Editors Note: This is a guest post written by Stephanie Millward from APL
Having the right toolbox to dip into is important when you’re planning to extract all you can from a deck, courtyard or outdoor entertainment area. Getting maximum benefit from views, summer breezes or alfresco dining opportunities, calls for careful thought about how you plan your windows and doors.
A thorough selection from a diverse product portfolio, such as that offered by the larger New Zealand window solutions companies, can be the missing link between location and lifestyle, the key that turns the commonplace into cloud nine.
One of the choices that is often juggled is between bi-folding doors and sliding doors. Bi-folds offer almost complete opening on to decks while stacking sliders can open to about two-thirds of their width. Both have their merits. Sliders allow for partial opening in breezy conditions, while this may be harder to achieve with bi-folds. The latter will often project on to decks, especially if the newer lay-back formats which close against adjoining walls, are unable to be used.
And then there’s the question of the trade-off between the two door types when they’re in the closed position: let’s be honest, there are times when ‘indoor-outdoor flow’ is not exactly what the weather conditions call for, even in the best of summers.
Closed bi-folds can place a lot of metal in front of you. Bi-fold panels tend to be narrower than sliding panels, so there is the potential for aluminium to obscure views.
Here are the bi-fold/slider issues in a nutshell: a trade-off for bi-folds, where they disappear almost completely when fully open, versus an obscured view when closed; for sliders, less opening width but less visual intrusion when closed. Good communication between homeowners, designers and window manufacturers is needed to make sure the best decision is made, one that won’t lead to regrets.
One further factor that can tip the scales in the direction of sliding doors has emerged in recent years. This is the increasing availability of flush sills for sliding doors. These are now offered by the larger players in the market.
In sheltered positions, and with the right outside drainage system, continuous, flush floor levels from inside to outside are possible with ‘flush sill’ sliders. These are increasingly popular with homeowners and designers. They are ideal when wheelchairs or mobility aides are being used. Bi-folds are not so flush-friendly. The physics of bi-fold sills do not lend themselves to flush indoor-outdoor levels. An upstand on the sill (against which the doors close and seal) is generally required, especially for weathering assurance.
It really comes down to your lifestyle and whether opening width or an unobstructed view is more important to you.
All images courtesy of APL