One of the star products to rise in the window and door industry over the past few years has been the bi-folding door. It has grabbed the imagination of the general public and has been glamorised by TV programmes such as Grand Designs.

Sliding patio doors still useful

You can understand by bi-folding doors have become so popular. The ability to open up large spaces to bring the garden and the outside in. They look great when open. Their operation is far more spectacular compared to their sliding and French counterparts. And they look great too.

But the problem with bi-folds is exactly the same reason sliding patio doors still have a use in our industry. Bi-folds split up a great view. Imagine you have a great house, overlooking fields, a river maybe, an old village. Then imagine having that view split up four or five times with PVCu or aluminium frames. Not ideal is it. And you don’t really want to open them up because it’s England and it’s probably only 15 degrees.

This is where sliding patio doors become useful. When you look at the featured image for this post, you have got some big glass units giving you that view back. This type of door can be made in much bigger sizes than individual bi-fold sections, allowing you the bigger glazed areas.

Moreover, the nature of their design means no internal or external space is lost by folding leafs, an issue common with French doors.

A product for the UK climate

Lets be fair, we don’t really have the climate for bi-folding doors. Unless you live in the very south of England where things tend to be a bit warmer, most of the UK does not have the weather for a product like bi-folding doors. But it’s a product that has become established for the reasons I gave right at the beginning of the post. So I guess you could say it has been an illogical success.

But for me, the sliding patio door is a product for the UK. It’s still modern in appearance providing you use the right material, aluminium probably being the best option. You get all the views you want thanks to it’s large glass areas. you don’t lose any room or garden space because there are no door leafs. And lets be honest, given the UK climate, half a door is really all we want to open anyway!

Done right, sliding patio doors can look fantastic. Their large spans can really open up a room and flood the light straight in. For this reason, and the ones above, sliding patio doors still have their place in the UK window and door market.

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