Let the light shine in

Steve Bromberg of Express Bi-folding Doors explains the options available when looking at specifying “expansive” glazed doors to open up homes.

Open-plan living has risen drastically in popularity over recent years, with homeowners choosing light and bright designs that maximise space, as well as increasing social functionality within the home.

Homes that open up effortlessly to the outdoors are highly sought-after and as a result developers planning layouts and room flow need to carefully consider this.

Bi-folding or sliding?

There are two main types of expansive glazed doors currently available on the market – sliding and bi-folding. So, beyond the obvious, what exactly are the differences between the two?

Bi-folding doors are made up of panels connected by an aluminium framework, able to fold together in a zig-zag when fully open, revealing a completely open space and full access to the outdoors.

What’s best for the project? 

First, consider the amount of space you have to work with. Are you planning a wall made entirely out of glazed doors, or are you just incorporating glazed doors within a smaller section of the wall? If the space you have is less than four metres wide, bi-folds might be the best option.

With spaces of this size, bi-folds look much more impressive than sliding doors when open, creating a real wow-factor and transforming the space completely. They help to open up the indoors to a garden or outdoor space, but it’s important to remember, however, that with bi-folding doors comes additional framework, which may detract from a seamless view.

Sliding doors often look better when they are closed, as the large panels and minimal framework facilitate virtually uninterrupted views. If the space you have for installing glazed doors is over four metres wide, sliding doors could be the best choice. Ultimately, if you have space for either, it often comes down to personal aesthetic preferences. Think of it as the wider the door, the wider the clear opening.

For a wall of windows, especially when including a corner, sliding designs will be best suited. Sliding doors can be placed at a right angle without needing a corner post, so the ceiling will look like it is floating, making it perfect for an extension with more than one wall facing a garden or outdoor space.

However, conventional sliding doors will usually block part of the aperture, so you’re not able to open the entire run. You could opt for a triple track system, which gives you a 66 per cent clear opening. Some of the latest designs even allow four panels to stack behind one another, leaving you with a 75 per cent clear opening.

Steve Bromberg is general manager at Express Bi-folding Doors