Frequent Questions – French Patio Doors
Here are some Frequent Questions & Answers
Q: Can you fit hardwood?
A: Many different suppliers offer hardwood door options. Some will be made out of timbers you recognise, such as Oak or Mahogany. You could also have a look at some African hardwoods such as Idigbo.
Veneered doors are also in the market; this is generally a softwood core with a thin layer of a different type of wood laminated onto the surface.
Q: Are all patio doors fitted with double glazing?
A: Unless you are fitting French doors internally, then you should buy them with double glazing. It makes them more energy efficient, secure and more difficult to break accidentally.
Triple glazed patio doors are an option, but you should consider if the extra cost is balanced by the energy savings that can be made.
Patio doors that have ground level glazing should always be fitted with toughened or laminated safety glass whether they are used internally or externally.
Q: Can I get colours?
A: Bare timber doors can be stained or painted to your choice. UPVC products can be supplied in around 12 different colours plus wood grain finishes.
Doors made out of Aluminium (RAL colours) can be found in as many as 150 different shades.
You could also find dual coloured products where the internal frame is a different colour to the outside.
Q: What configuration & size options are there?
A: Fully fitted patio doors are typically made to order so almost any size can be manufactured. You would usually find any single panel to be about 1-metre-wide by 2.4 metres high (up to 3m).
Bi-fold doors can be seen with up to 8 panels. French doors come in pairs so if you have a wider opening then you would probably use 2 or more sets of doors.
A standard house door is 6ft 6ins x 2ft 6ins (to 2ft 9ins).
Q: For Bifold Doors Can we have an easy access (lead) door?
A: It is possible to make one of the doors operate by itself and the others stack to the left or right – this is the lead door (as is leader). This door can work like a normal door and you won’t have to unlock any of the others to go in or out.
For French Doors both will open (in or out).
Q: What about flush fitting door thresholds?
A: Flush fitting floor level thresholds are widely available for BI-fold doors and are claimed to be totally weather proof. Low level thresholds of just 18mm can be fitted by some manufacturers.
You should check the weather proof abilities of any system you propose to buy beforehand, as some may not be able to cope so well with severe exposure to water & wind.
Q: What is top or bottom hung?
A: Generally referring to the carriage runners on Bi-fold Patio Doors. Top running doors have the carriages concealed in the head of the frame. Be aware that some top running doors may need you to have extra strengthening installed at the top of your opening to support the weight of the doors.
Bottom hung doors have rollers that fit into a guide track at the foot of the door panel. One annoyance is that dirt & dust can collect in the tracks themselves.
Q: What’s the difference between supply only & fully fitted?
A: Both have pros & cons. Supply only allows you to either do the work yourself or locate a builder of your choice to fit them. You could be lucky & save some money on the installation cost.
Using a supply & fit option means that one company is responsible for everything instead of having to deal with 2.
Q: Can I install patio doors myself?
A: If you have a lot of experience in DIY work of this nature, then it is possible but there are some drawbacks. Clearly you may save some money but building regulations require windows & doors to be certified to meet certain standards and you would be responsible for getting the certification.
If you use a FENSA or CERTASS approved installer they take care of all of that.
If you fit it yourself, you don’t have a warranty on the work and if you are creating a new opening to fit the doors into then structural work has to be undertaken with great care & may also be subject to building regulations or even planning permission.
Q: What is typically included in a price or quote?
A: Supply only prices for patio doors will usually include the cost of the door, frame, glazing, furniture, packing & delivery. Check with the seller to see if VAT is included or not.
Fully fitted patio doors prices are just that – the cost everything from start to finish but check at outset if that also includes guarantees & warranties on both products & work.
If you are unsure about any part of your home improvement, then don’t hold back from asking your supplier or installer as many questions as you like – any reputable trades-person will be more than happy to supply answers.