The answer to the question is not at all straight-forward, and is a dilemma that faces UK home owners who have an existing wide aperture they wish to fit replacement doors into, or who plan to create a new builders opening with a new lintel above wide opening doors. The options are not black and white, and a lot comes down to individual requirements, and what type of door would be best suited to a particular property, plus each of the replacement door options have their own pros and own cons.
Take aluminium and PVCU double glazed sliding patio doors for example, as these are a very popular means of filling up wide apertures with sliding doors that can open up the space to the outside, as these can have very wide picture window sections. Unlike French doors, sliding doors will not get blown in the wind. In-line aluminium and PVCU sliding patio doors are great space savers, allowing items of living room furniture to be placed right up to the glass on the inside and garden furniture the outside. These sliding doors are an ideal option therefore for property owners with limited internal or external space. Both aluminium and PVCU double glazed sliding patio doors can be made in two, three or four sections, so can span across very wide areas, whilst allowing in the a lot of daylight and allowing great views in and out. A slight downside of sliding patio doors is that they come with only a standard threshold option, unlike French doors and bi-folding doors which do offer a low threshold option. However, as they run in a track, top and bottom, you can understand way in order to keep out driving rain they need to have thresholds that are suitable for the products.
Another option is aluminium, composite or PVCU double glazed French doors. These side hung doors have the advantage of being able to be fabricated so they just open in (i.e. if they overlook a Juliet balcony), or more commonly made so that they just open out. Replacement double glazed French doors provide property owners with the option of having either the right-hand or the left-hand French door leaf as the Master sash, with the other leaf being the Slave sash, Most aluminium, composite and PVCU French doors are limited on width, due to the weight that the toughened safety glass in the door leaves place on the door hinges.
Bespoke replacement French doors can be made so that they have one or two side vision panels either side to help span wide apertures. These side panels be either full height or sat on dwarf walls and can incorporate side hung or top hung opening vents with a lockable night vent facility to permit ventilation whilst the vents remaining in a locked relatively secure position. A downside of side hung French doors is no different to any side hung residential door, in that side hung door leaves can be unwittingly caught by a sudden gust of wind, causing the doors to slam, which can damage the frames or sealed units. The way to avoid this is to have cabin hooks fitted and always use them when opening the doors.
The most costly option is to go for aluminium double glazed bi-folding and sliding doors, which afford you the advantage of being able to really open up the internal space to your outside. For UK home owners those who want a two, four or six section sliding and folding door that all fold in one direction, the downside of doors all folding one way is that none of the leaves can then act as a “travel door”, as to enable folding doors to open, two bi-folding door leaves have to move together at the same time, hence why these products are called “bi-fold doors”. There is a solution to this dilemma, and that is to design your bespoke aluminium folding and sliding doors so that they have three, five or seven sections, thus allowing the door sash on one of the ends to act as a travel door. There are aluminium bi-folding door systems where you can have four and six section configurations that do incorporate a travel door by having either one door leaf or two door leaves side hung, providing not only a travel door, but a French door and bi-folding door option all in one configuration.
Before ordering extra wide replacement doors, it is therefore worth doing careful research and thinking through the best way you can use exact width of your existing or new aperture to get the best long term investment. In this regard it is worth partnering with an established double glazing doors designer, manufacturer and installer to get both the right style of door and the right design to suit your property.
It is better to go for a standard height door threshold on French doors or bi-folding doors, as you can request at survey that your installer and/or builder adjusts the floor levels, so that the products are fitted as low as possible, so you end up with a decent weather rating and the lowest possible threshold without compromising on weather proofing, as unfortunately low thresholds on any door don’t have a good weather rating due to the simple fact they are “low” and more exposed to driving rain and the elements.
Do you have something romantic lined up for your partner this Valentine’s Day? With just two days to go until it’s here, we would hope…
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