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  • Oakmont Glazing Systems Ltd

Folding Or Sliding Door


Although you may not immediately realise it, windows and doors often prove to be the main feature in a home. This is especially true when it comes to large doors such as sliding doors or folding doors. With them being such a huge feature, and also being a pricey investment, it is vital you make the decision that is right for you first time. To do so, you not only need to think of how they will look (although they should be stunning of course!), but also you also need to consider practical elements to make sure they fit into your family’s daily life and routine.


Each company will always have their own preference and will naturally steer you one way or the other. This blog is not to tell you which is better as they each have their own valuable uses. But rather this blog is to give you a place where you can explore the pros and cons of each solution to identify which matches most closely what you really want / need.


The look……

As you flick through magazines you are greeted by a picture of a stunning scene, set on a summers day with the folding doors entirely open. Whilst the magazine is selling the dream, the sad reality is that the doors will spend much of the year closed, rather than open. With this in mind, you have to dismiss the images you see of these open doors and instead visualise what the doors will look like closed, as this unfortunately will be how you view them 99% of the year. When you do this, you soon realise that folding doors often mean looking at lots and lots of little doors when they are closed. So a good initial question to ask yourself is, how wide is our opening?


The wider you go using a folding door, the more frame / doors you will see which can often spoil the stunning view beyond. The larger the opening the more it tends to lend itself to sliding doors which can be designed to huge sizes, maximising the view and the wow factor, even in the middle of winter when they are closed.


However, the smaller the width, the more a folding door comes into its own. A sliding door always has a fixed element when the doors are open (pocket doors will be discussed in a different blog). So, a folding door allows you to maximise smaller openings, giving you great freedom to open up a room, especially if you like to host!


Practicality

People like the idea that a folding door can be flexible and opened up as much or as little as you like. You can design them to have a single door to pop in and out of the garden, without having to fully open the door each time. Whilst this is true, never dismiss a sliding door based solely on this assumption. If you buy a sliding door with a lift and slide mechanism built in (again discussed in another blog) you can open the doors as much or as little as you like and fix them into position. However, for popping in and out of the garden, a folding door does offer a more traditional way to do this.


Opening up your room

As we mentioned at the start, people tend to imagine doors open, but in truth they should do the exact opposite and imagine the doors closed. However, it is true to say on the summers days you can open folding doors fully, they do look spectacular.


But let’s for a moment imagine you have a good width, let’s say 6m for example. If you were to use a 3-panel sliding door, you would still get a 4m wide opening which is more than enough for most occasions! So, using a sliding doors does not have to mean limited opening space. Sliding doors can often also offer much less frame, which can feel like it opens the room much more, even when they are closed.


Space

Folding doors are in effect like any other door. They are hinged and when you open them, they have to open inside or outside which you have to ensure you leave adequate room to do so. When you fully open the doors, the doors will stack neatly to one end, but the more doors you have, the wider this stack will become, meaning it can often be impractical for tight areas or smaller gardens.


Sliding doors stay within their frame as they slide back and forth, meaning no extra space is needed inside or outside of these doors.

Price


As with everything in life, you can find cheap doors and also very expensive doors. We can honestly tell you that when it comes to doors, you genuinely get what you pay for. When you consider this will be the feature of your home, if there is one area not to cut corners, it’s here. If someone offers a price that seems too good to be true, it normally is and this will reflect in the quality of door you receive.


However, a budget is a budget and we all have to work accordingly. Folding doors are much more complicated as you have more moving components, with more weight swinging and stacking. Therefore, if you have a tight budget and have to buy a cheaper door, you will tend to find this becomes more noticeable with a folding door. They can tend to become heavy or become harder to move the cheaper the mechanisms are.


Sliding doors are much simpler by nature with less movement and less parts to go wrong. If budget is tight, perhaps consider getting a sliding door as you will often get a better sliding door than folding door for the same money.


Summary

The reality is there is no right and wrong. It boils down to what you want from your doors and how your family wish to use them. Spend some time to really consider what points are most important to you.


If you have a smaller opening and like to host an annual summer BBQ, then a folding door is probably for you. If you want the ability to pop in and out of a door more conveniently to hang the washing out, then a folding door might be more practical.


But if you have a wide opening, or a dark area of the house where you want to maximise light in the room, or perhaps you want to make the most of the view, then a sliding door is definitely the way to go.


Whichever way you go, don’t cut corners when it comes to doors. Try and find a quality door that is built to last for many many years by a reputable brand. This will ensure the feature of your home stays that way for decades to come.





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