Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The Next Generation of Patio Doors is Coming ...

In the Evolution of Patio Door styles, the next generation is upon us.

French doors, the original patio doors, have served well for many years. Elegant, romantic, practical, French doors set the standard and remain the most popular garden doors in new-builds as well as traditional French homes from small stone cottages to Versailles. Materials have varied, from soft and hard woods, metal, alloys and PVC but the traditional two-doors meeting in the middle of a three or four ft opening can be seen in a variety of homes and commercial buildings, world-wide.

In the mid-20th Century in Britain, the sliding patio door became popular - allowing lots of natural light into the home and a great view of the garden. There were a couple of downsides: there was always one side that remained in place, restricting access via only half the original aperture; also it wasn't always easy to slide the door - either the frame warped or the sliding channels became dirty or damaged so that the door stuck. Today's sliding doors often use rolling mechanisms to reduce such problems.

At the beginning of this century, the bifolding door (or folding-sliding door) became widely available in the UK, made from soft and hard woods, PVC or aluminium. The appeal of having an opening wall of folding doors between house and conservatory (for more natural light in the house and maximum space between two rooms) or between home and garden (for maximising light, panoramic views and combining indoors with outdoor space when all doors are folded open) was enhanced by a number of other bonuses: good thermal qualities, better opening mechanisms, low maintenance (Aluminium/pvc) , optional colour choice (Aluminium/wood) and optional, integral blinds in the Aluminium framed folding doors.

In the wings, a new generation of frameless panelled doors awaits! "Glass Curtains" will soon be able to fill apertures currently filled by bifolding doors, with much the same qualities but with the added benefit of no vertical frames between panels and providing an uninterrupted panoramic vista - even round curved areas. The panel system can even accommodate arched apertures, fitting easily inside old cloisters.

Massively popular in warmer climates but with fewer applications here in Britain, "Glass Curtains" are currently available as single-glazed for balcony enclosures or as internal room dividers, both commercially and in the home. It is the newest concept in Open Plan living.

For more information about clear glass curtains and to browse through a few installations, visit the Glass Curtains pages of
http://www.sunseekerdoors.co.uk/ where you can get an obligation-free quotation for your installation.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

A Modern Alternative to French Doors

French Doors . . . sound so . . . romantic.

For some people, French Doors are so much better than standard sliding patio doors because the whole of the aperture opens for access between house and garden. And, unlike PVC patio doors, traditional wooden French Doors can be stained or painted to suit: white, blue, green ... silver?

There is a maximum aperture that French Doors are appropriate for - no more than about 6ft wide - and they have other drawbacks. The wooden frames need treating or repainting every year or two and can often warp with the sun or rain. If, like traditional French Doors in France, they open into the house (most British doors are designed to open outwards) slatted shutters can be fitted outside for added protection against strong sunlight (lovely but, oh dear! more maintenance).

It's obvious just how impractical the romantic notion of French Doors can be once they are out of their traditional environment. Even mainland Europeans are opting for integral shutters for less effort. Time to stop dreaming and get the best practical solution!

Bifolding doors. If you don't need to settle for the cheapest, aluminium framed doors will outlast wooden or PVC units and will need little or no maintenance. The best way to understand the difference is to visit some installations (or even showrooms where they have samples fitted to outside walls, not set up inside where they are protected from normal environmental conditions).

And . . . you don't have shop separately for shutters or curtains. As an option, the doors can be supplied with venetian or pleated blinds inside the double glazed unit! Ideal for today's hectic lifestyle (no dusting - ever!) and they look really neat.

There's a choice of colours for the blinds as well as a choice of bright or neutral colours for door frames. How about tinted glass too?

SunSeeker BiFolding Doors can replace traditional two-door widths and can fit wider openings with three, four, five, six panel doors; a versatile folding door system with centre opening, side opening or somewhere in-between. Made to measure to your requirements.

To recap - choice of colours, made to measure for standard or very wide openings, low maintenance, integral blinds option - and SunSeeker Doors are made in England. There are more options and details on the web site: www.sunseekerdoors.co.uk

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Case Study: Kent

Julian from Beckenham has kindly written this feature about his SunSeeker Doors experience.

One of the most important factors for us when renovating our house was how to link the house to the garden, so we could make the best use of the outside space in the summer and allow the kids to get in and out of the house easily.

We had previously seen some sliding-folding doors on a barn conversion where we stayed on holiday, we thought they would be ideal when we turned our extension into a kitchen diner.

After some thought and research on the internet, we decided that we wanted to go for an aluminium door which, although they were more expensive at first glance, were much easier to prepare and maintain, and they looked great. We also liked the idea of being able to choose the colour, as we wanted to use greys throughout the house to provide accents.

We approached a number of different companies, and were immediately impressed by SunSeeker Doors' price and communications. I had a number of discussions with Bob at SunSeeker Doors, and he was able to translate my often abstract questions into concrete answers.

Once we had decided to go ahead with SunSeeker Doors, the process moved very smoothly. When surveying the site, the guys worked well with our builder and were in regular contact prior to installation. Even my last minute requests for a change didn't throw a spanner in the works.

The installation took place in no time and, whilst the house project isn't quite finished, the doors look great and are a fantastic addition to our home. They are really practical, allowing us to pop in and out of the garden with the traffic door, and are great when they are fully open, giving us the maximum opening to the garden whilst using the minimum of space.

I would certainly recommend SunSeeker Doors to anyone, and am looking for any excuse to use them again!

Julian K, Beckenham, Kent.


For more information regarding our bifolding doors, please visit our web site, http://www.SunSeekerDoors.co.uk

Friday, 5 September 2008

Old, New, Green, Blue ...

Making your choices.

Taking advantage of natural light: the best ways of bringing light into a room is to create a glass wall, a sun-room extension or a conservatory that is warm – or cool – enough to use all year round. Insulation and ventilation are important factors.

SunSeeker bifolding doors are supplied with Pilkington "K" (or Low E) glass as standard - one side of the glass has a low emission (Low E) coating. Almost indistinguishable from clear glass, a microscopic metal coating allows light to filter through and reflects heat away – keeping hot sun outside and central heating inside. Additionally, the coating helps reduce condensation because the glass temperature is not so cold on contact. Pilkington K Glass is a leading brand of Low E glass that can provide up to 30% better insulation than double-glazing that uses ordinary clear glass.

Argon filled double-glazing has superior insulation qualities – about as good as solid walls when used with K glass – an option that doesn’t cost the Earth.

Classy Glass is Practical.

You can choose anti-sun/ tinted glass for south facing expanses of folding doors. In addition to its heat-reflecting properties, the hint of bronze, grey, green or blue can look very attractive from inside and outside.

Or, if you want to benefit from natural light and keep your privacy - perhaps between rooms - obscured glass could be the answer … a kitchen with an open view to a conservatory/ dining room is perfect when hosting a dinner party and conversing with guests yet even more perfect when the doors are pulled closed with the obscured glass partition hiding a kitchen of aftermath!

Old meets New – a successful partnership.

Traditional Homes can retain their charm and still benefit from the spaciousness and convenience afforded by today’s folding doors because SunSeeker Doors offers their UK-manufactured, made-to-measure, high quality folding doors in both Georgian and leaded-light options. Yes, even a 16th Century thatched cottage can be benefit from a virtual wall of glass to complement existing leaded-light windows - subject to the relevant permissions, of course.

Aluminium Frames. Go green. Go blue.

Standard white or traditional brown too tame for you? Country living can be enhanced with a green frame surrounding your garden view, matching the green-framed greenhouse, perhaps. Or if your town house balcony view is green–free and you yearn for the hint of a mossy green lawn … why not choose SunSeeker folding doors with green powder-coated low-maintenance sturdy aluminium frames?

Of course, green gardens might need a bit of contrast – how about blue? Modern and stylish – particularly for the contemporary apartment or Mediterranean-style villa – the deep cobalt blue of the sea is a perfect complement to sunny azure skies or moody cumulus. The powder-coated aluminium frames will not crack or flake and will not require re-painting (unless you want to, of course).

Be different. Be bold. Go blue. Or green. A range of colours is one of the options at www.SunSeekerDoors.co.uk, including bronze, silver, graphite and slate grey: 01582 492 730


Thursday, 14 August 2008

bifolding doors on conservatories

If you like conservatories you probably like light and space - what a pity to restrict the space by putting in sliding patio doors which overlap, only leaving a partial aperture, or having a small space to walk through, as with traditional style French doors.

With bifolding doors, either between house and conservatory or conservatory and garden, you can have a virtual glass wall that opens up two, three, four or more metres of space and, when closed, provides a panoramic open view.

Available to complement your conservatory, whether white, green, brown, grey, silver or blue, SunSeeker's bifolding doors are easy to open and close, made in hard-wearing, low-maintenance powder-coated aluminium, finished to the colour of your choosing, with a choice of glass finishes and styles, including Georgian and leaded-light.

The SunSeeker Doors price includes professional measuring and bespoke made-to-measure manufacture, delivery and fitting: a one-stop-shop solution with no middle men.

Stonger than PVC, the threshhold or cill is lower and the frames are less prominent, leaving more glass to see through. Like PVC, coated aluminium needs no painting and, unlike wooden doors, is not prone to warping in hot, cold, wet or dry weather.

Other options include horizontal venetian or folding blinds sealed within the double glazing so there is little risk of breakage and no dusting required whatsoever!

As it is a legal requirement for doors to be fitted between house and conservatory, why not maximise the amount of glass to see through and the amount of space to walk through?

For a no-obligation quotation, visit
www.sunseekerdoors.co.uk or call us on 01582 492 730 and we promise you that you will not be hounded by salesmen or be subjected to high-pressure selling.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Case Study: Hertfordshire

Mr & Mrs P from Herts have kindly agreed to share their SunSeeker Doors experience.

“We have a south facing garden and decided to maximise our natural light by using a full width of six folding doors from our new extension onto the patio and garden. During the planning stage, this changed to an 8ft width (three folding doors) with a large tilt & turn window either side.

“The 60s-built house had been upgraded at some point from Crittal metal windows to white PVC so we decided to match the existing style, discarding any thoughts of wooden frames. We had bought wooden framed French doors in our previous home with a south facing garden and were constantly re-varnishing, trying to stuff gaps against winter draughts where the wood had presumably shrunk and struggling with aligning the warped doors to lock them in place every summer!

“Using the Internet and our builder’s experience, we discarded PVC in preference to powder-coated white aluminium which looks like a neater version of PVC and therefore matched in with our existing windows. (This all sounds very technical for people who knew nothing about this a few months ago!)

“Again, using the Internet and our builder’s connections, we short-listed six companies. We began narrowing our choice based on total price of product + delivery + installation and, amazingly, there was less than 15% difference between the top and bottom prices. We threw in other criteria, such as: Can they supply and fit doors AND windows? Can we have integral blinds in both doors and windows? Can they install within six weeks?

“Two companies met our criteria then one found that they could not meet our deadline. The winning company,
SunSeeker Doors, offered a product that was manufactured in the UK and could have been installed within three weeks if we hadn’t wanted the integral blinds (which are from Italy, increasing the delivery time); we decided to wait the whole six weeks as south facing glass really needs to have blinds in the summer and we wanted them inside the double glazing to eliminate the need of constantly dusting ten square metres of horizontal slats!

“So, the doors and windows were installed just before Christmas whereas other companies would have delivered January or February – the ones who import from some countries said that the factories closed for a month over the festive period. How nice for the workers. Visitors to our house have been impressed with the view, the access and the integral blinds."

"We are very happy with SunSeeker Doors’ product and service."

Mr & Mrs P, Hertfordshire.


For more information regarding our bifolding doors, please visit our web site, http://www.SunSeekerDoors.co.uk

Monday, 9 June 2008

An Alternative Design

Our old web site at www.SunSeekerDoors.com has served us well during our many years of business on the 'net but we thought it was time to update it a little and we are testing our new design on
(fully functional, with some new gallery photos). Please take a look and let us know what you think!

The launch coincides with our new range of Open View bifolding doors - improved technical bits with the same great views of your garden and beyond.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Choosing new doors & windows

When choosing new doors and windows, the right choice will not only look good but will be functional, durable, provide good insulation and security and, if the time comes to sell, enhance your chances of selling quickly for a good price.

Frames are generally made from wood (softwood or hardwood), plastic (PVC-u) or aluminium.

The low budget option is to use softwood; it looks good when new and can be stained or painted to suit your taste. The disadvantages are that it soon deteriorates if not painted regularly and it has a tendency to warp with changes of temperature. Hardwood, whilst more expensive, has the same good qualities, is far more durable and offers good thermal insulation. Both softwood and hardwood surfaces, especially those exposed to harsh weather (such as all-day sunshine!) may need to be treated every year.

PVC-u frames usually come in white, brown and in wood-grain finish. Prices vary with quality, the cheaper ones costing little more than softwood and the stronger ones comparable with hardwood. Maintenance does not include painting but cheaper frames may be prone to twisting, particularly on opening patio doors, rendering them difficult to use.

Aluminium is the strongest material and is maintenance-free. On its own, it would look ugly and be a bad insulator but most manufacturers incorporate a thermal barrier and provide a powder-coated finish, usually basic white but often a choice of industry standard colours, e.g. silver, green, blue.

can also help reduce heat loss and improve energy efficiency. The air between the two glass panes in standard double-glazing acts as an insulator. Suppliers who manufacture to order may have options to increase thermal performance by replacing the cavity air with an insulating gas and/or coating the glass facing inside the house with a reflective coating. Reflective coating is also useful for south-facing patio doors and windows, to reflect the sun and keep temperatures down in summer.

The glass cavity has many uses: it may be increased to minimise sound or it could house window blinds, usually horizontal slats or pleated, which would never need dusting and would be less prone to damage from everyday wear and tear.

to the garden or balcony are no longer restricted to sliding panels and double doors (aka French doors).
French doors are traditionally wooden but are also available in PVC-u and aluminium, with the same benefits and drawbacks as listed above.

Patio doors, traditionally, have comprised of at least two large panes of glass with PVC-u or aluminium frames, where one or more door can slide across to provide a walk-through opening. Wide doors can offer unrivalled views from the house but sliding panels restrict access by at least 50% of the potential opening.

The sliding method has been prone to eventual operational difficulties, giving rise to the rolling patio door mechanism – a series of rollers (like miniature in-line skates) are fitted to the bottom of the door panels so that the doors glide open and close easily. The rollers are usually made from steel or nylon; steel wheels may eventually cause wear to the runners whereas nylon runners may be the casualty against harder (e.g. aluminium) runners. Note that the wheels are easier and cheaper to replace than the runners.

Folding-sliding or concertina-style patio doors are becoming increasingly popular. Optionally made from hardwood, PVC-u or aluminium, with a number of different folding options available, virtually the whole of the aperture gives access between indoors and outside – or between the house and conservatory, providing one big bright party room! Additional advantages of aluminium over even the best quality PVC-u are the lower threshold and narrower frames.

Finally, when choosing your supplier, factors to consider are: price, quality, glass options, finish options, flexibility, delivery dates, stock size or made to measure, fitting service, guarantees, locally (UK) sourced, manufacturer or agent reputation and after-sales service. Beware the hard-sell!

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

SunSeeker BiFolding-Sliding Doors

Welcome to our News and Views section.

Our flagship product, SunSeeker's innovative British-designed, British-manufactured, made-to-measure, quality aluminium bi-folding-sliding doors can usually be installed within four to six weeks and often within two to three weeks. Full details, including colour options, glass options, handles, hinges and integrated blinds options, can be viewed on our web site:


Other products available include:
- glass folding partitions for internal or external uses)
traditional sliding-rolling-gliding patio doors
- plus windows and doors,
all constructed
in alumnium with a choice of finishes

Alternative web site to be launched this year!

Our News and your Views may be posted here; if you have any questions regarding our products, please email us: info@sunseekerdoors.com or telephone: 01582 492 730