Patio Doors Buying Guide
Patio doors are becoming an increasingly popular addition to many homes throughout the UK. Allowing more light and natural air into your home, while allowing you to marvel at your landscape are just some of the reasons homeowners are falling in love with this door type. Patio doors are available in many offerings and styles however so we’ve put together our buying guide to show you what options you have.
Types of Patio Doors
Patio doors come in three different types, all with their own benefits and drawbacks.
What are French Patio Doors?
French patio doors are a pair of doors that hinge on the outside and open from the middle. They can be plain, just frames and glazed panels, or they can be quite decorative. This versatility makes them a perennially popular choice.
The biggest drawback of french doors is that they have thicker frames and less glazing than other types of patio doors. This means they let in less light and may obstruct any views when they are closed.
What are Sliding Patio Doors
With sliding doors, the clue is in the name. You have two big glazed panels: one is fixed in place, and the other can be slid open to create a doorway.
They have a minimal frame, maximum glazing, and give an almost completely clear view out across your garden. They also let light flood in and fill the room.
What sliding patio doors don’t offer, is much in the way of design options. A big pane of glass with a simple outer frame is basically your only choice. Of course, their sheer functionality, plus the view they reveal, are often decorative features in themselves.
What are Bifold Patio Doors
A set of external bifold doors consists of linked glazed panels, which can fold back in on themselves to create an opening.
They are a brilliant choice if you want to truly demolish the barrier between your living space and the outdoors. When they’re concertinaed up, they almost disappear, completely removing that divide between outside and in.
This incredible functionality does come at a cost though, with bi-fold doors almost exclusively being the most expensive option. They tend to suit larger openings however and this also explains their increased cost.
Patio Doors with Sidelights
Technically, any style of patio door can be enlarged by additional sidelights, which are tall, slim window panels that sit on either side of the doors. They are most often seen with french doors though, as they can be just as decorative and decadent.
Patio Doors Materials
Whatever style you choose, there will be a range of materials to choose from.
UPVC Patio Doors
uPVC is a firm favourite for any type of patio door. It is long-lasting, easy to clean, and provides great insulation. It is also the cheapest option, making it perfect for anyone who’s improving their home on a tight budget.
Of course, it is not the most visually appealing material. For some that bright white, gloss plastic is too plain, too cheap, to appeal.
Aluminium Patio Doors
Aluminium is lightweight, hard-wearing and cost-effective. It has an understated, modern design appeal of its own making it an excellent addition to any minimalist decor.
Perhaps the best feature of aluminium is its strength. It is so robust that you can have far thinner frames with bigger glazed panes, which lets maximum daylight flood in.
It is slightly more costly than uPVC, and it is also a far less effective insulator of heat.
Timber Patio Doors
For many people, timber is the most attractive option for their doors. Particularly well-suited to french doors, but it will add an upmarket tone to any garden or living space.
You can choose between soft or hardwood. Oak is a common favourite, although pine, mahogany or cedar can create a more unique, rich and beautiful look for your own home.
Timber will never be the cheapest option and will need to be carefully maintained to ensure a long lifetime. However, it adds elegance and natural beauty to any home.
What Glazing Options are Available?
Patio door glazing is usually made-up of tempered or otherwise treated glass to make sure it is a safe and thermally efficient addition to your home. Not only is this glass difficult to break, if the worst does happen it will shatter safely into tiny crumbs of glass.
Treated glass is required by law in the UK. You should also consider investing in double or triple glazing for any patio doors as well.
This will help your house stay energy-efficient and keep your energy bills lower in the long run, though triple glazing may increase the initial costs.
By limiting the amount of heat you keep, and the amount of heat you lose, you can also help keep your carbon footprint in check. A consideration that future generations will appreciate.
Consider the Finish of your Patio Doors
If you decide to go with timber or aluminium framed doors, you will need to choose a finish for your doors too.
With aluminium doors, you may have control over the final colour. From a sleek carbon grey to a clean white, manufacturers often have different colours available.
And with timber doors, there is the potential to buy them unfinished. This is great if you want to paint them a specialised colour or if you’d prefer a matt look.
Patio Doors Size Considerations
Size should be one of your main considerations when you’re choosing a style of patio doors.
French doors are far more limited in size, due to the way they are constructed. Though you can make them bigger by adding sidelights, transoms or other window panels, these are fixed and don’t offer the fluidity or sense of openness that doors do. You would also need to have enough space in your garden or on your patio, for the doors to open out into without causing an obstruction.
With sliding doors, this isn’t an issue. The door slides back on itself after all. But, with sliding doors, only 50% of your opening will actually function as a doorway. So if you have a small opening, then sliding doors may have to be ruled out.
If you’re leaning towards bifold doors though, size won’t really be an issue. As they compact down on themselves, you don’t have to worry about small gardens or openings, but they are flexible enough in design to fit a massive doorway as well.
What are the Best Patio Doors?
It is impossible to definitively state which patio doors are ‘best’.
There are just too many variables to take into account. The practical issues, like size, space, or budgetary considerations will be different for everyone. And, when it comes to taste, the design appeal is entirely personal.
For every person who adores the simplicity and clarity of a sliding door, there will be someone else who can’t resist the chic, classy styling of french patio doors.
We feel confident saying that any patio door you choose is likely to improve your home and even your life. We’ll just leave it up to you to pick which one.