A handy guide to choosing the right type of exterior and patio doors for your house.
Fitting hundreds of thousands of UK homes a year with modern, locally manufactured and A-Rated double glazing gives the big replacement window companies such as Safestyle UK
unique insights on what people want when choosing the right patio doors for the garden. Here is a helpful guide to the many options available today.
In many ways the rear of your house is more important than the front, even though less people see it… and maybe that’s just it; the sense of privacy and self expression is embodied with the garden becoming an inner sanctum reserved for a select number of important guests. Anyone can stroll up your garden path, including a double glazing salesperson.
There was a time when exterior double doors at the back of the house was a luxury enjoyed by the middle class but these days anyone can make the most of the garden by “softening” the transition between the indoors and the outside.
The first thing to try to understand is the period feel of your home which may (or may not depending on your personal taste) affect the types of doors you opt for. Here is a quick overview of the basic styles available today as highly energy efficient double glazed, secure doors.
People tend to think of these modern looking patio doors as a very new addition to the general portfolio of exterior doors, but in fact they’ve been around for decades. Bifold doors are concertina doors, which consist of several pairs of folding sliding doors that run along a rail in the floor and ceiling. They create an enormous picture window feel and whilst the engineering is much better on them these days you should still be aware that they require regular maintenance of the moving parts and are less suited to people of slight build.
This is quite a generalist term but can be summed up by a pair of doors (made to measure) that slide open to allow access into a paved, decked or terraced area of the garden. There are a massive number of styles available and so “patio doors” tends be used as a description just like “Jacuzzi” or “Hoover”.
These are often mistakenly termed as patio doors (and to be fair they are a type of patio door) but are usually a pair of doors that typically open outwards into a social area of the garden. Many British people think of French doors as containing several small panes of glass but this is actually a Georgian glazing style rather than a description of the doors.
Now that you have a basic grasp of the types of exterior door styles the creative journey to choosing a set that will turn your garden into a “new room” begins. As we mentioned above, you need to understand the feel you are looking for and that all starts with appreciating what the architect had in mind when designing your building. Do you live in a townhouse, flat, detached (or semi) or a terrace? You may live in a cottage or even have something rather quirky like a Gatehouse. Window and door styles have changed radically over the years and it is only when you look very closely that you begin to understand how they differ. For example, leading (that’s those small diamond shaped windows) was very popular in the early twentieth century and were a defining feature of 1930 semi detached houses. Over the year people replaced them with flat, large pane windows but recently there has been a return to the original styling which can be achieved with modern Astragal windows. Some cottages demand a very traditional feel and so a modern upvc oak effect can really breathe new life into your garden area.
It is also important to think hard about how the daily usage compares with special occasions because that can begin to involve both the restyling of the interior and exterior of the house. For example, replacing a carpeted area with wooden flooring to allow for high levels of traffic… sometimes tottering on a pair of high heels whilst holding a rather full glass of red wine (we’ve all been there!)
The best advice is, sit down and plan it all out in your head with an expert advisor who understands what you are trying to achieve and will help you get the best look whilst ensuring it is both complimentary and practical.