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What is the Best Patio Door System for Your Home? 4 Different Kinds of Patio Doors to Consider

Example of bi-fold patio doors

Lift-and-slide patio door system

Lift-and-slide is a high-end professional system, offering customers the opportunity to use really large glazing areas, which can, somewhat unfortunately, translates into a higher price than most alternative solutions. However, the high quality and multitude of expansion options make lift-and-slide patio doors very popular, and many customers choose this option knowing that this product is very much worth the costs.

The lift-and-slide system consists of a fixed and a moving door leaf. Pressing the handle causes the movable leaf to lift gently and it can then be moved (slid) so that it overlaps the fixed leaf. The movement can be stopped and locked at any time and in any intermediate position by lowering the handle.

Lift-and-slide patio door functionality 

First of all, lift-and-slide doors offer functionality incomparable to any other alternatives. The way they open, even in the case of the largest formats, does not limit the usable indoor space in the slightest. In addition, the opening of even a large and heavy lift-and-slide wing is not a problem, and there is also the option of installing a special mechanised drive that allows for the remote operation of the door.

The way the lift-and-slide doors are constructed also allows for fitting of a very low, almost invisible threshold. This significantly reduces the risk of tripping when going outside, and can be particularly appreciated by people with disabilities, seniors or parents of small children.

Lift-and-slide patio doors also boast excellent thermal insulation parameters, and thus are ideal for energy-efficient houses.

Advantages of the lift-and-slide system 

  • Great thermal parameters – suitable for energy-efficient houses.
  • Works with the latest design and architectural trends, offering the opportunity to create fashionable, impressively large glazed areas, including on corners. 
  • Low threshold increases the comfort and safety of use. 
  • Ease and convenience of use, with effortless opening of even even the largest door. 
  • It is possible to install an additional drive that allows for a remote operation of the door.

Parallel tilt-and-slide system

A very popular and alternative to lift-and-slide doors in single-family houses is the parallel tilt-and-slide patio door system. The biggest difference between the parallel tilt-and-slide door and the more expensive lift-and-slide door is the mechanics of opening and handling.

With parallel tilt-and-slide system we also have a fixed and moving part to the glazed door. When we open the parallel tilt-and-slide door, the moving leaf first tilts out, and then slides, until it finally begins to slide along the guide located in the lower part of the frame, and behind the fixed leaf. When closed, the whole parallel tilt-and-slide door forms a straight line. 

Parallel tilt-and-slide patio doors functionality

Similar to the lift-and-slide system, the parallel tilt-and-slide doors, just as their name implies, are sliding doors, and thus do not encroach on the usable space inside the room. The tilting motion is similar to the one utilised in tilt or tilt-and-turn windows. However, they handle more heavily than lift-and-slide doors. This doesn't typically cause any significant problems. 

Due to the way the guide is fitted, it is unfortunately not possible to use such a low threshold as in the lift-and-slide system.

Advantages of parallel tilt-and-slide patio doors

  • Lower price than lift-and-slide doors.
  • The option to tilt the movable door leaf open. 
  • They do not encroach on the usable indoor space.
  • With the use of appropriate profiles of frames, door leafs, posts and reinforcements, it is possible to create large-dimensions, relatively heavy doors. 

Bifold patio doors

Bifold patio doors, also known as folding sliding doors, are a highly sought-after option for housing development in the UK. They provide the ability to substitute solid walls with glass, thereby enabling the room to be completely opened up to the outdoors. Furthermore, these doors typically move on tracks that are level with the floor, creating a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. This feature enhances the feeling of openness and allows for easy movement between the two areas. In addition to bifold patio doors, tri-fold doors are also available, that utilize a comparable mechanism. However, this solution is known to have a higher frame-to-glass ratio, resulting in a reduced overall glass area. Another potential drawback of bifold and tri-fold doors is that when they are opened, the folded door panels take up a significant amount of space. This can be a disadvantage in smaller properties where space is limited. It's important to consider the available space when choosing between different types of doors, and to ensure that there is enough room for the doors to fully open without causing any obstructions or safety hazards.When selecting bifold or tri-fold doors, it's important to consider factors such as the size of the opening, the material and finish of the frames, and the quality of the glazing. These doors can be made from a range of materials, including uPVC, aluminum, and timber, each with their own advantages and drawbacks. It's also worth investing in high-quality glazing that provides good insulation and energy efficiency, as this can help to reduce heating costs in the long run. 

Advantages of bifold doors

  • Allow for wider openings than French doors
  • Can replace entire walls with glass
  • Provide a seamless indoor-outdoor transition
  • Multiple configurations and stacking options available
  • Available in a range of materials

Disadvantages of bifold doors

  • Door panels take up space when opened, unlike sliding doors
  • Higher frame-to-glass ratio, reducing overall glass area, especially in comparison to lift-and-slide doors
  • More expensive than traditional French doors
  • More complex mechanism and installation process

Traditional French doors

Sliding doors are great for larger single-family houses or big apartments with access to the outdoor space. However, they require the right conditions for installation. What if we don't have enough space for those? A classic French door is the traditional smaller-scale solution. 

French patio doors look like large, tall windows fitted just above the floor level that open, allowing you to go out onto the terrace, patio., balcony or into the garden. They cannot be tilted ajar. And unlike any of the sliding systems, they unfortunately limit the usable space of the room or terrace to a certain extent, because they require a free space to swing open. They can, however, be fitted to swing either inwards or outwards, so the best use is made of the available space. 

Unfortunately, French patio doors do not allow for such large glazing areas as, for example, lift-and-slide systems. However, thanks to the double-leaf structure with a moving post, they can provide a relatively wide opening. They can also be fitted with a low aluminum threshold, minimizing the risk of tripping.

See the difference installing a lift-and-slide door system can make

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