Questions to Ask Before Buying a New Door

Doors impact the security, heat-efficiency and visual appeal of a building, and homeowners interact with them repeatedly, on a daily basis.

This means that before buying new doors, you should be sure to ask a few key questions in order to gather the information you need to make the best possible decision, and save yourself trouble further down the line.

Here are some of the most important questions to ask before buying a new door.

What Type of Doors Do I Need?

Doors come in several different types and needless to say, you’ll want to pick the one that’s best matched to your needs.

Am I buying an external or internal door?

external french doors

Aspect Grey French External Doors

This distinction is self-explanatory: internal doors separate the rooms inside your home; external doors separate your home from the outside world. The two do very different jobs, and as a result are constructed quite differently.

What material should the door be made from?

The material a door is made from will have a significant impact on its appearance and how it functions. Most interior doors are made at least partially from timber, but there are several different varieties of timber door to choose from.

A solid wooden door is made from the same material all the way through, which makes it more vulnerable to warping. A composite door, on the other hand, is formed from many different lengths of wood with grains that run in different directions. This helps reduce warping.

Exterior doors are commonly made from uPVC, timber, a composite of materials, or aluminium. The former (uPVC) is cheap and lightweight, while the latter (aluminium) is considerably more expensive.

What style should the door come in?

The style of door you choose is a matter of personal taste. You’ll want to pick something that you’re happy to look at, and that’ll match the rest of your décor. If you’re considering redecorating, then you’ll have the luxury of choosing a door and working the rest of your interior around it.

What type of door should I choose?

There are several types of door:

  • Single doors constitute the vast majority of doors in the UK. As the name suggests, they are formed of just one panel.
  • Double doors are effectively two single doors set into the same frame. French doors are a variety of double door.
  • Bi-fold doors consist of several panels that join together in a concertina, and run along a guide track. This design allows for the creation of very large room-dividing doors, and small ones which are used for storage spaces where there’s no room for a traditional single door to swing outward.
  • Sliding doors are made from panels set into a long track. They slide behind one another to create an opening.

Do I Need a Door or a Door-set?

You’ll have the choice of buying your doors as separate panels, or as complete sets including a frame and an architrave, with ironmongery pre-installed.

Buying everything separately will allow you to tailor the door to your exact requirements. You don’t need to be limited by what manufacturers think looks good – if you want to pair a specific handle with a specific door, you’ll be able to do it.

On the other hand, a door set will guarantee everything matches, and they’re easier to install. They work best with new openings, where you won’t have the cost of removing the old frame to consider. If you’re carrying out major renovations and are already bringing a carpenter on-site, it might make economic sense to bring in single doors – especially if you don’t want to rip out old frames without knowing exactly what you’re going to find underneath!

Do I Want Unfinished or Prefinished Doors?

Timber doors are sold either unfinished or prefinished. An unfinished door will allow you to apply the finish of your choice. A prefinished door, on the other hand, has been finished at factory level. This should mean that the finish is longer lasting and more resilient than what you would apply at home.

If you’re applying an opaque finish, you might consider a happy medium: doors that have been treated just with a primer. Since most primers are either white or black, you get a compromise between flexibility and convenience.

How Much Can I Afford to Spend on New Doors?

Doors vary considerably in price. A set of high-quality folding doors could easily cost in excess of a thousand pounds, while an affordable single door might cost less than a hundred. That said, there are hidden costs to consider.

Installation Costs

You might think to cut costs by opting for a disassembled door and putting everything together yourself. If done properly, this can indeed be a good way to save money, but then, it depends how valuable your time is. An improper installation might need to be professionally corrected, and in the case of external folding doors, might leave your home vulnerable to break ins.

Maintenance Costs

Timber doors will need to be periodically sanded and refinished to guard against water damage (and ensure that the door looks the part). This means investing in a pot of finish, brushes, sponges and sandpaper – as well as setting aside a weekend or two each year.

Have I taken correct measurements?

Before you make a purchase, you’ll need to be sure that your new doors will fit into the aperture you have in mind. You’ll find a quick guide to the measuring process here.

Do I need Fire Doors?

In some instances, you’ll need an interior door that’s a little more robust. Fire doors are thicker and more resilient than standard doors, and feature an expanding strip around the edges, that together serve to slow the spread of fire through your home. If a building is more than two storeys tall, then fire doors are usually required. This means tower blocks as well as loft conversions.

Fire doors cost slightly more than standard doors, but you might think it worthwhile if you’re installing them into sensitive areas like kitchens and garages.

Installing a Peephole in a Wooden Door

peephole in wooden door

A peephole is a tiny glass window set into the centre of a front door. It’ll allow you to see who’s at the door, without having to open it (or, if you’re quiet, reveal to the caller that you’re in). Since they’re so small, peepholes have minimal impact on the way your door looks. They’re really simple to install into wooden doors, too – especially with the help of our short guide.

Tools Needed to Install a Peephole

To begin with, you’ll need a few tools:

  • A drill
  • A 3/8” bit
  • A spade bit
  • Silicon sealant
  • Goggles
  • A piece of blue tape
  • A stepladder
  • A pencil
  • A tape measure
  • The peephole, and any tools that came with it

Measuring for a Peephole

There’s no set height for a peephole, just as there’s no set height for a human eye. You’ll want to use your tape to mark a spot that can be reached by every member of your household. Remember that it’s easier for taller residents to stoop for a moment than it is for shorter ones to stand on tiptoes.

Use a tape measure to measure the width of the door, and mark the central point. As ever, it’s better to measure several times and drill just once. Mark this point on both sides of the door, then measure the depth of the door, and mark your 3/8” drill bit with tape accordingly.

Drilling a Hole for a Peephole

Now you’re ready to drill a pilot hole using the 3/8” bit. To avoid splintering, drill from the exterior until it’s passed through the door. The tape will let you know when this has happened. To keep things at a right-angle, you might wish to stand on a stepladder.

Once you’ve drilled the pilot hole, select a spade bit that’s matched with the diameter of your peephole’s barrel. You’re now ready to install the peephole.

Installing a Peephole

The peephole itself is a tube consisting of two parts. There’s the lens, which has a threaded cylinder attached, and there’s the barrel, which is threaded on the inside. Install the lens from the exterior of the door and then screw the barrel in from the interior. Make sure to double check that these are the right way around, since it will be difficult to reposition them once you’ve applied a sealant. Looking through either end will make it obvious which end of the peephole should go on the inside of your door.

You won’t need much sealant to keep the tube water-tight; just a drop around the lens will be enough. Your peephole should have been sold with a special tightening tool. Failing that, you can always use a coin.

Garden Ideas for French & Bifold Doors

Summer 2018 has been an unusual one for the UK.  Apart from the occasional thunderstorm, it’s been pretty much wall-to-wall sunshine, so what better time could there be to get outside and enjoy what the garden has to offer?

The good weather has inspired many of us to make changes to our garden designs – and there are few more influential features than patio doors. Choose the right set, and you’ll be able to enjoy more of your garden from the inside, and ensure that your home looks the part from the outside. Let’s take a look at a few of the best options when it comes to patio doors, and see how making changes to your garden might help you get even more out of them.

French Door Garden Ideas

icon white french doors

Icon White French Doors

While often thought of as being very traditional, French doors to the garden can actually make a great addition to contemporary homes.

A set of French doors leading to the garden make a great match for smaller properties, too.  They’re simply constructed, consisting of just two doors attached to opposite sides of the frame, which lock together where they meet in the centre.  This means fewer moving parts, which in turn means more glazing.

You’ll want to consider the direction in which your French Doors will open when planning the surrounding space.  If you’ve placed a garden table immediately outside the door, then you’ll want to allow a little extra room to avoid collisions.

It’s also worth bearing in wind speed in mind – the last thing you want is for your glass doors to be repeatedly slammed on a blustery day.

You can get around this in several ways.

You might tether your doors to the external wall using a small hook-and-chain, or you might prop them open using a rock or plant pot.

This latter option will require moving heavy objects back and forth every time you want to keep the door open, which will understandably be a little inconvenient.

We should also consider that an isolated pair of plant pots might well appear out of place.  It’s therefore worth making a feature out of it and arranging a few dozen pots around the edges of your door.

Another option is to have your doors open internally.  This will encroach on the space inside your home, but will mean you don’t need to worry about the wind.  What’s more, you’ll be able to incorporate more decorative features around your French doors, like climbing plants and other ornaments.  You don’t want to overcrowd the entranceway, as this limits how much light can enter your home; however a few subtle touches can often go a long way.

To emphasise the divide between your home and garden, you might build a set of steps from your French Doors to your patio.  You’ll be able to feel like a real Parisian aristocrat as you descend them en-route to your barbeque!

Bifold Door Garden Ideas

aspect grey bifolding doors

Aspect Grey Bifolding Doors

Bifold doors leading to your garden can look spectacular.  Their folding, sliding concertina-style design allows them to cover wall-spaces of five metres and more.  This makes them the perfect match for uninterrupted stretches of wall which adjoin the patio.

Internal bifold doors allow you to open up or divide rooms as desired.  With a little ingenuity, you can achieve the same effect in your garden.  Match your patio’s tiles with those of your kitchen-diner, and you can create a seamless living space that’s perfect for barbeques.

You might even go one step further and have the floor of your patio and kitchen align perfectly, with the rail of your bi-fold built into the ceiling rather than the floor.  This will create the ultimate harmonious living space.  This will require you to consider draughts and drainage (you don’t want water leaking beneath your door, after all), but get it right and it’ll look amazing.

If you’ve got wooden decking installed outside, then another option is to raise it to the same level as your internal flooring, and minimise the gap between the levels.

While you’re unlikely to want to match the decking with the sort of hardwood flooring you’re laying in your lounge, wooden decking allows for rainwater to drain through, and if properly cared for will last for several decades.

Bifold doors also make a great addition to conservatories and garages that have been converted into living spaces.

In the latter case, they’re particularly useful. Since garages aren’t built with light dispersal in mind, they will benefit from the glazing that a bifold door provides.  If your garage is set behind your property, then installing a large sliding door along the side of it will solve the light problem in a second, and provide you with a fantastic living area.

As with patio doors, you’ll need to think about the direction in which the bi-fold doors in your garden open.  Having them extend out from the building is a logical choice, as this will maximise interior living space.  It will, however, limit how much decoration you’re able to place immediately outside the door.  Why not counteract this by placing potted plants and raised borders on the other side of the patio?

Given the considerable size of a bi-fold door, they can dominate exterior walls; even in larger properties.  The best way to avoid this is to ensure that the room beyond is suitably varied and well-decorated, and to divide the patio with regular features.  A long dining table that runs parallel to the door will achieve this.  It’s a perfect setting for summer parties, and it’ll ensure that the eye isn’t confronted with a large empty space.

For the sake of convenience, you might wish to install a retractable canopy just above your bi-fold doors.  This will eliminate the need to clutter up your patio with parasols.  You’ll want to consider the angle at which sunlight will meet the door, however; even when retracted, your canopy might well cast a shadow over your bifold doors at certain times of day.

How to Properly Measure for a New Door

Installing a new door might seem a little daunting, particularly if you’ve never done it before. By far the most important thing to think about however, is how to measure for it.

Let’s run through the process of measuring for a new door.

tape measure

Measuring the frame

It might be tempting to measure the door you already have in place. After all, if that fits, then surely your new one will, too?

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.

Over its lifespan, an old timber door will warp. It’s far better to measure the frame into which your new door will be installed, instead.

If you’re going to be fitting an entirely new frame, then you will want to double check its size. Most frames will fit standard door sizes, which will help cut costs, but if you’re after something bespoke, then you’ll need to be extra precise.

Before you get started, you’ll need a tape measure.

Step 1: Measuring the height of a door

First, measure the height of the opening in three places: the left, right and middle of the door. These three measurements should be within ten millimetres of one another, or else the entire frame will need to be swapped out. You’ll want to use the shortest of these three lengths; that way you can be sure that the door will open and close properly.

When making these measurements, be sure to account for the height of the carpet, doormats or any other obstacles. That way you’ll be sure that the door can swing freely.

Step 2: Measuring the width of a door

Next, it’s time to measure the door’s width. You’ll do this in much the same way, except horizontally along the bottom, middle, and top of the frame. Use the shortest of the three measurements to determine the maximum size of the door.

Step 3: Measuring the depth of a door

The final step in measuring a door opening is the depth of the door. Internal doors typically come in three different thicknesses, the most common of which is 35mm (although thicker insulating and fire doors might be 40mm or 44mm). Measure at various points along the interior of the frame to be sure of which you need.

Window Dressing Bi-Fold Doors

Bi-fold doors are a popular choice for homeowners looking to maximise light and space in their home, but dressing them can sometimes pose a challenge.

A bi-fold door consists of several panels arranged in a row.  Each is connected to the door next to it via a set of hinges, so that the entire arrangement folds in a concertina.  This means that when opened, the doors won’t intrude on the surrounding space.  You’ll find bi-fold doors on the exterior of properties, typically opening out onto the garden and patio, but you’ll also find them in the interiors of properties, often bridging kitchens, dining rooms and lounges.

Bi-Fold Doors:  Blinds or Curtains?

The complex folding nature of the bi-fold door can mean dressing them is a little trickier than dressing a standard window, but it is easier than you might think.

Dressing bi-fold doors with curtains

Curtains are a popular choice for bi-fold doors, but they pose a few problems, most of which concern space.  If your door is very tall, there might not be enough space at the top of the door to accommodate a curtain pole, which automatically rules out the possibility of dressing your bi-fold doors with curtains.

What’s more, since bi-fold doors often cover a vast expanse of wall, you’ll need a lot of curtain to cover them, and large curtains can be very heavy.  If you’re installing curtains on bi-folds in a lounge, then you might opt for heavy, blackout-style curtains, which will emphasise the problem further.

There are two problems here.

Firstly, curtains over a certain weight tend to sag.  Secondly, the heavier the curtains the more robust a curtain rail you’re going to need to hold them in place. This can bump up costs significantly.

To help mitigate this problem you might choose to opt for a lighter fabric.  Muslin or voile curtains are unobtrusive and can look spectacular, even if they aren’t quite as effective at excluding light and sound, or retaining heat, as thicker curtains.

Dressing bi-fold doors with blinds

home-interior-1748936_960_720

For the reasons listed above, blinds are often a better choice than curtains for dressing bi-fold doors, but how suitable are blinds for bi-fold doors? That depends on their type.

Roman blinds are designed to scoop up when not in use.  This means you’ll need to leave a little bit of space at the top of the door, much like curtain rails.  Roman blinds tend to be quite heavy, which could cause a problem when lifting them to the top of the door.  You can overcome this issue however by fitting a mechanised, electric retraction device – but needless to say this will add considerably to the cost.

Roller blinds suffer from much the same problem, albeit to a lesser degree; they collapse into a cylinder which takes up a little bit of room.

They’re also much lighter and often elasticated, which makes it really easy to retract them.  Venetian blinds offer similar benefits, as well as a unique aesthetic that’s proven consistently popular over the years.

Also worth considering are vertical panel blinds. Vertical blinds function more-or-less like curtains, opening from one or both sides.  Their only downside is their appearance. They can look distinctly “office-like”, which might not be desirable, especially when contrasted with a homely interior.

A problem both curtains and blinds share when fitted to bi-fold doors is what happens when the doors fold.

As they fold, they expand, which may intersect the dressing.  This means you’ll need to draw a set of curtains or vertical blinds entirely before you’re able to open the door.

Bi-fold doors with built-in blinds solve this problem.  They’re slightly more expensive, more difficult to personalise, and there are fewer of them to choose from – but they offer a clean, elegant solution that’ll suit many interiors.

So What Should You Choose for Your Bi-Fold Doors: Curtains or Blinds?

There is no one ideal solution so before you decide, consider the following factors…

Cost

The size of your bi-fold doors will affect how much it costs to dress them – but this is true of both curtains and blinds.  Of the available options, roman blinds tend to be the cheapest, but to get the best from them, you’ll need to equip them with an expensive motor.  If you’re replacing one set of curtains with another, then sticking with what you already have will minimise the costs associated with installing new rails and other hardware.

Privacy

Few of us enjoy living in in a goldfish bowl at night-time, so the main purpose of window dressing – besides decoration – is privacy.

Both curtains and blinds should perform equally here, but if you want to be extra sure no-can see what you’re up to once the sun goes down, a thick set of blackout curtains are probably your best option.

Light

One of the best things about bi-folding doors is how much light they let into the home.  A heavy set of curtains, however, will reduce this.  Even when they’re fully open, they’ll still be covering some of the window, and limiting how much light the doors let in.

Practicality

The amount of space at the top of your doors can make-or-break your decision.  If there isn’t enough space to fit a curtain rail, you’ll need to consider blinds instead.

Nicknames for Buildings Around the World, Illustrated

Today, iconic new buildings are likely to be as well-known (or in many cases, better known) for their nicknames, as they are for their design. In fact, it seems that as soon as work on a new building wraps up (and often before), the race to get a nickname that sticks is on.

Below is a series of illustrated postcards that depict some of the world’s most widely-recognised buildings as they are best known – by their nicknames.

the armadillo glasgow illustrated

Designed to extend the capacity of the SECC complex, this distinctive building in Glasgow was originally known as the Clyde Auditorium. However, it fast became so widely known as “The Armadillo” that its name was eventually changed.

the bathtub amsterdam illustrated

The delayed and vastly over budget Stedelijk Museum earned its nickname “The Bathtub” long before completion, and it’s easy to see why – this unusual construction bears more than a passing resemblance to a 100,000 square foot bath. Saying that, nobody’s really sure why. Mels Crouwel – Stedelijk’s lead architect – states the design is a “nod to the old Stedelijk’s white rooms”, but that answer does little to explain its uncanny likeness to a bathtub.

the batman building nashville illustrated

Completed in 1994, the 33 storey AT&T building in Nashville is not only the tallest building in the city; it’s the tallest building in the whole state of Tennessee. It earned the nickname “The Batman Building” thanks to its unmistakable resemblance to Batman’s mask.

the beehive new zealand illustrated

Few people hold the 60s and 70s in high regard when it comes to architecture. In fact, buildings from the period are frequently reviled, and are pulled down and replaced almost as often. New Zealand’s Beehive might be an exception. Originally conceived in 1964, the construction itself didn’t start until 1969. It was then built in stages until it was finally completed 10 years later, in 1979. Serving as the Executive Wing of the New Zealand Parliament buildings, the Beehive gained its name thanks to its shape, which is akin to a type of beehive known as a “skep”.

the cheesegrater london illustrated

The Leadenhall Building offers 48 floors of commercial space in the heart of London’s financial district. Completed in 2014 it gained the nickname the Cheesegrater when the City of London Corporation’s chief planning officer, Peter Rees, saw the model of the building and told its designer that he could “imagine his wife using it to grate Parmesan”.

the gherkin london illustrated

Another distinctive work of architecture in London’s financial district, in 2015 the Gherkin (formerly known as the Swiss Re Tower) secured the accolade of being the UK’s most recognisable building nickname. The building is home to 33 floors of offices but is also open to the public, housing a number of venues at which you can eat, drink and enjoy the view.

the sponge boston illustrated

The Sponge is the unofficial name for Simmons Hall – a state-of-the-art halls of residence located on the grounds of MIT (The Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The sponge-like effect exists thanks to the thousands of two foot square windows that adorn the building and from a distance, create an effect not unlike the holes on a sponge – something that designer Steven Holl set out to do when he was commissioned to work on the building in 1999.

How to Adjust French Doors

French doors that don’t close properly can cause a number of problems.

French doors that drag along the ground can damage the floor, and the door itself.  French doors with gaps, even very small ones, will cause draughts and pose a security risk.

white external french doors

Fortunately, most issues of this sort can be corrected with the help of adjustable hinges. Your doors might already have them installed but if they don’t, they can be purchased relatively cheaply, and fitted with the help of a few tools.

You’ll need:

  • A screwdriver.
  • A spanner or Allen key.
  • The hinges.
  • Some cardboard.

You’ll also need a willing volunteer.

How to Fix Common French Door Problems

Let’s run through the process of fixing French doors that stick, step-by-step.

If you’re installing adjustable hinges

  1. Remove the hinges from your doors. There will be two of these per side.  Use your screwdriver to remove them.  Be sure that you have a friend to hand, as these doors can be heavy, and you don’t want them to fall over.
  2. Using the original screws, attach the adjustable hinges to the doors.
  3. Now comes the tricky part. Get your helper to hold the door level with the frame, and screw it into place.  To keep everything entirely level, you might need to place shims at the bottom of the door.  A few pieces of cardboard should do the job nicely.

Once the hinges are in place…

Now that you’re done, you’ll be able to make some actual adjustments.  A set of adjustable hinges will allow for several different sorts of modifications.

If your doors aren’t quite parallel with the surrounding frame, they’ll start to drag.  This is a leading cause of French doors that hit each other.  This misalignment will develop over time, thanks to gravity and the warping of the frame. You’ll need to adjust the corner bearings, which are to be found on the bottom hinge.  Remove the cover and turn the adjusting screw to lift and lower the leaf.

The gaps might well have appeared to the sides of your door, and in the middle, which will compromise thermal insulation.   Measure the gaps carefully and adjust the bearings accordingly, making small adjustments to the top and bottom alternately, to keep the door parallel to the frame.

When you’re making these adjustments, measure carefully and often.  It might only take half a turn of your Allen key to get the job done.  Once you’re done, give the door a few test swings to ensure that they’re working as they should.

It’s worth checking the alignment of your French doors every so often (twice a year or so should do it).  Once you’ve made these adjustments for the first time, regularly repeating the feat will be easy.  More importantly, it’ll save you a great deal of hassle in the long-term!

Prefinished vs. Unfinished Doors

If you’re shopping for a wooden door, you’ll need to choose between a door that’s been pre-finished at factory level, or one that arrives unfinished, so you can finish it according to your own tastes at home.  So, what’s the difference between prefinished and unfinished doors?

What are prefinished doors?

Prefinished doors come factory-finished, covered in multiple coats of paint or wood stain.  All you need to do is fit the doors – a process which takes a matter of minutes, if you know what you’re doing.

What are unfinished doors?

Unfinished doors, by contrast, are those which lack a finish, so you’ll have to apply one yourself.  This allows for maximum flexibility and helps cut costs at factory level.

What about primed doors?

If you can’t decide between prefinished or unfinished doors, it’s worth bearing in mind that there exists a happy medium between them – pre-primed doors.

Pre-primed doors arrive with a base coat of primer, onto which you can apply a layer or two of paint. Since primers don’t vary as much as top coats in colour, this eliminates some of the work without limiting your options.  Obviously, primer is only necessary if you’re painting your door – transparent wood treatments don’t require it.

Why choose a prefinished door?

Let’s consider the advantages of prefinished doors.  The most obvious is that you have very little work to do once the door (or doors) arrive.  Simply attach the hinges and screw it into the frame.  You’ll need just a handful of tools, and the help of a volunteer.

Why choose an unfinished door?

So what about the benefits of unfinished doors?

As we’ve mentioned, your doors will arrive sanded smooth, but without a final coat.  This approach will allow you the freedom to choose whatever finish you’d like – however outlandish it might be.  If you think that your living room will benefit from a bright-yellow matt-finished door, then you’ll want to start from a blank, unfinished canvas.  Similarly, if there are other doors in your home you’d like to match your new door to, unfinished is the way to go.

For those in search of a new DIY project to sink their teeth into, an unfinished door is probably the optimal choice.

So, should you choose a prefinished or unfinished door?

white prefinished door

Cost

You might assume that an unfinished door would be a wonderful way to cut costs.  Up front, this is the case; unfinished doors are indeed less expensive than finished doors – but that’s not the end of the story.

Factor in the time investment you’ll need to make, as well as the price of the paint itself, and the costs begin to mount (and that’s before you even contemplate any additional tools you might need, like belt-sanders and sawhorses).

You’ll also need to secure some old blankets to control the mess.

Prefinished hardwood requires that more money be spent on the actual door, and less on the labour involved in installing it.  In the case of unfinished hardwood, the opposite is true.  If you’re bringing in outside help, bear their motives in mind.  Since they make their money from the labour, the job will be more profitable for them, even if the cost to you is the same.  They might therefore advise you to go down the unfinished route, simply to create more work for themselves.

If you’re going to follow the DIY route, then it’s worth considering what might happen if you botch the job entirely.  You’ll probably need to start again from scratch – and that’s going to cost you.  As such, DIYers should probably stick to prefinished doors.

Durability

Prefinished hardwood tends to be far more resilient than unfinished hardwood.  While you might apply just two or three coats of paint at home, at the factory level they’re able to apply more than twice that, which will increase the durability of the door.

Ease

It should probably go without saying that a pre-finished door just makes life easier.

One factor that few consider is the mess that finishing a door will create.  To achieve a smooth finish, you’ll need to apply several layers of paint.  Each of these will need time to dry, so you’ll need to clear a space in your home for the doors to lay flat.  You’ll also need to sand the doors down slightly before each coat of paint is applied. This will invariably create quite a lot of sawdust.

Colour matching

If you’d like your door to precisely match the décor around it, you have very little choice – you’re probably going to need an unfinished door.  You’ll be able to choose any colour you like, so getting one that fits isn’t such a big ask.

So what’s best: a prefinished or unfinished door?

While it might seem like a cop out, there’s no set answer to the question of which is best – it’ll depend on your circumstances and personal preferences.

Customers with little DIY experience tend to underestimate the work involved in painting a door at home (or the cost of getting someone else to), as well as the upheaval such an undertaking will cause.  This is especially so if you’re painting several doors at once.  On the other hand, if you have your heart set on a particular colour or style that door-makers simply haven’t yet made available, an unfinished door might be the only way to proceed!

white internal bifold door

The Cost of Internal Bifold Doors

Internal bi-fold doors allow you to inject a little extra space and light into your interior.  They make excellent room-dividers, whether it’s to separate kitchens, livings rooms or dining areas.  One of their chief advantages is their tremendous size; they can be anywhere up to seven or eight metres long.  Naturally, this means that they vary considerably in price!

How Much Do Internal Bi-fold Doors Cost?

There are many factors which influence the price of internal bi-fold doors.

Size

Needless to say, the bigger the door, the more it will cost – both from the cost of the extra materials, and the cost of the labour involved in producing and installing the door.

Bi-folding doors are complex things.  While a traditional French door might consist of just two panels attached to a frame via hinges, a bi-fold door might contain six or more; each of which tether not only to their neighbours but also to a long rail, along which a carriage runs.

Size matters.  3-metre bi-fold doors cost, on average, around £800.  However, the number of panels will typically influence the cost of the door more than its actual size due to the cost of the bi-folding hardware.  For example, our 5+0 panel doors vary in size by almost two metres, but they each cost the same.

That’s the cost of the door itself covered – but what about the cost of installation?  If you need to enlarge or shrink the opening in your wall to accommodate your door, this can get expensive quickly, as skilled labourers will be required to complete the job.

Materials

Most quality internal bi-folds are made from timber, with aluminium and uPVC generally being the preserve of external bi-fold doors.  The cost of timber bi-fold doors will vary.  Engineered timber doors, which combine several different lengths of timber into a warp-resistant whole, are the standard – but you might cut costs by going for something less prestigious.  When considering materials, bear in mind that inferior materials will not hold their shape, nor their value, and they’ll require more regular maintenance.

Glazing

Part of the charm of a large, folding door, is that it’ll introduce more glass into the room.  More glass leads to a greater sense of space, and more light dispersal through your home.  The more glazing you use, the more the door will cost – though other factors tend to be more influential.

Finish

Getting the door fully-finished at factory level will cost a little bit more, but it’ll save you the trouble of having to finish the door yourself.  Factory finishes tend to be more resilient than those you might apply at home, so they’ll save you the long-term cost of touching up your door each time something knocks against it.  On the other hand, if you’d like to get the job done yourself in a particular way, applying the finish yourself is the only way to proceed!

IDEAL DAY vs REAL DAY title

The Ideal Day vs The Real Day

Many of us wake up each morning with a vision of our “ideal” day. We mean to eat healthy food (just not too much of it). We plan to get at least half an hour’s exercise.  We intend to fill our evening catching up with friends or family or doing something to “expand our mind”, like reading a book, or binge-watching documentaries.

In reality our good intentions tend to fall by the wayside from the moment we start pressing the snooze button and get up half an hour later than intended. The salad we planned to prepare for lunch gets swapped for a supermarket meal deal and our nutritional powerhouse breakfast of eggs and avocado, or porridge and fruit, gets passed up for the donut we grab as we’re dashing out the door. And don’t get us started on the cake we chomped on at 3pm – it was a colleague’s birthday/someone baked it /it was 50% off (delete as appropriate) – it’d be rude not to.

Of course this doesn’t matter since we’ll work it off later jogging or in the gym, right? Well, that’s the plan, until 5 o’clock rolls around and the sofa seems so much more appealing that sweating it out on a treadmill. But it’s okay, we’ll make the most of our downtime. We’ll call a friend we’ve not spoken to for a while for a catch up and then we’ll get stuck into that book we’ve been meaning to get started on. Or we will, just as soon as we’ve watched this cat video, it looks like a good one…

…feel familiar?

IDEAL DAY vs REAL DAY optimised

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