The desire to create a larger, lighter, living space is at the top of most people’s home improvement wish list and as such, the popularity of bi-fold doors has massively increased over the last few years. The bi-fold door has come a long way since the patio door of the 1990s. Today’s version of the glass sliding door is both beautiful, energy efficient, secure and can be maintenance free. Imagine the ability to open up your kitchen or living room space on to your patio or garden with doors that fully retract, and with the option of a flush track you can achieve that seamless look between the inside and outside space.
As the popularity of bi-fold doors increases, so does the amount of information and choices available to the consumer – and it can be mind boggling. The reality is that there are many so-called brands in the market such as Schuco, Beaufort, Smart, SAPA, … the list goes on, however, they are just that, brands, they are not specialists in any one thing, nor do they actually manufacture any products. A Schuco Bi-fold door, for example, will be made up of parts from several manufacturers although only part of the framework has actually originated from that company.
Furthermore, the end product is installed by non-specialised window fitters who may not fully appreciate the lack of tolerance involved in ensuring that the door performs to its optimum level.
The nature of a bi-folding sliding door means that its ability to perform is severely affected by its quality. The long term running of the door is obviously the most important factor however, there are other factors to be considered. With the large volume of glass replacing cavity walls, the thermal efficiency and weather protection needs to be seriously considered. Whilst claims of ‘high quality’, ‘superb thermal performance’ and ‘the best weather ratings’ are often stated, these are very rarely backed up with any technical information to prove or substantiate them.
Due to the fact that these ‘systems’ are produced by so many different fabricators, barely any of the limited certification that exists is actually applicable to the product you are getting because they have not undergone the same manufacturing techniques as those tested. When reading a testing certificate, you must also be aware of what it is actually stating. Testing a product is one thing, the product actually passing is another!
The common law of business balance states: “There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey.”
This statement could not be truer in the modern day and couldn’t apply any more than it does in the glazing world.
If you’re looking for a quality Bi-Folding Door or Sliding Glass Door, please visit our Bi-Fold Doors page for an introduction to Solarlux’s comprehensive range of products.
If you’d like to discuss your project in more detail, please call us or make an appointment to visit our showroom and see the products for yourself.
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June 2020 Guildford, Surrey