It’s easy to see why many of today’s homeowners aspire to open plan living, naturally lit and complemented by a stylish gateway to their outdoor space. Which type of door they choose to access their garden and give them a room with a view can be driven by a number of factors, including the period the house was built in, the space available, and personal taste.
In recent years bi-folds have had their moment, yet there is one particular type of door sliding back into vogue.
Jeff Dunn, Sales and Marketing Director for the Glazerite UK Group Ltd, a leading VEKA fabricator, explains: “After showing modest growth of 32% over the last decade, we’ve seen demand for the classic sliding patio door nearly double over the last three years. We think there’s a number of reasons behind this growth, not least the fact you get a cleaner view of your garden than you would with alternative doors.”
The patio door market is dominated by uPVC, with well over three quarters of patio doors being installed in the virtually maintenance-free material. With the added draw of being able to match a patio door to existing doors and windows, it’s easy to see why there is still a desire for the classic in-line style.
Security also remains a key issue for homeowners, and manufacturers have been keen to address patio doors, given they’re often viewed as the weak spot in the home.
The VEKA UK Group overhauled its Imagine patio door range last year to meet PAS24 requirements and make it Document Q compliant. Having partnered with ERA, the door now utilises a high security interlock claw profile design, which is covered by the ERA 5 Star guarantee against break in. Combined with the highly secure Ultion lock fitted as standard, the choice of toughened or laminated glazing and reinforced steel frames, installers have a suite of benefits with which to reassure customers.
Simon James, Head of Marketing for the VEKA UK Group, explains: “We’ve built in additional security features into our Imagine patio door range to address security concerns. It doesn’t involve fiddly and hard to align plunge bolts but instead uses single lever locking with the multi-point locking feature built into the frame itself.”
Simon continues: “It’s a standard installation and installers don’t have to worry about additional time or call backs spent realigning plunge bolts or hook locks as with some competitor doors. Homeowners operate the door with the extended lever on the handle, and once the door is closed the locking mechanism can be fully secured without the need for additional locking devices.”
Other key priorities for homeowners remain easy operation – addressed by effortless opening thanks to an easy glide one-piece stainless steel track – and energy efficiency. Durable and weatherproof, the Imagine patio door insulation features include a unique quadruple-seal interlock, and brushes to all four sides. They can also be triple glazed to achieve an A+3 energy rating.
Simon adds: “Another massive advantage is that the slim-stepped 70mm outer frame means minimal plaster cutback is required. It also means more light, particularly as individual sash sizes of 1500mm wide x 2300mm high can be achieved, giving a very high glass to frame ratio. Though 2-pane options remain the most popular choice in patio doors, and it is the only option these security features are currently built into, VEKA is seeing a growing niche for 3- and 4- pane versions. A 4-pane version can feasibly fill a 6-metre space normally considered for a bi-fold, so it’s a genuine alternative – just cheaper.”
Glazerite’s Jeff adds more weight as to why patio doors are the perfect choice for homeowners. He explains: “The benefits of uPVC patio doors are obvious – they’re practical, durable, virtually maintenance-free and as aesthetically-pleasing as bi-folds.
“For installers looking to give their customers additional options, we can supply sculptured or bevelled sashes, attractive hardware from Fab&Fix and a great choice of VEKA Variations shades and finishes to match the increasing demand for colour.
“Glazerite installers can offer their customers a number of style alternatives too, matching their desire for contemporary living with a bi-fold, the sophisticated vista of French doors or the classic patio door. Whichever they choose, they can rest assured all of our products are covered by the Glazerite 10-year guarantee.”