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A Complete Buyer’s Guide To Patio Doors

A new set of patio doors can not only improve the functionality of your home, but also the aesthetics, security, and ultimately, its value. Some households simply want to enhance their property with something a little more interesting than your usual single external door, while others want to raise the value of their home with up-to-date features. The various styles of patio door can help you to achieve these goals, no matter what your priorities are.

There are three main types of patio door available – Sliding, French and BiFold. The best door design for you depends on a number of factors — namely the space you have to work with, the style of your property, and what you most want to get out of your new doors (e.g. better view, improved access, or enhancing the style of your property). So; where should you begin? Let’s start by looking at the pros and cons of each type of patio door in more detail:

French Doors

French doors are great for smaller patio openings and consist of two doors which open from the centre. There is not usually a bar running down the middle of the doors, so when you open both sides the opening is unobstructed and wider than the traditional single external door. Our French doors are made to measure, giving you a completely bespoke door set which fits your home perfectly. Browse our full range of French doors here.

Pros

    • Available with solid timber or uPVC frames
    • Suits a range of property styles
    • Can open one or both doors
    • Doors can be fitted with outward or inward opening
    • Glazing can be enhanced with different glass patterns and Georgian bars
    • Additional security upgrade available — the Patlock


Cons

    • Not suitable for very wide openings
    • Reduced glazing area compared with other patio door styles
    • Can slam shut in the wind if not secured
    • Space is required for either outward or inward opening


Sliding Patio Doors

uPVC French DoorsSliding patio doors can be fitted to both small and large openings and are made to measure, allowing you to configure them in the best way for you and your property. Sliding doors can be opened up to the full width of the sliding panel, making them perfect for when the weather is good or you need to move large items in and out of your home. Browse our full range of Sliding patio doors here.


Pros

  • Available with aluminium or uPVC frames
  • Individual door panels can maximise your view
  • Size of opening easily controlled
  • Doesn’t protrude from the opening inwards or outwards
  • Cannot slam shut in the wind


Cons

  • Sliding doors will overlap and therefore will not allow the full space to be opened up
  • Not suitable for narrow openings

BiFold Doors

Aluminium BiFold DoorBiFold doors are a relatively new product in the UK, but they’ve become extremely popular in a short space of time. They can span a small or large opening and are designed to fold right back to one side in a concertina fashion. This will allow you to open your home right up, bringing the outside in and really making the most of your garden or view. Available in aluminium or uPVC versions and made to measure, BiFold doors can enhance almost any style of property. Browse our full range of BiFold doors here.

Pros

  • Available with aluminium or uPVC frames
  • Can be pushed right back to make full use of the opening
  • Can open inwards or outwards
  • Can be fitted with a ‘traffic door’ for ease of everyday-use
  • A low threshold can be fitted to ensure a seamless transition


Cons

  • Door panels ‘stack’ at a 90° angle, so space is required on either side of the doors
  • The frames will break up the view when doors are shut

Which patio doors are best for me?

I use my patio doors frequently

If you use your patio doors regularly as a way to get in and out of your home, or if you spend a lot of time in your garden, then you’ll want something easy to use. You’ll also want a door which doesn’t require you to open the full width of the space up to the elements each time.

French doors lend themselves well to smaller openings where this is the case, as just one door can be used to pop in and out of the property. If you’re transporting large items in and out of your home or if you’d like to let the fresh air in on sunny days, both doors can be opened.

Sliding patio doors can opened to just the width you need to squeeze through, which helps to keep the heat in during the winter months. However, depending on the size of your Sliding doors, this may not be easy to do for those without the required strength, such as the very elderly or young children.

BiFold patio doors will need to be fitted with a ‘traffic door’ if you don’t want to have to open up the full door set each time you need to use it. The traffic door acts like a normal door and can be used independently from the rest of the panels.


I only use my patio doors in the summer

If you only use your patio doors when it’s summer, perhaps in order to let fresh air and sunshine into your home or to make the transition from kitchen to garden easier when hosting BBQs, you have one stand-out option. BiFold doors really come into their own during the summer months, allowing you to open up almost the full width of your patio door opening. This creates a seamless transition between outdoors and in, and is ideal for those who want to enjoy their gardens more in the summer. Of course, Sliding and French patio doors are also great for summer use, as they can also open up a wide space. Your choice depends on the space you have available and your personal tastes.


I’m looking for the most secure patio doors

Burglars tend to target the rear of a home due to the fact it’s easier to stay hidden in the garden, which gives them more time to attempt entry to your property. If you’re concerned about security, new patio doors — no matter which type they are — are a good idea. Modern construction techniques and built-in security features help modern patio doors withstand attempted entry much more effectively than older ones. For more information about the individual security features of each of our patio doors, see below. Alternatively, you can view the product specification or contact us if you have specific questions.


I have a great view — how can I maximise what I see?

BiFold doors and Sliding patio doors give you the biggest surface area of glass, making them both a great option to maximise your view. If you are able to extend the opening to fit wider doors in, this can be very effective – particularly when it comes to fitting BiFold doors.


I want low maintenance patio doors

As a general rule, patio doors made of aluminium or uPVC are relatively maintenance-free options, and should be your material of choice if you don’t want to worry about too much in the way of upkeep. Solid timber doors may need to be treated over the course of their lifetime, so if you’re looking for something totally maintenance-free, they aren’t the best option for you.


My patio doors need to match the style of my property

In terms of customisation, aluminium doors are available in a wide variety of colours, meaning there’s almost certainly an option to match the colour scheme of your property.

Both uPVC and aluminium doors can be customised to suit any style of home, with options such as timber-look finishes and Georgian bars. Our full range of patio doors, which you can browse online here, are fully customisable to complement your property perfectly.


My patio doors open out onto a balcony

If you don’t have a garden then you may be confused as to what is available to you, as most patio door guides will exclusively refer to ground-level installations. All of our patio doors — including BiFolds — can be installed on higher floors to open out onto a balcony or raised terrace. If you’d like to have your balcony measured to see what options are available to you, we welcome you to book a free survey with us, in which one of our experienced surveyors will be able to advise you on the best option.



Patio Door Security

When it comes to your patio doors, security is of the utmost importance. Many people overlook this and assume that their patio doors are automatically safer because they’re at the rear of the home, which is not traditionally as accessible as the front. However, burglars will commonly look for ways to get into a property where they are least likely to be seen. This means that the rear of your home — where an intruder may be hidden from view by tall foliage or fencing — can be a more tempting place to attempt entry than at the front of the property. An added bonus for the burglar is that many people do not take extra security measures in this area by ensuring their patio doors have up to date locking systems or by using additional security accessories if they do not.


French Doors

Our French doors have the benefit of being available with an additional security upgrade, which you can also buy on its own for existing French doors in your home. The Patlock is an ingenious device which acts almost like a steering lock does on a car. The lock fits over the handles on the inside of the door, stopping them from being turned and preventing the doors from being moved apart. This will ensure your French doors stay closed and secure even if your lock is picked.

The overall general security of new French doors is very high, and we will only source doors from manufacturers who have a proven track record of manufacturing strong and secure doors which adhere to UK security standards. We’d be happy to talk to you about additional security features should they be needed, but with multipoint locking and toughened glazing as standard, our French doors will do a great job of keeping your home secure.


Sliding Patio Doors

These days Sliding patio doors are manufactured with excellent security features, although this was not always the case. Back in the 70s and 80s, sliding doors could be lifted off their runners with the right tools. This meant that intruders would not have to deal with the locking mechanism at all, making it a very quick and easy way of gaining entry. All of our Sliding patio doors are now manufactured to ensure that this cannot happen. What’s more, they’re also fitted with multipoint locking systems, which means the door is locked to the reinforced frame in multiple places, considerably reducing the risk of the doors being forced open.

For additional security, you may want to have internal deadbolts fitted so that the door cannot be opened even if the lock is compromised. Our engineer will be able to advise you on the various options during your free measuring survey.


BiFold Doors

BifoldOur BiFold doors have a wide range of security features which come as standard on all sizes and specifications. The main lock itself operates a multipoint locking system which secures the door to the frame in no less than 8 places. This prevents the frame and the door itself from being pried away from each other and also helps the door withstand impact. At the top and bottom of the door, two deep throw hooks and anti-lift bars keep it securely in place. Large shoot bolts at the top and bottom of the doors also help to stave off any attempts at forced entry. With high security hinges and frames coming as standard to complete the list, you can see why many households are choosing BiFold doors as their patio door replacement.

To make your house as secure as possible, you may also be interested in our full range of home security products, including patio door locks and safety accessories as well as house alarms and smoke detectors.

For more information on the security of VPS247s products, or to request a free survey in order to have a personalised all-inclusive quote created just for you, please call 0345 145 0130 or use our contact form. We also welcome you to use our webchat feature during office hours, or alternatively you can email us on enquiries@vps247.co.uk