Bifold Doors To The Garden
There are few things more satisfying than stepping out into the garden on a summer’s day – and if you’re doing so via a large, bi-folding door, then so much the better. External bifold doors are made from multiple panels, which attach to one another in a concertina arrangement, and which slide along a long rail running along the top (or bottom) of the frame. But why might such an arrangement be suitable for the garden? Let’s take a look.
Why Install Bifold Doors to the Garden?
Folding doors offer an excellent opportunity to break down barriers between an internal space and the great outdoors. Since they can be made much larger than ordinary doors, they can allow a much greater quantity of sunlight to enter the home, which helps to boost the sense of space. A set of bi-fold doors leading onto the patio will also allow you to enjoy the beauty of your freshly-cut lawn from the comfort of your living room – even when the weather isn’t quite favourable enough to venture outside.
Many homeowners opt for sliding doors for the garden, where panels are attached to multiple plains, and stack behind one another when the door is closed. But this method means that the door can only be as small as a single panel. If the sliding door only comes with two panels, it follows that the door will never open further than halfway. Folding doors, by contrast, can collapse into a much smaller area, and thus allow for uninhibited flow of air and people between the garden and the home.
Finally, we should mention that Bi-fold doors are, in and of themselves, great to look at. If you’re going to install a large, impressive door as a visual centrepiece for your home, then having it open out onto your garden is sure to bolster its impact even more.
With all of these merits in mind, let’s take a look at some of the perceived drawbacks of a bi-fold door opening out into the garden.
Garden or Patio Bifold Doors: Security
One oft-cited downside of patio doors of any kind is that they represent a security risk. All that glass offers would-be intruders a means of not only seeing what’s inside your living space, but gaining access to it with the help of a crowbar or a brick. And if the door isn’t properly installed, they might not have to – they can simply lift it away from the frame.
Contrary to what we might expect, burglars are generally unwilling to smash through glass in order to get into your home. This is so for two main reasons. To begin with, it will create a loud and instantly recognisable noise that’ll enormously increase the likelihood of capture and prosecution. Secondly, it’ll leave a trail of forensic evidence – from the glass fragments that’ll get into clothes to the blood that might be shed after clambering through a frame bordered with jagged shards. The glass you’ll find installed into folding doors is typically double (or triple) glazed, and will require considerable force to shatter. Bifold doors are also made of toughened safety glass which makes it even harder to break.
A more likely route is usually to either remove the glass entirely by lifting it out of the frame, or to remove or force the locks. Internally-glazed doors, and extra locks and chains, will make things more difficult. Unless you’re the owner of a uPVC door, which you won’t be able to alter, you should consider the peace-of-mind that two independent locks can bring. The first of these should be a dead-latch cylinder lock; the second should be a mortice deadlock. You might find that your home insurer has a minimum standard for locks that must be met – so be sure that you do so.
Another perceived security weakness comes in the form of the door’s track. If the door isn’t properly installed into its track, then an intruder might be able to literally take the door entirely off and gain entry. A high-quality folding door will be almost impossible to remove in this way – provided that it’s been correctly installed. It’s, therefore, worth taking the time to line things up properly at the outset. Find out more about bifold door security.
Garden or Patio Bifold Doors: Privacy
Since one of the main advantages of a large folding door is the amount of glass it provides, you might think that opting for one will compromise your privacy. After all, if you’re able to see out into the world outside, it follows that the world outside will be able to see into your home.
There are several ways to counteract this problem. Among the latest is a special sort of glass which switches from transparent to frosted at the flick of a switch. This is achieved through an adhesive film which is applied to one side of the glass. Bifold door privacy glass of this sort is a relatively new and expensive solution which has yet to really catch on. If you know that you’re always going to need privacy in the room in question, then permanently frosted glass might make a better alternative – but then, you won’t be able to see out into the garden.
In most cases, the more traditional set of curtains will be preferred. The only problem here is that a bi-folding door will expand as it slides away, which can interfere with curtains hung on one side. The best solution is often a set of bi-fold doors with built-in blinds on each panel – but this will obviously make drawing them more time-consuming. Your decision will hinge on how important privacy is to you, and whether your dwelling is overlooked. For a more in depth look at how to dress your bifold doors check out our full article.
Roller blinds are often the first solution reached for, as they’re simple in design and won’t detract from the overall appeal of the folding door to which they’re attached. Roman blinds are slightly thicker, and tend to consume more space near the top of each panel while still allowing the door to be opened and closed whilst the blinds are drawn. Venetian blinds are a stunningly popular solution; their horizontal slats can be adjusted to allow as much or as little light through as you like, making them a perfect match for a larger, bi-folding aluminium door.