Sliding Bi-fold Patio Doors
Bi-fold doors are becoming a very popular home improvement, especially as we seem to be more inclined towards improving our homes instead of moving – this can be evidenced quite easily given the current market conditions.
The big features of giving unrestricted access to the garden from the interior of the house and maximising natural light are coming across as the top reasons to install bi-fold patio doors in the UK.
For those properties which are lucky enough to be able to take advantage of a whole wall, fitting bi-folds is the perfect solution for creating an almost panoramic view of the outside gardens. When fully opened these Multi-fold doors will give a virtually seamless connection between the interior and exterior.
The latest examples are manufactured in from a few different materials such as:
- Hard & softwood
Each material will have its own “key” feature(s). With aluminium and uPVC you get long life & low maintenance.
Softwood will be inexpensive, Hardwood a little more pricey, but longer lasting.
Aluminium bi-fold doors are the ones that seem to have made the greatest gains in terms of sales, due in part to the modern manufacturing processes that turn out really high quality doors at a reasonable cost.
Powder coated RAL coloured frames allow aluminium to have an almost unlimited choice when it comes to colour (150 plus), and the finishes are so reliable that you can find products that even come with a 25-year paint finish guarantee.
You can get a few different colours in uPVC, even a wood grain effect surface finish. Wood can obviously be painted or stained to the colour of your choice.
Mоst of the average sized dооrs fitted would have 3 folding sections (or leaves), however, you could go аll thе wау uр tо 6 or maybe even 8 раnеls for exceptionally large glazed areas.
For small openings, under 2 metres (6 feet 6 inches) bi-fold may not be the best option, but you can find some 2 panel examples on the market.
In terms of the way the doors are mounted, there are 2 options.
- Top hung – rollers fit into an overhead track with just guides at the bottom
- Bottom hung – rollers fit into a floor level track with just guides at the top
- They can fold to left or right and “stack” in or out.
If you want top hung doors, then you will need to ensure that the track is well and solidly fixed to the overhead lintel. Bi-fold doors (when glazed) can be heavy and the last thing you need is for the overhead track to work loose over time.
The advantage of top hung doors is they can be installed “threshold-free” with the lower guide track sunk into the floor (no tripping!). Bear in mind that you need to have a good weather proof system if you have floor level thresholds, to stop wind & rain from getting in.
For energy efficiency, you can fit double glazed panels with 21, gaps between the panes. If you combine 21mm units with gas filled “air-gaps” and low-emissivity glass, you can get a window with a good low U-value.
Building regulations in the UK demand that floor level glazing is “safety-glass”. I would recommend to have toughened glazing (similar to a car windscreen) but to have the best safety you can fit laminated glass, which is super-safe and increases the overall security levels of the doors immensely.