Homeowners have a real passion for light and open plan living spaces. The demand for the classic sliding patio door - which undoubtedly gives consumers a better view of their outdoor space than a bi-fold can - is forecast to continue. After showing modest growth of 32% over the last decade, we’ve seen this growth nearly double over the last three years. So why is the trusty old patio coming back into favour?
The patio door market is dominated by uPVC, with well over three-quarters of patio doors being installed in the virtually maintenance-free material, over aluminium. 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.
Though bi-folds appeal to the aspirations of many, they’re not necessarily the most practical, easy to install or affordable option for customers looking to bring the outside in. Patio doors are visually cleaner, and your customers won’t have sections invading the room when it’s folded back, a particular appeal to those living with restricted space. 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 has recently unveiled security upgrades for its Imagine patio door range so that it now meets PAS24 requirements and is 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 do not have to worry about additional time or callbacks 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’s 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: “The benefit of uPVC and of specifying the Imagine patio door is obvious – it is practical, durable, virtually maintenance-free and as aesthetically- pleasing as bi-folds. We have the option of sculptured or bevelled sashes, attractive hardware from Fab&Fix and the choice of 29 Variations shades and finishes to match the increasing demand for colour. “Structurally much less involved than a bi-fold - and therefore less expensive for the customer and an easier install - 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.”
With the wide range of colours and woodgrains available in the variations range, VEKA Imagine in-line sliding doors are a perfect addition to a traditional or contemporary property. The Tilt & Slide version is ideal for high-rise balconies.