What To Know About Crittall & The Best Companies To Use

Loved by architects and interior designers alike, Crittall doors and windows are still big news in the interiors world. Here, we asked Jennifer Hamilton of The Vawdrey House design practice how to use them in your home – before rounding up some of the companies that do them best…
By Georgina Blaskey /

What’s The Actual Definition Of Crittall, Jennifer?  

Crittall is the name of a brand – it makes steel-framed glazing to a W20 profile, which many other suppliers also make. This profile allows for super-slim sight lines and beautiful designs with high-impact resistance and thermal efficiency. It’s a classic profile design that’s been around since the 1850s, and was often use in Victorian industrial buildings before it became more prevalent in residential buildings throughout the 1920s and 1930s. The art deco period made them particularly fashionable, and many people used them to create decorative, curved windows. They then worked interesting designs into them with the fenestration (the arrangement of the windows).

Can It Be Used In Any Style Of Property?

Crittall is versatile and can be made to work sympathetically in Victorian, 1930s and more contemporary homes. Because you can vary the fenestration, you can give it a different look quite easily. In a property dating from the 1920s or later, Crittal can be used as replacement windows throughout the home. If your property has an industrial feel or even cottage-style leaded light windows, it can also work very well. If your house would have had sliding sash windows originally, you’re better reinstating these in timber, but you can always mix steel-framed glazing into an extension if you want to.

We’ve Noticed It Used Occasionally In Double-Height Extensions – Does It Work As A Rule?

Glazing may not be possible in one piece at double height, and if some of the panels need to open out, you will have to break it up further. Therefore it’s more common to see the fenestration manipulated to look good in several panes, and because the cross bars are very thin, the broken-up facade becomes more of a feature than a compromise.

Bygga
DAVID BUTLER

What Do You Need To Think About When It Comes To Using It In External Doors?

Because external doors are hinged and open outwards, you don’t get a fully flush threshold like you would with sliding or bifold doors. So, you do need a small difference in height from the outside to the inside. You also need to think about the area they open into being larger than the doors to allow for sufficient space once they’re open.

Why Is Crittall So Popular For Internal Use?

Crittall is often used as a screen or divider to allow lots of natural light to flood the space, while still providing some sense of separation or ‘zoning’ of different areas. Clients sometimes prefer the feel of 'normal' hinged doors internally, as opposed to heavy sliders with large expanses of frameless glass. 

As A Designer, Why Do You Like Using Crittall?

We love the ‘broken plan’, which essentially preserves the light and visibility throughout a building, while also closing spaces off and allowing for different activities to take place at once within the same space. Steel-framed glazing is great for certain projects, and when it reflects the other details within the house, it provides a coherent feel. You don't have to stick to the ‘industrial warehouse’ look – it’s a great way to create internal design features, such as static arches or curved screens. 

Bygga
MALCOLM MENIZIES
Turner Pocock

What Do You Need To Think About To Use It Internally?

You will need to think about fire ratings if you’re using steel-framed glazing to close off a kitchen area or to enclose a protected stairwell. This is not always straightforward – it can increase the cost and require sign off from your building inspector. The framing will also be different – you can't just ‘swap’ a solid timber door for a glazed steel-framed door.

Is There A Reason Not To Use Crittall?

The insulation from steel-framed glazing isn’t as good as aluminium or composite windows, so you need to work out the requirements of your space and whether you’ll need to increase insulation elsewhere to compensate. If you are aiming to create a highly insulated build or an eco-friendly house, you will need to use a higher-performing glazing system than steel frames.

Anything Else Worth Noting?

Think about the handles – there is a limited range available, but you can specify your own from Frank Allart, which has lots of finishes and options. You can have great fun with a coloured powder coat to move you away from the 'industrial warehouse' look  – just remember you can’t have one colour inside and another outside, so it needs to work for both environments.


Inspired? Here Are Five Crittall Companies Worth Knowing About…

Gunter & Co

Fabco

Based in West Sussex, Fabco uses advanced manufacturing capabilities to offer a complete bespoke design and project solution service. All products are engineered on specialised CNC machinery, which ensures a higher degree of accuracy, better performance, extended longevity and shorter manufacturing times. All products are TIG welded – a stronger, more precise process no other manufacturer uses.

Visit FabcoSanctuary.com

Bespoke Glazing Design

Covering London and beyond, Bespoke Glazing Design works alongside architects, interior designers, contractors and sub-contractors to design and develop bespoke solutions. It even provides you with a detailed drawing to help you envisage the final result. From planning through to design and installation, the experienced team will ensure you get the look you want. 

Visit BespokeGlazingDesign.co.uk

Maxlight

Maxlight is all about opening spaces and letting the light in – this ethos runs through every single one of its products. Everything is crafted on site, which means lead times are short and you can even visualise how the doors could look at the brand’s London-based show home. Later, look inside the adjoining factory to watch your doors being constructed by a team of specialists.

Visit Maxlight.co.uk

Black Steel Doors

The Black Steel team does it all – including design, manufacturing, installation and project management. For internal use, there are a range of Crittall-style doors available including sliding and pivoting designs, while external steel doors and windows are contemporary and industrial in their design, while offering excellent strength and security.

Visit BlackSteelDoors.co.uk

Govette Windows

Govette Windows has supplied and installed steel windows and doors for decades, with a team of staff that has more than 40 years of experience. Based in Surrey, all its steel windows and doors are manufactured in the UK to British Standard requirements. From on-site consultation and design, to survey, manufacture and installation, the full service is available across London, Sussex, Surrey and Kent. 

Visit GovetteWindows.com

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