There is a significant chance that one of the industry’s oldest products is about to become the next big thing. That product is the sliding patio door and in recent years it has shown massive resurgence, driven mostly by home owner demand.
So why is the sliding patio door seeing such a strong return to popularity?
Naturally easy to use
One of the main downsides to French doors and bi-folding doors is that the door sections have to either open in or open out. Either way, the home owner is going to lose space in a room in their house or their garden. Not ideal.
With a sliding patio door, although there isn’t as much physical open space, with the sash sliding in front of the other, there is no usable space lost thanks to no hinged door. Assuming the product is a good quality, sliding doors are incredibly easy to use too. A good runner ensures that even the largest sliding section glide across with ease. An important factor if the home owner is elderly or struggles with a disability.
Imagine the scenario; a home owner has had an large extension built at the back of their property and to take advantage of the view they have created an impressive six metre wide opening. What product could be used to fill that gap?
French doors are off the table. You’d need a series of side lights or massive side windows which proportionally would look odd and ruin the view. Bi-fold doors could be an option. They could all slide to one side to open up the whole space. You could use one door section as a conventional door if it was split into a seven-section bi-fold. But, it also means the impressive view will be split up a number of times. Something the home owner may not be all that fond about.
Sliding patio doors however can provide a great alternative. You could use a triple track systems, where two out of the three section move across to one side and slide over each other, which would give the home owner roughly four metres of opening space, which is ample amount. Remember, we don’t really have the weather for big spaces regularly opened. Even better, the view is only interrupted by two uprights rather than five or six, maintaining the most amount of view and glass area. This would be the most visually impressive option.
Kinder pricing point
Be it PVCu or aluminium, bi-fold doors come with a premium price tag when compared to sliding patio doors. Although with the current race to to bottom in the bi-fold market, that paradigm may not stay this way for long.
Sliding patio doors though can provide a most cost effective option for home owners who are looking to open up space in a room, but don’t necessarily have bi-fold budget. This is especially true when it comes to the PVCu part of the slider market.
Whilst French doors are fairly similar in price, sliding doors do tend to sit just below them on the pricing ladder. This isn’t a bad thing, and it does give the home owner an option to upgrade their doors without having to lose room or garden space.
Vastly improved aesthetics
The old generation of sliding patio doors really were awful. Dark grey aluminium doors in a shoddy timber sub-frame. Dripping in condensation during the Winter months. Terrible energy efficient. Appalling security, or lack thereof. It’s no wonder home owners turned away from them in vast numbers.
However, in both the PVCu and aluminium parts of the industry, manufacturers have really given the sliding patio door a massive make over. The PVCu ones looks great. But it’s in the aluminium sector where the doors have dramatically improved. There are some stunning sliding door products from the likes of Aluk, Smarts, Schuco, Reynaers and the rest. Sleek. Architectural. Slim. Stunning hardware and immensely improved energy efficiency and security. This new generation of sliding patio doors has really dragged the whole sector back into the limelight with installers and with home owner.
The really wide-spanned sliders look even better. There is something visually impressive when you see a three metre wide span of glass move seamlessly across another.
A threat to bi-folds
All of the above are reasons why the sliding patio door is a threat to the bi-fold market. The bi-fold sector at the moment is at war with itself, eating it’s own profit margins to undercut each other in a race to the bottom.
The sliding door market however has undergone a transformation and it’s paying dividends. There is most certainly a comeback in this part of the market and if home owners continue to be attracted by the new raft of sliding products, there is a serious chance the bi-fold market could find some of it’s share is eroded.
This is most certainly a good time to get back in to the sliding door market.
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