Hot summer months, long periods of dry weather, week after week of sunshine. All things that the UK certainly does not have, unfortunately. Yet, the product we all sell that goes hand in hand with those types of summers is selling in numbers that simply don’t make sense. The UK cannot just get enough of bi-folding doors.
The whole point about bi-folding doors is to open up a room, usually one that faces the outside as opposed to a dividing door between rooms, and let the garden, the view, the fresh air and anything else you want into your home. It’s your way of opening up the back wall, without having to knock a load of it down.
Yet we don’t really have a climate that invites that sort of door behaviour. We’re more likely to keep our doors closed in the summer than to open them. But that doesn’t seem to have stopped the British public buying into the idea of opening up their homes.
The Grand Designs effect
It’s fair to say that programmes such as the very popular Grand Designs has a lot to do with it. Almost every home you see on there has at least one wall that opens up to the outdoors via a massive section of bi-folding doors.
It’s shows like this which gets the creative minds flowing for the many millions that watch it. Although many of us cannot have the the types of homes that are featured on there every week, we can have certain products that have gone into the making of that home. Such as bi-folding doors.
No matter if it’s in PVCu, timber or aluminium, if there is a space to put them in, most home owners would consider it, even if they are more expensive than a French door or sliding door alternative.
Always the right choice?
I visited the other evening a property which has had a large extension built on the back. The owners had a large, picturesque garden, nicely landscaped, suitable for parties as and when the weather allows it. But they didn’t have bi-folds. They had a 3-section aluminium sliding doors where all three sections slid across to one side. This meant minimal breaking up of the glass, maximising the view. Bi-folds in this case would not have been the right option.
And perhaps that is something to consider. No matter how strong the demand from a home owner, it is up to us as an industry to educate and demonstrate all the options available. Sometimes a bi-fold just isn’t the right option. This couple’s extension had a 6 metre wide opening. That’s a lot of splits for a bi-fold door, but not nearly as many for the sliding door. It gave them the maximum amount of glass possible.
The sliding door should not be forgotten, especially if a project requires glazing that displays views the home owner can be impressed with.
Yet, despite the main drawback, our climate, the general public will want their own piece of Grand Designs luxury, even if they only open it a couple of times per year.