design and building needs.

When looking at the fixed glazing elements to suit these slim framed glass doors structural glazing is by far the most suitable option.

Structural glass installations create frameless glass elements for modern architectural designs, the glass itself takes an element of the structural loads that are applied to the elevation or surface, therefore, glass thicknesses can be increased without the need for framing.

Sliding Glass Doors and Structural Glass Walls

One of the most widely used applications for sliding doors with structural glass is to create a long elevation of glass with minimal frames. Slim sliding glass doors can be integrated into a wall of structural glass to offer opening elements whilst maintaining the minimal framing design.

This residential extension to a listed property in the Cotswolds included a 13m long wall of frameless glazing down one elevation of the open plan living, kitchen and dining area. This glass wall was made from structural glazing to offer the most minimal design finish and to maximise the impressive panoramic views available from the living space.

Structural Glass Wall to large home extension in the Cotswolds. The structural glass created the appearance that this large cantilevered roof is floating.

For access to the surrounding patio, a minimal window sliding door was integrated to one end of the elevation. The minimal windows sliding doors have an ultra slim 21mm sightline which complemented the structural glass wall perfectly. The sliding pane slides on the internal face of the structural glass wall when open. When closed there it is very difficult to discern the sliding pane from the fixed structural glazing.

A similar solution was used on this private residential new build in Surrey. One elevation of the living space was created using fixed frameless structural glazing. The returning elevation facing the pool is made from slim framed sliding doors giving access to the garden.

Structural Glass Wall to the right and sliding doors to the far side of the glass elevation.

Visually both elevations maintain that minimal glazing aesthetic with slim sightlines and frameless head and base details but access to the gardens is maintained.

A luxury award-winning coastal glazing project , Sand Dunes, based in Newquay also used large elevations of minimally framed doors to enhance the indoor-outdoor living experience, providing large light-filled open-plan living areas with easy access to the garden.

 Sand Dunes pulls in far reaching views with slim frame glass sliding doors

View Sand Dunes Slim Framed Glass Sliding Doors case study

Sliding Glass Doors and Structural Glass Balustrades

By integrating a structural glass balustrade into a sliding door opening you can create a minimal Juliet balcony design maximising glass and minimising interruptions to views.

The frameless glass balustrade can be fixed internally within the sliding door opening. As the balustrade is frameless the appearance of the window doesn’t change whether the sliding doors are open or closed.

On this prime residential development in London you can see the perfect merging of a sliding glass door with a structural glass balustrade within a central light well.

Can you spot the balustrade? The frameless glass unit is almost invisible.

The structural glass walls and slim framed sliding doors surround the light well which is three storeys stall, providing natural light to some of the basement living spaces. Various elements of the light well elevation are sliding for ventilation. Within these openings, a structural glass balustrade was integrated so that each floor of the development looked the same and ventilation could be achieved.

The resulting Juliet balcony is so minimal that it is almost impossible to see the glass balustrade on some images.

Sliding Glass Doors and Structural Glass Windows

Slim framed sliding glass doors and structural glazing elements do not need to be connected to provide a cohesive design to the architectural glazing.

Openings filled with sliding glass doors can be complemented within the same elevation or the same room with a frameless structural glass window. As a structural glass window has no frame it maintains the minimal design of a slim sliding door install in a fixed window.

On this new build contemporary home in Northwood slim frame architectural glass was used on both the upper and lower floors. The glazing used on the lower floor consisted of frameless structural glass elevations mixed with minimal windows sliding glass doors creating a glazed box to the new build.

Kewferry Drive creating a minimal design with frameless structural glass and sliding glass doors

From a rear view the fixed glazing and sliding door glazing look indistinguishable from one another thanks to the minimal detailing of both the sliding door system and the structural glazing.

Upper floors used both the slim framed sliding glass doors as windows and fixed structural glass Picture Windows for a frameless window finish. Both slim profiles from the two different architectural glazing designs allow the minimal design desired to provide a cohesive design finish with the rest of the glazing.

IQ's slim framed sliding glass doors have been integrated with structural glass on this Northwood project, Kewferry Drive.

The new build provides uninterrupted views of the garden with the slender profiles of minimal windows combined with structural glass creating a large elevation of glass, flooding the home with natural light.

View Kewferry Drive slim framed sliding glass doors case study

Sliding Glass Doors and Structural Glass Roofs

A structural glass roof and sliding doors to the extension at Killeser Avenue

By integrating a structural glass roof into a sliding door installation you can ensure the most minimal connection between the fixed structural glass and opening doors below.

You will always need a steel supporting member at the junction between the sliding doors and the returning glass roof but if engineered properly this can be as minimal as possible. The depth and structure of the beam will depend on the span of the opening and the weight of the glass roof above it is supporting.

There are two areas of design that you should investigate when specifying a structural glass roof with sliding doors below. One is the direction of the fall of the roof and one is the position of the joints of the glass.

If the glass roof is pitched either directly towards or backwards from the sliding doors you should pay close attention to is the position and placement of any joints within the glass roof. These structural joints should be designed to line up with the frame sections of the sliding doors below.

This partially glazed extension in Wiltshire used minimal windows sliding doors to the vertical elevation and then a structural glass roof supported by glass beams above. The steel section across the opening was clad in bespoke aluminium pressings which concealed the head frame of the sliding doors as well as the fixings for the glass beams.

The panes of glass used within the roof were sized to match up with the sliding doors. This created a continuous joint from the glass roof to the sliding doors below.

A large structural glass roof and minimal windows to The Garden Room House project.

If the fall of the structural glass roof runs perpendicular to the sliding door installation then the position of the glass joints has less impact. However you will need to consider how that interface between the flat top of the doors and the angled roof will work.

On the below project in London aluminium sliding glass doors and a structural glass roof were used to create a side infill extension to a traditional terraced house. The glass roof falls from the party wall to the existing building, supported and drained there with a structural gutter. Between the glass roof and the head of the sliding doors a shaped piece of frameless structural glass was used as an infill.

A glass side infill extension on Claremont Square in London.

Sliding Glass Doors and Structural Glass Extensions

Sliding doors offer a fantastic solution for access doors from a glass box extension. With the minimal framing available from them you can easily match the aesthetics of the frameless structurally glazed box.

A structural glass box extension is an amalgamation of structural glass walls and a glass roof that is all brought together in a bespoke nature to suit each individual project.

The below structural glass box provided a clear, glass filled extension to a listed building. Slim framed sliding doors were expertly integrated into the structural glass structure to act as access doors to the garden and maintain the minimal aesthetics required from the listed extension.

Yew Tree House: minimal sliding doors into a glass box extension to a listed home.


A contemporary glass box extension was installed in a traditional home based in the Midlands to provide a flexible, airy and modern kitchen area filled with natural daylight. The traditional design for this new modern layout uses steel supports within the structural glass roof to achieve this.


Main Street: Midlands Glass Box Extension leads directly to the terraced garden, accessible by large sliding door systems.

View Main Street Glass Box Extension case study 

What Sliding Doors can I use?

The below sliding doors offer the most minimal framing finish possible:

minimal windows : 21mm aluminium frame

minimal windows 4+ : 26mm aluminium frame

For more sliding door options visit or click below to download their free eBook: Choosing and Specifying Sliding Doors.

Get the FREE eBook: Choosing and Specifying Sliding Doors for Internal and External Use

Contact IQ Glass for more information about the products or projects mentioned above on 01494 722 880 or email

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