Friday, 21 December 2012

Hibernating until January

At close of business today, our manufacturing unit will close until 2nd January but some of our office staff will try to respond to enquiries during the break.

Our website will be inaccessible for a day or so this weekend for maintenance and we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers who helped to make 2012 a great year for us. We look forward to a successful 2013.

With best wishes to all our readers from SunSeeker Doors.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Winter. Quality Glazing is important!

A blanket of snow covering buildings and flora - and hiding the less pretty objects - is enchanting to behold.

Best viewed from a centrally-heated home through double-glazed bi folding doors! Or through our UltraSlim or Frameless Glass Doors. All our patio doors are manufactured using the latest technology and with kite-marked double-glazing, exceeding thermal values of old double-glazed units from last century. In fact, exceeding current British and European standards.

If you are thinking about replacing old patio doors or French doors, consider our product range. We offer a choice of Frameless, UltraSlim or Slimline doors. Request a no-obligation comparative quote for all options.

Below is a short description of each door style:
All these doors are fully retractable and are manufactured at our premises in England:

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Open Views with Frameless Glass Doors

SunSeeker Doors has representatives in the 'sunny south' where our Frameless Glass Doors are very popular.

Pictured above is an installation of our tempered glass frameless doors at a restaurant with far-reaching views from its first floor dining room.

Below is a close up of the handle on the side jamb, in the open position, with the door slightly open.
For more information, view our Frameless Glass Enclosures page.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Extending the Use of your Swimming Pool

Choosing an open air pool in your garden over an indoor pool may have been through budget, planning permission, a preference for fresh air and sunshine - or maybe it was already installed when you moved into the property.

If you have an open air pool in your garden, there is often a limited number of weeks that it gets used, due to the British climate. SunSeeker Doors can offer an attractive, contemporary solution to extending the usability of your pool - an enclosure of retractable frameless glass doors.

With the doors fully open, you still have every benefit of an outdoor pool. With the doors closed, you have the benefits of an open air pool but without cold winds blowing across. The heat from the pool water is retained close to the pool and swimming - or just messing about and having fun - can begin in spring and last until well into October.

Link: Frameless Glass Enclosure quotation.
Alternatively, please call SunSeeker Doors on 01582 492730

Friday, 28 September 2012

Contemporary Chic UltraSlim Doors Now More Affordable

Following a successful year with installations of our innovative SunSeeker UltraSlim patio doors system, we are delighted to announce that our prices have been reduced in line with our costs. This means that you don't have to settle for our traditional bi fold doors for your ultra chic home because the latest innovation in patio door styling is now only 10% more than our Slimline bi folding doors.

What sets UltraSlim apart from the rest?

They combine the best of folding and sliding patio doors:
  • The UltraSlim side frames are less than 2cm wide (bi folds are typically 4 or more times wider to allow for the fitted hinges that enable the folding action) which means that there is more glass to let in light and views
  • Like bi folds but unlike traditional sliding patio doors, the master door is a standard pivot door opening that can be used to enter and exit
  • However, once the main door is open, the adjacent door can slide into its place along the opening, creating the enter/exit opening further along the 'glass wall'
  • If you require a wider opening, similar to that of French doors, the door that you have just moved into the vacated space can also be opened as a pivot door; this can be repeated for as many doors as you have so that the whole of the opening can be used, just like bi folding doors.
We call this system retractable sliding doors or slide and pivot doors. The system is made to measure and therefore is easily adaptable to windows too. And, you can choose integral blinds that look great and never ever need dusting!

A British innovation designed, manufactured and installed exclusively by SunSeeker Doors.

Visit our website now and request a quotation.

UltraSlim retractable patio doors.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Frameless Glass Doors Project - Photographs

Following the Frameless Glass Doors testimonial from Mrs & Mrs Walpole, we are pleased to publish the photographs that they kindly supplied.

Request your Frameless Glass Doors quotation or visit our installation gallery pages:
*(double glazed with optional integral blinds)

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Sliding Folding Doors - Uppingham

"Good Morning, You have previously supplied us personally with some doors which we were extremely pleased with, we are main contractors on the above job and have recommended your company to our client..."

Many Thanks
Kevin Bray
Custom Joinery Services
Tel - 01780 482050

Our thanks to this customer for the photograph as well as the testimonial and recommendation.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Video: easy to use bi folding doors. See it. Believe it.

There is a good reason that bi folding doors have become popular. Compared with French doors, they offer a more panoramic view and when compared with sliding doors, they offer greater access. You could say that they combined the best of both yet it has taken around ten years for bi folding doors to 'take off'.

This is largely due to the cost and timing of any home improvement project but also partly down to the less pioneering home-owner who wants to ensure that bi folding door systems actually work properly and will last a good number of years. The video is taken at a customer's home and shows a set of SunSeeker bi folding doors that were installed in 2007.

Mindful of the longevity issue, SunSeeker Doors developed the sliding-folding doors system using good quality aluminium frames and have been installing their concertina-style doors since 2003. British innovation and quality is slightly more expensive than cheap imported copies (but not in the long run). SunSeeker bi-folds are manufactured at their Bedfordshire site and installed by their own experienced teams.

Sturdier than pvc and with far lower maintenance that timber, aluminium frames are 'thermally broken' so that extreme temperatures from outside are not transferred inside the home.

Notes. A strong magnet keeps the main door from swinging in the wind when open. The integral blinds controller can be removable or fixed; it works with magnets inside the glazing cavity to open/close the slats and to raise/lower the blinds.

Please visit for a free quotation for your bi folding doors or to see our range of retractable patio doors, room dividers and enclosures.

Monday, 20 August 2012

We offer more than DIY BiFolds

If price is the only issue - rather than quality, reliability, longevity, ease of use, low maintenance and installation time - then choosing DIY bi folding doors might not be the worse decision you'll ever make!

DIY bifolds are usually made from pvc or wood, SunSeeker bi folding doors have sturdy, slimline aluminium frames, available in over 100 colours. Cheap bifolds are usually available in a limited number of sizes so that the size and shape of the space it is destined to fill may have to be altered whereas the price of SunSeeker Doors, purchased direct from the manufacturer, includes a measuring service, bi folding doors made to measure and an installation service. Delivery and installation can be two weeks from order (for standard white frames) and most installations are completed in half a day with very little disturbance or redecoration.

Here are just some of the benefits of investing in good quality British made bi folding doors:
  • Aluminium frames are virtually maintenance free - wipe occasionally with a damp cloth - and offer the slimmest sight-lines and profiles
  • SunSeeker doors have K-Glass BSI kite-marked double glazing as standard, there is also a range of glass options (tinted, anti-sun, argon-filled, etc.)
  • As an optional extra, slatted Venetian blinds can be incorporated into the double glazing cavity.

During the recent heat-wave, one of our clients remarked that the integral blinds option was invaluable for keeping one room reasonably cool and compared it with another room that has similar, separate blinds at the windows. To keep cool, the blind was down to fend off the sun rays and the window was open to encourage the breeze. When the breeze became a little gusty, the slatted blind was in danger of getting mangled so had to be raised. We were subsequently asked if we can install bi-folding windows with integral blinds. (Yes, we can.)

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Retractable Windows Images & Testimonial

New photographs of a recent installation, not yet uploaded to our website gallery! These are SunSeeker Bi Folding Windows - a shorter version of Bi Folding Doors - that are fully retractable, which virtually converts a room into a covered balcony.

As well as the photographs, a testimonial: "Windows look fantastic. Thank you, extremely snug fit, perfect!"
Julian Mitchell, Mitchell Design & Construct, Essex.

bi folding windows

fully retractable windows with integral blinds

SunSeeker Doors & Windows, Aluminium Bifolds

The door and windows have integral blinds. Effective against the sun and the night, integral blinds make for a very neat curtain-less room with minimal cleaning!

Please contact SunSeeker Doors for a range of innovative doors and windows direct from the manufacturer.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Choose your Bi Folding Glass Doors by recommendation

If you have landed on this article during your research, you may already have considered that aluminium framed or frameless glass doors are suited to your property; aluminium frames complement any white, coloured or metal framed existing windows and frameless can be used with any other style, modern or traditional, whether mullioned, leaded-light or stained glass.

At SunSeeker Doors, we fully believe that aluminium is the best material for bi folding door frames. PVC isn't strong enough unless reinforced (usually with aluminium) especially where hinges are set - and even then, the frame width is significantly more than aluminium. Timber frames look good but at an equivalent price to aluminium, the quality will not be the highest; prone to weather-related swelling and shrinkage, the wood will need to be treated and protected every year.

The raw aluminium has a powder-coated finish, offering a plethora of colours. The aluminium frames are thermally broken, meaning that the temperature affecting the exposed external aluminium is insulated from the frame on the inside of the property. SunSeeker Doors use a good quality aluminium; beware of cheap imported bifolds which may not be fit for purpose. Buying from a British manufacturer will avoid any shipping delays and help boost the economy!

With no hinges to dictate the strength required for side frames, Frameless Glass Doors provides a more versatile option for some home owners. An innovative new concept of a fully retractable door set, the glass doors are not joined together but each door operates separately, moving independently with a slide and pivot action.

To our knowledge, SunSeeker Doors is the only British manufacturer currently offering a kite-marked double glazed fully retractable frameless glass door system. 

Sitting between our Slimline aluminium framed bifolds and Frameless Glass Doors, SunSeeker Doors UltraSlim is a slide and pivot door-set with 19mm aluminium side frames. To help you decide between bi folding doors, UltaSlim or frameless slide and pivot doors, we are happy to provide you with a no-obligation comparative quotation which includes a measuring service and full installation by our own team of experienced fitters.

Finally, choose your bi folding doors by recommendation ...

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Testimonial from a Happy Customer

Sent: 03 July 2012 15:34
To: Sales at SunseekerDoors
Subject: Thankyou

Hi everyone, yet another great job, the doors moved into "new position", they look great,
I am looking forward to the completion of our extension then we will see your "blokes" again to measure up for our next set, would also like to mention how hard the guys work, thanks to you all.


Friday, 15 June 2012

SunSeeker Bi folding Doors are also available to Trade customers

Architects and Builders - sourcing reasonably priced, quality aluminium-framed bifolding patio doors for self-installation is now easy. SunSeeker Doors' fully retractable sliding-folding bifolds with kite-marked double glazing and thermally-broken aluminium frames are made to your exact specifications in our Luton, Bedfordshire premises, just off the M1 motorway.

SunSeeker Bi folding Doors for Trade customers.

Of course, if you would prefer us to install the doors for you, that's OK too - compare our range of bifolds and retractable frameless glass doors on our innovative glazed doors website.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Feeling Hot Hot Hot? Throw Open Those Bifolds!

The long awaited warm weather has finally arrived and those of us lucky enough to already have bi folding doors installed took about 9* seconds to push them wide open. Bliss!

Well, 9 seconds for a standard set of 3 doors; more doors might go over 10 seconds. In fact, other makes of doors could take longer to open but SunSeeker bi folding doors are definitely of the easy glide variety, as long as the floor guide is kept free of grit and debris.

SunSeeker bi folding doors have aluminium frames, thermally broken for good insulation and powder coated to look great in whatever RAL colour you choose. SunSeeker bifolding doors are well balanced so that opening and closing requires minimal strength and no unnecessary force is placed on the hinges. Our installation teams are experienced in measuring and installing our bifolds therefore they will fit perfectly and operate smoothly from day one.

Manufactured by us, in England, to fit your exact requirements. Our prices are competitive and our quality is excellent. Why go for cheaper and why pay more? Submit your no-obligation quotation request today - your doors could be installed before mid-summer!

*accurately timed prior to writing the blog

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Extending your Living area with Glass Doors

The great British weather! It's rained for such a long time now that it's hard to remember a day when you'd want to install bi folding doors to "bring the outdoors indoors". There have been few occasions during April and May (so far) that doors to the garden or terrace have been opened for a short venture outside - we're guessing that anyone with folding-sliding doors hasn't fully retracted them lately!

But the optimists are looking forward to the summer - the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Wimbledon, the Olympics and much more. If it turns out to be a brilliantly warm summer, you need to make the best of it. Install bi folding or slide-and-pivot retractable doors so that your indoor-outdoor activities are seamless.

Quotes available now for SunSeeker retractable doors.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Frameless vs Frameless Double Glazed Conservatory Doors

Conservatories and extensions are subject to different planning regulations. Although they may look almost identical, an extension will need to conform to domestic dwelling insulation standards whereas a conservatory is considered to be an attached 'outbuilding' and should not form part of the living accommodation.

Doors between the original house and its extension are internal doors and our tempered glass frameless slide and pivot retractable doors are the perfect room divider for this situation.

Doors to a conservatory must comply with building regulations for patio doors and in this case, you would need to select double glazed retractable slide and pivot doors, as illustrated in the photograph.

Double glazing has better insulation and noise reduction qualities than single glazed partition doors. Of course, if you want to install double glazed doors in preference to tempered glass doors between rooms, there are no laws against it! In fact, you have the choice of double-glazed Frameless doors or UltraSlim aluminium frame slide and pivot doors. You can find details and request a comparable quotation from

Friday, 30 March 2012

Multi-pivot Glass Doors are not "Arch" Enemies!!

Frameless Glass Doors can, indeed, foil an arch enemy!

Here is what a satisfied client recently told our marketing staff:
"I contacted Sunseeker Doors because we had an unusual arched doorway leading from our living room to our extension. We wanted to get the maximum light but also the ability to close off the doorway during cold weather as every time we opened our doors to the garden all the cold rushed in.
The 4 door glass curtain we had fitted does the job perfectly, providing a crisp clear curtain across the doorway which keeps the draughts out and also provides some soundproofing. The installation was performed quickly and tidily.
Thank you for providing a solution to our problem!"

And here's the link for Frameless Glass Interior Doors.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Frameless Glass Doors in Business Premises

We recently installed Frameless Glass Doors at the London business premises of our client. The open doors enable maximum access and there is maximum light flow whether the doors are open or closed.
Interested? To find out more, visit Frameless Glass Doors

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Most Popular Frame Colours for Slimline Bi Folding Doors and UltraSlim Patio Doors

Advantages of patio doors with aluminium frames rather than pvc or wooden are:
  • aluminium frames can be ultra-slim, therefore less obtrusive for viewing through closed doors 
  • aluminium frames have narrower profiles for wider access space when doors are open 
  • the UltraSlim patio door frames are not heavy, so it's easy to manouevre retractable doors 
  • aluminium frames are available in a vast range of low maintenance colour finishes 
White is the most popular colour as it matches existing pvc windows, therefore we base our quotes using RAL 9010 "Pure White" although the frames are available in almost 200 bespoke 'RAL' colours for an additional payment. The most popular of these other colours for frames are:  cream, silver, various shades of greys and black:

RAL colours: slate grey, graphite grey, silver, cream, anthracite grey & black
So, unless you are opting for our Frameless Glass Doors, take a look at the choice of frame colours we offer. Our UltraSlim patio doors gallery shows installations with grey frames and one with green frames.  Our bi folding door installations, although mostly white, show some installations with grey and black frames.

Why not compare the cost of retractable glass doors from SunSeeker Doors? It's fast - and totally free.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Guide to Patio Door Types - part 4:

from  ezine articles / Bee Primrose

Concluding our comprehensive guide to patio door types.
part 4: 

Hardware, Rolling, Thresholds & Security 

French doors and bi folds need hinges that are strong enough to withstand the weight of the doors. Sliding doors (including bi folds) can be supported from the top or rest on the floor. Top hung systems tend to be easier to slide and will facilitate low thresholds. Thresholds can be raised or virtually flush, if the floor area is suitable. Raised is usually cheaper and may be more suitable to certain environments; other factors to consider are access by wheelchair users, young children and elderly, infirm or partially sighted people who may be liable to trip. Consideration should be given to how secure patio doors are. Not only the quality of the frames and glass but whether the doors can be unlocked from the outside. French doors are often purchased "off the shelf" and afford access from both sides whereas bifolding doors are often made to measure and can be supplied with locks on the inside only. Multiple door systems may have key-locks for each of the pairs of doors for extra security.

Access & Opening Widths 

To recap, French doors come in pairs and therefore the maximum access width is in the region of 2 metres. Sliding doors comprise two, three or four sashes within a frame, the larger systems opening to provide maximum access width of approximately 3 metres. Bi-folding and slide-and-pivot door systems are fully retractable, maximising the potential access width. The width-span of bifolds is governed by the stress of the hinged doors therefore a link of six doors is considered the maximum although, in theory, two of these could be installed to form a centrally opening retractable glass wall of twelve doors spanning 12m, provided the overbeam can be trusted (reputable companies will probably advise against this). Without hinges and cumbersome frames, slide-and-pivot doors are lighter and operate independently, therefore their installable width span is restricted only by the length of the over-beam to which the upper guide needs to be attached. The upper and lower guides must be consistently equidistant along the full width of the aperture for the doors to slide. This system has been tested to approximately 8 metres.

Delivery & Installation 

As previously stated, French doors can usually be purchased 'off the shelf' to standard sizes, as can smaller widths of sliding doors and pvc or timber bi folding door systems. If purchasing a system that is made to order, it is advisable to ensure that it is manufactured in the UK. Main benefits include adherence to British standards and delivery timescales (not only for the initial import but for subsequent parts or problem solving). When comparing prices, include: cost of buying the door system, delivery service, installation labour (if d-i-y, cost of appropriate tools and materials), making good and clearing the site. Price is not everything, though. Consider the time it takes for the installation to be completed - typically, an experienced team from the supplier will complete the job in a day so that home-owners can enjoy using their new patio doors as soon as possible.

Commercial Use 

Patio doors are generally installed in residential properties but are also popular in restaurants, canteens, reception areas, sports halls, swimming pools and communal areas. Where double-glazing isn't required, single-glazed frameless slide-and-pivot doors may be preferred - reception areas, enclosing a terrace or cloisters, shop fronts in shopping malls and conference area partitions. (Glass Curtains)

SunSeeker Doors is the only UK company to manufacture and install a choice of slide and pivot doors (including frameless glass doors), bi folding doors and French doors.

Article Source: Guide to Patio Door Types

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Guide to Patio Door Types - part 3: Glass

from  ezine articles / Bee Primrose

Continuing the informative guide to patio doors.

part 3: Glass - Kite mark, thermal performance, tempered, unbreakable, toughened, tinted, Georgian, leaded-light, stained glass, integral blinds.

All patio doors are required to have double glazing, although glass room dividers and glass doors to non residential properties can be single glazed tempered "unbreakable" glass.

A visible "kitemark" on the glass is the consumers' assurance that the double-glazed unit has been manufactured to British standards. The BSI has numerous standards, including: U-value verification, Window Energy Rating and Window Installation. The lower the U-value, the better the thermal performance and most local authorities will require this to be 1.8 or better to meet building regulations.

Some manufactures offer optional extras, such as tinted glass, anti-sun, laminated, obscured glass and Argon-filled double-glazing. It is also possible to match existing period features by specifying Georgian bar or leaded-light in rectangular or diamond style. An innovative option is switchable privacy glass which enables molecules inside the double-glazing to become transparent or opaque at the press of a button; this is expensive, though, typically doubling the original price of good quality patio doors.

An alternative solution is to order patio doors with integral horizontal blinds, factory sealed inside the double-glazing cavity. Proven to be reliable, the blinds can be operated via a magnet system (there is an alternative electronic option) that enables the slats to be easily angled to control the amount of light filtering through and can also raise and lower the blinds for maximum light or shade. A major advantage of opting for internally sealed blinds rather than separate blinds is that they are totally maintenance-free - no arduous dusting or cleaning - and because the blinds are encapsulated inside the glazed panels, they are exceptionally difficult to break.

SunSeeker Doors is the only UK company to manufacture and install a choice of slide and pivot doors (including frameless glass doors), bi folding doors and French doors.

Article Source: Guide to Patio Door Types

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Guide to Patio Door Types - part 2: Frames

from  ezine articles / Bee Primrose

Traditional or modern? Classic or contemporary? We continue the article describing types of patio doors, to provide an informative guide.

part 2: Frame Styles - timber, metal, pvc, composite, frameless, profiles and sight lines. 

Patio doors comprise an outer frame plus individual door frames. These can be made from wood (soft- and/or hard-wood), metal or alloys (usually aluminium), pvc (polyvinyl chloride, a thermo-plastic polymer - the 'u' stands for unplasticised) or a composite material, which may comprise any of the foregoing materials plus grp (glass reinforced polymer). There is also a style known as frameless, where the vertical sides of each door have no frames.

Generally, timber frames are considered more traditional and can look beautiful! Hard wood such as oak is, as the name suggests, far more hard-wearing than a soft wood such as pine. Weather, especially strong sun, can take its toll on timber frames which could need to be varnished or painted annually. Wooden frames can swell and shrink with humidity, therefore opening and closing doors can require force and gaps can allow draughts in colder temperatures.

Metal frames, usually aluminium, provide strength in compact form. As notoriously good conductors (which is a bad attribute for insulation), frames made from aluminium are thermally-broken, which is a good attribute. It means that the metals on the inside and outside of the door frames are not joined, preventing the temperatures from being transferred between them. A bare metal frame would look completely unattractive so it is powder-coated in a choice of over 100 standard colours, including a white that resembles pvc.

As with timber, the quality of pvc frames available can vary - and generally, you get what you pay for. The better ones will usually be reinforced with metal, internally, for greater strength but the cheaper options can be a nightmare to live with - sticking, twisting, splitting, discolouring, warping - often within a very short time. Most usually supplied as white, some manufacturers offer limited colour options or wood effect finishes.

Generally stronger than pvc, composite patio door frames vary with each manufacturer, offering a variety of finishes.

Whilst frameless doors have no side frames, the top and bottom of each door requires a mechanism, typically presented in aluminium, to allow it to slide within the top and bottom guides. Frameless glass doors have the best sight lines.

Sight lines is the term used to describe the interruptions in the view through the doors; in other words, the width of the vertical opaque areas between the glass when the doors are closed. On hinged doors, such as French doors and bi folding doors, timber and pvc frames generally have broad sight lines because, unlike aluminium, narrower frames would not be strong enough to be fit for purpose. As a guide to the width of two frames together, cheaper pvc door frames can exceed 200mm, aluminium frames are typically between 135mm and 160mm and frameless patio doors sight lines are under 40mm. Depending on the width of each door and number of doors to be installed, the difference in glass to frame ratio could be significant.

Door profiles - the width of the visible door edges when open - may be a consideration. Additionally, some door profiles are ugly, showing mullions or working parts that would be better hidden from view.

SunSeeker Doors is the only UK company to manufacture and install a choice of slide and pivot doors (including frameless glass doors), bi folding doors and French doors.

Article Source: Guide to Patio Door Types

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Guide to Patio Door Types - part 1: Styles

from  ezine articles / Bee Primrose

Traditional or modern? Classic or contemporary? Varying tastes and different architectures throughout the years, as well as innovations and enhanced lifestyles, have given rise to the wide choice in patio door variations currently available in Britain. This article aims to describe the types of patio doors - their styles and functionality, similarities and differences, together with some of their main advantages and popular options - in order to provide readers with an informative guide.

part 1: Styles - French doors, sliding panels: retractable: folding doors, slide-and-pivot doors. 

The latest patio doors innovation is slide-and-pivot doors. Developed and launched since 2007/8, slide-and-pivot doors incorporate the major benefits of bifolding doors and sliding patio doors. Comprising a number of individual glazed panels that fit snugly together when closed, there is a 'master' door that can be opened with a standard (pivot) action, enabling the other doors to be moved, individually, along the top and bottom guides; as each door is moved to the end of the guides, it can also pivot open to increase the access width between the divided areas ( to a suggested maximum of approximately 8 metres). 

Because slide-and-pivot doors have no hinges, there is no requirement for a sturdy side frame; its only purpose is to cover the gasket that seals the double glazed unit. This means that the views afforded through the expanse of patio doors have minimal interruptions. At the time of writing, there are two versions of frame-less glass doors available in the UK, both using the slide-and-pivot technique: one manufacturer supplies their frameless glass doors with kite-marked double glazed units which have a visible seal, the other uses an almost transparent method of sealing their double glazing. Contemporary by design, the absence of visible characteristics makes frameless glass doors a viable option for period properties.

Bi Folding doors were launched around the turn of the century; they can be installed in place of French doors, where both doors are hinged to fold as they open together to one side. Bi folding doors can also span an opening to around 7 metres wide, depending on the frame chosen. A 'master' door can be placed amongst the doors, at the ends or in the middle, wherever the opening is required; this door is a standard (pivot) opening door which enables the other doors to be pushed to the side or sides of the aperture, resulting in a sliding-folding action, concertina-style, to maximise the width of the opening between home and garden or conservatory.

Originally, patio doors were all of the French Door variety; that is, a pair of doors that are hinged at the sides and open from the middle, each door pivoting in- or out-wards. French doors are still popular, especially with builders of new homes, as they are comparatively cheap and easy to accommodate in place of windows and offer an alternative evacuation route for families, especially for elderly or disabled people, to meet improved fire safety requirements.

Arguably, French doors could be considered as retractable as each door can be pulled back. The advantage of retractable doors is that maximum access is possible between the two sides of the aperture whereas sliding panel doors generally overlap unless built to retract into a recess.

In the mid-20th century, sliding doors became very popular - two or three panels of glass that slide along grooves in the floor. To distinguish them from traditional French doors, they were marketed with the thoroughly modern name of Patio Doors and this is often the image people have today when that term is used. Easily installed in place of a window, the immediate advantages were additional natural light and access to the garden. They also became a popular option to use where a pivot door opening space was limited or where the aperture was wider than a pair of French doors. Older installations were typically single-glazed, prone to warping and usually became difficult to slide open and closed. Still available today but in a developed form with double glazing and rollers for easier sliding, the popularity of sliding doors during this century has declined as bifolding doors gained market share.

SunSeeker Doors is the only UK company to manufacture and install a choice of slide and pivot doors (including frameless glass doors), bi folding doors and French doors.

Article Source: Guide to Patio Door Types