July 2021

It took a pandemic to get us to embrace the idea of outdoor living. Over the last 15 months, many people have embraced their gardens as additional rooms, viewing them as a space to live in rather than just somewhere to go when the weather is fine. The addition of a patio area can provide the ideal space to entertain, relax and spend time. The key to success is to create as unified a space between inside and outside as possible. Choosing the right doors to access the patio is critical to ensuring the flow is as seamless as possible. Here is an overview of 4 of the most popular choices for patio doors to help you decide which style is right for you.

What’s the difference between French doors and patio doors?

uPVC Patio Doors

It wasn’t easy for years to get people to allocate some of the renovation budget to the outdoor space until recently. But you get so much more from a renovation when you think about both areas together. When you extend your living space outside, you gain additional living space. By choosing glazed patio doors, you create the illusion of your internal and external spaces feeling larger.

pvc patio doors

uPVC is the most cost-effective option for patio doors, making them an ideal choice if you are working to a budget. A uPVC patio door will offer excellent energy efficiency, and there’s a wide range of colours available to choose from.

uPVC French Doors

French doors are the ideal choice if you’re looking to create a more traditional look for your home. You will have a choice of door styles to choose from and lots of options for colours. When choosing your window colours, do think about the external finishes of your home. It’s essential that the colour you choose compliments your patio and wall finishes.

upvc french doors

When looking for outdoor patio ideas, look for images with a house style similar to your own. Take note of the colour of the frames for the patio doors and the different finishes for the patio to help you build up a colour palette and scheme for your patio. Plan where your dining table will go and where any seating would be. Think about where the sun is and what area suits what function best. Thinking about your patio as if it was a room in your home will help you create a more cohesive design for your outdoor space.

What is a Lift and Slide Patio Door/Aluminium Sliding Door?

Aluminium offers very slender frames and large sizes of glazing panels that are suited to more contemporary designs such as floor to ceiling sliding doors. Lift and slide doors are very easy to use. You have the choice of a lever handle outside or a small finger-pull handle externally. There is also good design flexibility with lift and slide doors, you can choose the number of sliding leaves you want, and they come with a triple track option.

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

Aluminium Folding Doors/Bifold Doors

Bi-fold doors will allow you to open up your living space entirely to your garden. In Ireland, our weather prohibits using a patio all year round. One solution to overcome this is to introduce a form of roof covering externally. This could be a pergola or a more solid structure like a glazed canopy.

aluuminuim bifold doors
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. You have the option to have the doors opening into your space or opening outwards.

The frames 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. As with Aluminium sliding patio doors, the thresholds can be sunk or recessed so that they are to create a smooth flow between inside and outside.


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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