Quickslide’s Adrian Barraclough guides you through the latest garden door options.
Where once there was just the perennial white aluminium sliding patio door, now there are sliders, bi-folds and French doors in every shape and material in every colour and finish imaginable…these are what you should look out for…
Slip n Slide
The good old sliding patio door remains a favourite, despite the onslaught of various fancy bi-folds and for good reason too. Sliding patio doors let in more sunlight with larger, unrestricted glass areas, are simple to fit and operate and, whilst they can’t be opened fully like bi-folds, neither do they require space for the folding and storing of the leaves.
They are a very attractive solution for large openings and modern, slimline aluminium profiles and nicely weighted PVCu systems too, slick operation (even electrically operated) and nicely damped handles and hardware, make sliders an excellent bet for most properties
Available in woodgrain foil, or with a contemporary smooth finish, these doors can be supplied in pretty much any RAL colour, whether aluminium or PVCu. Generally they are available in configurations of two to four sections in various panel widths and security these days is better than ever, with PAS24 upgrades available for any homeowners looking for extra assurance about security.
Always the choice for smaller openings, but also in period homes where sliders and bi-folds just do not suit a more classical property. Having said that, French Doors can be made to look traditional or contemporary, depending on the material the customer chooses – again aluminum or PVCu styles in various formats are available. Have a look at the latest ‘flush’ versions, which are being chosen in ever increasing numbers, for example. And, of course, timber French Doors are a must in conservation properties, and these have never been better, with the old reputation of ‘rotten from new’ a thing of the past.
Woodgrain foils have never looked more realistic and again, offering any colour that Mr & Mrs Smith want to match their new designer kitchen can be a clincher for the job. And, of course, our old friend ‘PAS24’ will ensure that when your customer locks up for the night, you can assure them they are as burglar-proof as any can be.
Get the ‘Grand’ Design!
Perhaps we should change the name of ‘bi-folding doors’ to ‘Kevin McCloud Doors’ because the ubiquitous presenter of the addictive TV home design programme Grand Designs is widely credited with their popularisation.
Bi-folds are suitable for any home as they offer the greatest choice of width and height flexibility; a two panel version can even replace a French door and, due to their popularity, prices have come tumbling down in recent years, even for quality systems.
But, of course, the main feature of bi-folds is that they can be folded back to provide a pillarless, unobstructed opening between the home and the garden. Two to eight sections mean that even the widest opening can be created for spectacular effect.
At Quickslide we often get questions surrounding security on bi-folds; homeowners tend to worry more due to the large opening area, but with our old friend PAS24 that really is not an issue, with the doors becoming as secure as is possible.
Bi-folds come in so many designs these days, although only closer study will reveal the differences between the various brands. Nonetheless, great strides continue to be made in the hardware – the most crucial element in any bi-fold – and in my view buying cheap is likely to bring a ton of pain down upon you with sticking, grungy doors that are hard to operate and secure. And sometimes within weeks of installation.
Although available in PVCu and indeed, timber, our choice is always for aluminum, a material that simply provides the best torsional rigidity with the slimmest sections. Why is this important? Well, although most garden doors are chosen for their effect when open, the fact is that the British weather dictates that they will spend more time closed. And bi-folds by their nature use more profiles in their manufacture, so the slimmer the section, the less intrusive will the frames be when they are closed. That might sound pernickety but believe me it’s important, but only understood after the novelty of the doors wears off.
And here’s some of the latest things to look out for…
- Have a good look at the new ‘Flush’ styles
- There are individual sliding and folding bi-fold panels (which we do not supply) but make sure you buy from a reputable manufacturer with cast iron guarantees
- Smooth finishes even on PVCu doors make the product look like ali
- Look out for new woodgrains on our PVCu doors: English Oak, Nut Tree, Agate Grey
- Offer your customers ‘Statement’ colours: any RAL colour they like
- Textured Finishes on Aluminium are something new to consider
- Dual Colour – it isn’t new but something worth mentioning to enable perfect matching to other frames on the outside and decorations on the inside
- Surface bars on aluminium create a ‘Scandi-tiled’ appearance – this is something that we’re beginning to see a lot of on bi-fold doors.
- Heritage frames in aluminium – as slim as possible. On our ali sliding doors the customer can even opt for a super slim midrail to allow for a slimmer appearance that allows for a greater glass area.
- Integral blinds – that is blinds incorporated within the insulated glass units – they look great, prevent heat build up when the doors are shut on sunny days, and will increase your reputation and margin too