You have two main options when choosing a sliding glass system: top hung or bottom rolling.
To make the right choice for your property, it is necessary that you are familiar with the major differences between the two options.
If aesthetics are a major concern, a top hung system is probably the better choice for you. For one thing, the design hides almost all the hardware. For another, the bottom track is always recessed, meaning it is barely visible.
It is possible to gain great aesthetics with a bottom rolling system — you can still have an expanse of glass to enhance views and natural light. However, it is impossible to recess the lower tracks, which means that you will have a ledge to step over.
With a top hung system, you can turn your entire wall into sliding glass without any s risk. It is almost impossible for a potential intruder or strong winds to push top hung doors from the tracks. When your system also uses extra-strength glass and a secure locking system on the inside, you have optimal security.
The main disadvantage of bottom rolling doors is that it is possible to lift the panels from their tracks. This means that, even if you take extra security precautions, a bottom rolling system will never be as secure as a top hung system. Your doors will never be completely protected from forced entry and gales.
The only requirement for a top hung system is that the building is able to provide support for the upper tracks. As the tracks are concealed in the ceiling, the construction must be able to support the entire weight of the sliding system below. Provided that your building meets this criterion, a top hung system will be suitable, whatever the layout. In fact, top hung doors even work for curved, curvilinear, and other types of non-linear openings.
You may be unable to install a bottom rolling system if your flooring is uneven. When flooring is not level, there is the chance that doors may tilt to one side, which will make it impossible to open and close the panels.
In a top hung system, the upper tracks bear all the weight of the sliding glass. The lower tracks function as a stabilizer, keeping the panels in position. This means that the doors glide open without resistance. As there is no need to apply any pressure, top hung doors are suitable for any user. These same characteristics lead to a long lifespan of wheel assemblies.
Another factor that makes the top hung system suitable for anyone is the fact that there is nothing to step over. The lower tracks can sit flush with the floor, which eliminates the risk of trips and falls.
Finally, you’ll never suffer from any performance issues with top hung glass. This is true including when flooring is uneven. As the system is mounted on the ceiling, the condition of the floor below has no impact on performance.
In a bottom rolling system, two lower wheels support all the weight of the glass. This means you’ll need to apply force to open and close the door. Sometimes, your sliding door may become unstable, especially when weather conditions are poor. Furthermore, there is always the possibility that elements could jump the track, ruining performance and posing a safety risk.
Top hung systems require minimal maintenance. The wheel assembly in the upper track stays clean naturally, thanks to gravity. When you do need to clean the system, you will be able to reach the wheels, subassemblies, and other components without problem. Plus, since the system has completely lower flush tracks, there are no ledges and corners to clean on the floor.
For outdoor systems, there’s no need to worry about the lower tracks filling with water, as the track will be fitted with drainage. The most common options are drainpipes and weep holes.
A bottom rolling system requires regular cleaning. If dirt and debris build up in the lower track, the doors will stop functioning properly.
There are several factors to take into consideration when choosing the right type of sliding glass system for you. A top hung system will bring the most advantages — and it is suitable for the majority of properties. However, if you are concerned that your building structure will be unable to support the upper tracks, you may need to opt for bottom rolling doors.
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