Sliding doors have long given a stylish and contemporary way to open up your home and join it with your garden. And with modern construction techniques including sleeker frames and smoother operation, sliding doors should now more than ever be at the top of your list when it comes to choosing an external door.
We’re going to tell you exactly why sliding doors should be the choice for you, but first, we’d better find out exactly what a sliding door is.
What is a Sliding Door?
A sliding door is a door that opens sideways on a track that is positioned either above or below the door. There are different types of sliding door including the pocket door (in which the door slides back into the wall) and stacker doors. Sliding doors are commonly used internally (in showers and wardrobes for example) and externally.
Unbelievably, archaeologists have found evidence of sliding doors being used in the first century AD by Romans. But they may have been around even longer than that.
An external sliding door has large glazed door panels that slide within a frame.
So Why Choose Sliding Doors?
There are many options available to a homeowner who is looking to open up the view to their garden with a larger external door than a traditional single. These options include sliding, bi-fold and French doors. All of these have their advantages, but sliding doors offer a beautifully simple way to open up your home to a flood of natural light and unparalleled views of your garden.
There’s no doubt that when it comes to letting the most natural light into your home, sliding patio doors do it best. Their simple construction allows the largest ratio of glass to frame out of any of the external door options.
The straightforward opening and closing mechanism of sliding doors allows for very large glazed door panels. For safety reasons, French doors are limited in width (so require side windows for greater light) and bi-folds have to have smaller panels to allow them to fold.
Researchers have found that natural light can improve mood, sleep, and productivity. So choosing sliding doors seems like an obvious choice to make the absolute most of the sunlight we get in the UK.
So Many Styles of Door
Aluminium sliding doors (especially anthracite grey doors) are the go-to choice for modern homes but sliding doors are also available in classic timber to blend in seamlessly with more traditional homes. Aluminium sliding doors have an incredibly thin profile for the maximum view.
Wooden frames do give a classic look and can be stained or painted in any colour, but then aluminium doors are powdered coated with colour options limited to your imagination.
Sliding doors can also be further drawn into the style of your home with the use of blinds or curtains. Not only will dressing your sliding door look great, but you’ll also increase the energy efficiency of your doors and give yourself some extra privacy.
Making the Most of Space
Traditional doors take up space when they are open as they operate on hinges. Bi-folds do have to fold somewhere, so will take up some of your living area.
French doors open outwards on hinges, so when they’re open take up room in your garden. With sliding doors, one pane will slide across the other, making them unobtrusive and a good option for homes with limited gardens.
Easy Access Between the Indoors and Outdoors
Sliding doors offer an effortless way of opening the pathway between your garden and home. The doors simply slide along a track rather than have to be opened outwards or folded.
And with the large glass panels, you get a panoramic view of your garden which you can enjoy whatever the season
At one time when doors were single glazed, safety might have been an issue. Nowadays, modern sliding doors are fitted with toughened double glazing, so an accidental collision with a door panel will not lead to shattered glass.
Adding safety features to your patio door is recommended if you have children.
Patio door safety stickers can make large glazed areas easier to see for small children and those with poorer eyesight. This is an easy and cheap option and safety stickers are available in a number of designs and colours to suit your style.
Patio door safety gates stop children from getting outside (or inside!) of your home without your knowledge. If you’ve got young kids you can use safety gates to keep your sliding door open to enjoy a fresh breeze knowing that the young ones are safe.
Today’s sliding doors are supplied with multi-point locking systems, meaning the lock engages in several different places. This is in contrast to a traditional door where a single lock would only engage in one place.
If the door is locked with a multi-point system it cannot be moved along the track or the door panels be lifted out of the frame.
Sliding doors are made from strong and robust materials. With frames made from aluminium or hardwood, and fitted with toughened double-glazed glass, you can rest assured that a sliding door is a very secure option for your home.
Sliding doors have a high level of thermal insulation to keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer.
The UValue of a window measures how quickly heat transfers through windows. The lower the UValue, the more thermally efficient the window. UK building regulations now stipulate that new windows must have a UValue of 1.6 W/m2 (Watts per metre squared Kelvin).
That means that new sliding doors have a low UV value of 1.6 W/m2 – when you consider traditional single glazed windows have a UV value of 6.0 W/m2, you can see why installing sliding doors is going to save you money on your heating bills in the long term.