Have you noticed that the humble sliding patio has started to make a pretty robust comeback in the last few years? Whilst the bi-folding door market has made many of the headlines, column inches and much of the chatter in the door world, sliding patio doors have quietly undergone a bit of a mini revolution.
They have become fashionable once again, thanks in part to the aluminium sector revamping the product for this decade. But how strong is the sliding patio revolution and how long will it last?
Function over fashion
First, we need to look at the reasons as to why sliding patio doors are once again in vogue. To begin with, they offer glazing on a much bigger scale than what most bi-fold doors can offer.
With most bi-fold doors, the maximum sash width is 1000mm wide. Whilst this is still pretty wide, a three metre bi-fold would have to be split into three of four sections, meaning less glass, and more frames in the way of the view outside. A three metre PVCu or aluminium sliding patio door will easily split once, meaning just one upright, plenty of glass and the maximum amount of view.
This is where sliding patios have the upper hand. When it comes to maximum sash widths, they easily win on that front. And if a home owner has a view to savour and make the most of, this is where sliding patio doors come into their own.
This does also play a part in matters, whether we like it or not. And generally speaking, sliding patio doors are cheaper in comparison to bi-folding doors. However, in recent years we have seen the bi-fold market start to butcher itself and appears to be in a race to the bottom to cut prices time after time.
Still, the accepted narrative is that sliding patios are cheaper than bi-folds, and if a home owner is wanting to open up a room, maximize glazed space and keep costs in control, then sliders are the route to go down.
Yet, as with everything else in this world, there are variations. In our case, it’s PVCu vs aluminium. Home owners can expect to pay a premium for aluminium sliding patio doors in comparison to their PVCu counterparts. But if you ask me, the uplift is justified because I have seen some of the newer aluminium sliding patio doors recently and they are very slick indeed. Not a single hint to the grey old days of timber outer frames and horrifically cold and lifeless inefficient ali frames.
What about the bi-fold market?
I think that the renaissance in the sliding patio door market is going to be one that is sustained and will be strong for some time to come. But I also believe that the bi-fold market will also continue to grow alongside it.
This isn’t once of those situations where one product threatens to cut off another. There is plenty of room in the UK fenestration sector for both sectors to perform well. The bi-fold market will continue to be strong, with products like Synseal’s WarmCore hybrid bi-fold continuing to push the boundaries of product innovation.
There are just some things that bi-folding doors can’t quite do what sliding patio doors can, and with a new range of high end PVCu, aluminium and timber sliders, this particular type of door should continue to see an uplift in interest and sales.