This summer it seems we will get a few days of sunshine when we want to throw the doors and windows open and let some rays into our homes. So make sure you have the answers when you’re asked for advice on what garden doors a homeowner should choose.
Most important question to ask your customer is how they are planning to use the room:
- If they want a spectacular uninterrupted opening on to a fine patio and sculpted gardens then they should consider a bi-folding door
- A better choice for great uninterrupted views all year round are sliding doors, what we used to call ‘patio doors’, because they use more glass and less frame – and let’s face it, the doors will be closed most of the time anyway
- Or for a more classically styled home, and perhaps with smaller openings, then have a good look at French doors
The choice available for all door types is immense but let’s begin with the basics. Aluminium has the edge over PVCu – and even timber for larger doors – as it is more rigid and suffers from less flex. And aluminium bi-folding and sliding doors have actually fuelled a mini-boom in aluminium windows from homeowners wanting their windows and doors to match. However, if the home already has nice windows in woodgrain, or coloured finish PVCu, sliders or French doors to match are an excellent choice.
Other important considerations:
- Budget – PVCu is usually cheaper than aluminium and timber.
- Refurbishment or new build – does the end user want to replace with a like for like product or something completely new?
- Energy ratings – generally, all modern products can achieve great thermal performance, but PVCu is generally more energy efficient. All manufacturers will clearly state the performance of their products and will be easy to compare.
- Lead time – bespoke colours and styles may take longer. Look for a supplier that actually manufactures doors to keep lead-times to a minimum.
- Installation –bi-folds are harder to install than sliders so make sure you have someone that knows what they’re doing, though a good manufacturer will offer an installation guide. Patio sliders and French doors are both easy to fit.
- Security – consider options of glass, locks and handles. Go for quality and performance marks, such as Secured by Design. With new housing booming, most modern doors will come with some sort of PAS 24 security upgrade, mandatory for new homes. Do not stint on security! Good suppliers will offer a range of devices to make bi-folds, sliders and French doors as secure as they can possibly be.