May 2020

One of the most powerful design tools in home design is connecting the living space with the outdoors or garden area. The key to success is to create as unified a space as possible between inside and outside. Your choice of glazing will play a critical role in the success of your design. The most popular glazing choices creating a seamless flow between inside and outside are aluminium bi-fold doors and sliding doors. Here are some of the key points to consider to help you decide which style of glazing is best for your home.

What is the purpose of a bifold door?

Even with weather as unpredictable as ours, the trend of treating outdoor spaces as additional living areas has become popular in recent years. When you extend your living space outside, you gain extra living space. By carrying the internal finishes outside, you create the illusion of both your internal and external spaces feeling larger.

Bi-fold doors will allow you to open up your living space entirely to your garden, but in Ireland, this isn’t something that we can do all year round. So, if you have your heart set on external bi-fold doors, you might like to consider introducing a form of roof covering externally. This can be anything from a pergola type structure to a more permanent roof. An external roof covering will make your outdoor space more usable throughout the year.

Folding doors are also a good solution where you don’t have another access door to your garden. With Bi-fold doors, you can use one of the panels as an access door for everyday use. This is particularly useful in winter or when the weather is bad, and you need to pop out to the garden for something. With Bi-folding doors, you have the option to have the doors opening into your space or opening outwards. They have a maximum sash or panel width of 1200mm and there is great flexibility in the way that the door leaves can stack. You can choose from all of them to stack to the left or all to the right or you can have a combination of both.

Sliding Doors

I’ve always tried to encourage clients to consider their outdoor space when planning a refurbishment or extension. Not only because the garden is what you will look out onto, but by connecting the two areas, you will be further extending your home.

Blurring the lines by continuing floor finishes, wall treatments and roof structures between inside and outside means that you can’t easily define where the one space ends and the other begins. Sliding doors are going to offer the most uninterrupted view of your outdoor space and ensure that the flow between inside and out is as seamless as possible. The sash or panel sizes are available up to 3 x 3 meters, making them a really attractive option for anyone trying to achieve a seamless look all year round.

Lift and slide doors are also very easy to use, you have the choice of a lever handle outside or a small finger-pull handle externally. The finger pull handle is a popular choice for external sliding doors as it gives a cleaner look outside. There is also good design flexibility with lift and slide doors, you can choose the number of sliding leaves that you want, and they come with a triple track option.

Features of both Bi-Fold and Sliding Doors

The thresholds can be sunk or recessed so that they are flush with the floor level for both sliding doors and bi-fold doors. This creates a smooth flow between inside and outside. It also means that you don’t need to worry about any potential trip hazards.

The frames for both glazing systems come in a wide variety of colours with all RAL colours being available. Both products are also available in double and triple glazing and come with toughened safety glass as standard. Where you are planning on using either product in a south or west-facing location, there are several glass options available to minimise overheating and reduce glare. There are also solutions such as laminated glass to block UV light. This will help to prevent sun damage and fading to floor finishes, upholstery and art works.

Speak to your local Senator expert about your window and door options today or browse our range of products here.


Denise O’Connor

Managing Director Optimise Design, B.Arch. RIAI RIBA
& Senator’s Expert Design Consultant
This blog post is sponsored, but the views expressed by the author are her own.

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