Patio Doors

by Scott Edwards

Patio doors first came onto the scene in the 70’s when the then modern aluminium sliding doors became fashionable. These doors have lasted fairly well, and there are still a few residential properties that have them in place today. However, the one draw back to this style of door is the reduced opening due to their parallel sliding action, which results in only 50% of the available space giving ventilation at any one time. This older style of patio door was also extremely metallic looking, and almost always silver.

The only other option to the modern patio door in those days was traditional French doors, which are still very popular today, especially in period properties. French doors usually open outwards (although not exclusively), and if they’re hung on parliament hinges will fold back a full 180 degrees against the property wall, and open up the entire space out onto the patio or garden area. The only draw-back with French doors is they have a limit to their size. For people with above average sized houses that also have of an open aspect of anything greater than 2 metres in width, French doors have to be placed into a large frame with glazing panels to each side. Although this is fine for light penetration, it doesn’t take full advantage of the available space.

Bi fold doors or folding sliding doors as they’re also referred to are designed from the same concept as concertina doors that usually separate two rooms. Concertina doors are not suitable for exterior use, and can often be problematic as room dividers because of their feeble construction. Bi folding doors have dealt with both the interior and exterior aspects that we want to fully open or use for dual purposes. Their sturdy construction, high level of security and ease of operation make them appealing, especially as you also get full light penetration into the area they occupy. The folding sliding doors are ideal for homes and businesses who want the option of a greater feeling of space.

Even though bi fold doors cover a huge range of sizes, once we advance to extremely large spaces that are commonly seen on modern extensions spanning the full width of a property it may be time to look again at the original sliding patio door. Rather than having ten to twelve doors covering an equal amount of metres and perhaps looking a little repetitive, the new sliding patio doors can cover huge distances and still be extremely aesthetically pleasing. Gone are the days of sliding patio doors only being available in a two door system. Three, four, even six door systems are now readily available, and are constructed from much sturdier materials than the originals. The new lift and slide patio door systems are available for openings as small as 2 metres, right up to the biggest opening spaces on a private swimming pool, entertainment room or wine bar. The doors are available in either powder coated aluminium or a range of hardwood timbers from specialist manufacturers.

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