Indoor-Outdoor Kitchens are a popular design choice for modern home building projects, however, most extensions and renovations can cost a lot of time and money. Choosing the right patio door system for your kitchen renovation is the first step, and the most effective step, to creating the perfect indoor-outdoor living space.
What Patio Door Should I Choose?
Sliding Glass Doors
Glass sliding doors are glass patio doors that open with a linear sliding action, sliding to one side of a door opening and stacking one in front of the other.
You can achieve much slimmer frame finishes than you can from a bi-folding or casement door from a sliding door due to the weight of the moving glass resting on the bottom track. The slimmest frame sliding glass doors have a meeting junction of as little as 30mm with a frameless surround . This slim framing allows you to minimise the division between inside and out, even when the doors are closed (which is most of the year in the UK!).
Sliding glass doors are often the first choice for modern patio doors for architects and designers due to the minimal framing that can be achieved and the large glass sizes possible.
Unless you design the sliding doors to slide away into a hidden pocket, most installations will not be able to open the entire aperture or glass façade as the sliding doors will have to stack and sit to one side of the opening when all doors are open.
Our very slim framed sliding glass doors start at roughly £700 per m2 (including installation, excl VAT) and costs go down the larger the frame section becomes.
When planning to use these doors for an indoor-outdoor kitchen the external thresholds are important to make sure you end up with that popular internal to external flush floor finish. These floor levels will need to be designed properly and a system that allows a flush finish will need to be chosen.
Drainage should be a key design point as well to ensure that the water runoff from the large glass panels is adequately designed into the sliding door details.
Lift and Slide Doors
Lift and slide doors actually sink into the floor track when closed creating a high level of wind and water resistance. When opening you turn a large handle which lifts the doors from the floor track and then allows you to slide them open.
Due to the way these patio doors seal to the floor track you can get exceptional levels of wind and water resistance. They also tend to have much higher levels of thermal insulation than linear sliding doors can offer.
Lift and slide doors have restricted configurations so you don’t have the range of flexibility available from linear sliding doors which can have almost as many sliding panels as you like. The frames for lift and side doors are generally thicker than linear sliding doors.
Bi Folding Doors
Bi Folding Doors are multiple hinged doors all connected together and resting on a linear sliding track. This allows you to fold and slide the whole door installation to the side, opening the inside to the out.
This patio door is one of the most popular patio door options for homes throughout the UK due to the ability to completely open the doorway of a room. If you are comparing patio door solutions consider that bi folding doors will have a much thicker frame finish when all the doors are closed, roughly 110-140mm. When compared to sliding doors this is very thick.
Ensure that you select a door system with high-quality hinges and ironmongery. As there are so many moving parts to these systems you need to make sure that they are going to last their lifetime.
A door configuration of an uneven number of door panels is recommended. This allows one door pane to act independently and be used as an occasional door for easy access to the patio and garden without having to fold the entire door open.
Corner doors are sliding or bi-folding doors that move away from a corner connection leaving no frame or post in their wake. This effect can create an impressive indoor-outdoor living environment thanks to the appearance that the roof is then ‘floating’ with no visible support at the corner.
This type of glazing installation is not simple and will require a structural engineer to calculate the support required for the cantilevered roof design which may become costly.
Corner doors can be either bi folding doors or sliding doors.
The cost of the bi-folding or sliding doors that open on the corner will be similar to a simple linear installation, however, the structural calculations of the rest of the structure may be more costly due to the more advanced cantilevered structure required.
Aluminium is normally the first choice for sliding and bi-folding door frames due to its strong yet lightweight nature, as well as the weather resistance and low maintenance finish. Frames made from aluminium have a level of customisation available and can then be powder coated any RAL colour you like.
If your property is within 5 miles of the coast the finish to the frames will need to ensure that the aluminium framing is marine grade which is at least 60-80 microns thick.
If you prefer timber framing a composite patio door may be a good option for you. This combines the warm appearance of timber for the internal frame with an aluminium finish externally for low maintenance.
Thinner frames create a better connection between inside and outside when the doors are closed, visually merging the internal and external living spaces throughout the year, no matter the weather. Thin framed sliding doors are a premium product, however, there are now more cost effective options available on the market, such as the Sieger 30 sliding door with 30mm framing .
For projects on a budget thicker framed systems tend to be cheaper due to the reduction in glass specification and lowering of required frame strength. It is always advised to let your glazing company know what your budget is, that way they can suggest the products that are going to provide you with the design that you want to the cost that you require.
Whatever frame thickness you chose, ensure that the patio doors have been fully tested for wind and water resistance as well as thermal performance! Also, ensure that the frames you are using are fully thermally broken and take a double glazed unit as a minimum.
Try and see any patio doors in person before ordering to ensure that they look and feel the way you want them too. Hedgehog Aluminium are based at Sky House Design Centre in Amersham, Buckinghamshire and have all of our patio doors on show in their modern home showroom. Contact us to arrange a meeting and showroom visit today. 01494 722 882.