Monday, 25 October 2010

PVC, Timber, Aluminum Frames Or Frameless Patio Doors?

Since the turn of the century, the bi folding door has become increasingly popular with home-owners modernising their houses and flats. It is also the standard for many enclosed swimming pools.

Bi-folding doors are generally offered with three frame types: Timber, Aluminium and PVC. All are available in different qualities and therefore the prices vary. When comparing the cheapest PVC or wood-framed door sets from a D.I.Y. store with made to measure bi folding doors from a specialist manufacturer, remember that the built-to-order price generally includes installation by experienced bi folding door fitters.

Other points to consider may include the origin of your custom built doors:
  • Are they made locally or imported? There could be unforeseen delays if the measurements are inaccurate.
  • Does the company use an experienced team or cheap, untrained labour for installation?
  • Is the Company established with a good reputation, in case something goes wrong?
Good quality wooden frames look good in traditional homes. Hard woods, such as teak and oak are more expensive than soft woods but are also more resiliant. Timber frames are more prone to weather conditions - sun and rain can take their toll - swelling, shrinking or warping the frames, making the doors difficult to open or close and facilitating draughts. Stained or painted, wooden frames are high maintenance compared with aluminium or pvc.

Often available in wood-grain finish as well as white, PVC door frames vary from cheap and nasty that will probably be a nightmare to open and close, to metal-reinforced, high quality systems. The better PVC bifolds have many of the qualities of aluminium bifolds, such as low maintenance and good performance - but the frames are always wider, detracting from the potential view when doors are closed, and the profiles are also wider, reducing the access space when open.

The term thermally-broken aluminium basically means that the aluminium exposed to the temperatures on the outside of the frame and the aluminium on the inside of the frame are separated by a non-conductive material so that heat or cold doesn't pass through. Aluminium itself can be quite ugly therefore the aluminium frames are powder-coated in a polymer that provides a smooth, warm finish. Colours can be added to the coating to produce a virtually maintenance-free frame (it will need a wipe now and then) in white, graphite, silver, green, brown, blue or up to almost 200 colour choices - including purple, orange, red or pink. Barbie and Jordan would love that!

For character homes, frameless glass doors are the stunning alternative to the traditional. For contemporary homes, there really is no alternative - this is it! The ultimate Lifestyle choice. Instead of having to consider the safety of natural wood versus repercussions of fashion fopars with copper, graphite or plum finishes, choose frameless. No frames.

Evolving from bifolds, an absence of side frames meant having to develop a method without hinges. This is achieved by having a main door that pivots open at right-angles just like a regular door, enabling each of the remaining doors to slide across the gap left by the open door and also pivoting at right-angles, to rest against the previous door. In this way, maximum access is achieved when all the doors are fully open.

And when the doors are fully closed, there are no frames to disturb the view. It should be noted, however, that because patio doors are double glazed, there is a small interruption between closed doors where the gasket seals the vacuum between the outer and inner glass panes.