Double Glazed Patio Doors

2018 Guide to Double Glazed Patio Doors for Your Home

Maybe you have a nice garden area at the back of the house and want to enjoy the view more, or maybe you have a rear room that lacks some natural light.

If so, then fitting a brand new set of double glazed patio doors is the ideal solution.

Guaranteed to bring in the light and improve your view, buying double glazed patio doors for the back of the house is so popular it’s virtually a home improvement national pastime here.

So, to give you a good idea of the types of patio doors in the current market, here is our 2018 Guide to Double Glazed Patio Doors for Your Home. Covering things such as what they look like, how they work, and, of course, how much they cost.

What are the different double glazed patio door designs available?

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There are really only 3 types of double glazed patio door design in the market. Each one operates in a very different way and also vary in terms of visual appearance and those are:

  • French Patio Doors.
  • Bifold Patio Doors.
  • Sliding Patio Doors (inline).

Not all of the doors work best in every circumstance and as a general rule of thumb you can work on the following assumptions:

  • Smaller openings can use Bifold & French door designs. Inline sliding doors may impair access.
  • Medium sized openings can suit all three types of patio door.
  • Larger openings can be best suited to Bifold or Sliding patio doors.
Double Glazed Patio Doors

Patio doors open up your view

The main reasons for sliding doors being less well suited to smaller openings is that the door panels only slide side to side within the frame and overlap each other. This means that you effectively only have 50% of the doorway clear on a 2 panel installation.

French doors swing out of the way when opened, and Bifold door panels stack to the sides out of the way when opened, giving almost 100% clear entry for both designs.

French doors struggle with larger openings because the maximum width of each door is going to hit a manageable limit in terms of practicality and design. It’s going to be very awkward to open and close a single swinging door that is more than 1000mm wide. So that means they will probably work best in openings up to around 2 metres or so. To cope with wider openings, you will need to add side panels.

For sliding or Bifold patio doors, there is no specific limit to how wide an opening you can use them in. It’s simply a matter of using more panels to cover the width available.

If you are having a patio door installed where the glass area reaches floor level, you should be using toughened safety glass – see UK building regulations here: UK Planning Portal.

Construction Materials

  • UPVC: A lightweight and long lasting polymer that is a low cost option. Available in up to 20 colours and woodgrain effect.
  • Aluminium: Also very strong & lightweight allowing for thinner frames to be used in the design. Up to 150+ RAL powder coat colour finishes, including wood-grain.
  • Timber: Softwood patio doors with hardwood veneers are particularly attractive, although they require more TLC than Aluminium or UPVC. Pure Hardwood or engineered wood options are also in the market.

Double Glazed French Patio Doors.

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This design is made up of 2 doors fitted side by side within a single outer frame, really speaking it’s a set of double doors. The doors open from the centre just like a regular door. Both doors can be opened to enjoy the fresh air and the view, but if the weather is not so good, then one door can be operated independent of the other. One of the doors has to be the primary door (the one that opens 1st) and it can be either the left or the right.

UPVC French Patio DoorsMost installations are fitted to have the doors open out, but if you like, they can be fitted to open in. In my personal view, I feel that an inward opening exterior door is less secure than an outward opening door. Due mainly to the fact that inward opening doors can be “barged-in” by an unwanted guest. You can’t do that if the doors open outwards.

The favored styling is that of having the door feature Astragal bars or Georgian bars. The bars give a lattice effect to the glazed area. The difference between Astragal and Georgina bars is that Astragal bars are fitted to the surface of the double glazed units (inside & out), whereas most Georgian bars are “inserts”, which is where the lattice is contained within the sealed units.

Both of the above are decorative options, not structural. You could, of course have the door made to feature actual individual glass panels if you want.

Bars of any type are not compulsory and full length double glazed French doors are readily available in the market. Personally, I think a proper French door looks better with bars, it gives it far more character.

How much do double glazed UPVC French patio doors cost?

 Basic Specification Supply only

Door size (mm)
1900 x 2100 uPVC White from £700
1900 x 2100 Oak Wood-grain from £950
1900 x 2100 uPVC Grey from £950
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Double Glazed Bifold Patio Doors.

The unique feature of Bifold designs is the way that they open and close. Once the locks are released the doors can be moved to the sides of the opening. As they open, each door leaf folds towards the other and forms a “stack” at the side of the door frame. The stack can be set to sit inside or outside the room.

Double Glazed Bifold Patio Doors

Double Glazed Bifold Patio Doors.

One very convenient feature is that one of the panels can be fitted so that it can operate independently of all the others and open like a regular door. This is extremely useful for easy entry or exit without having to open the full set of doors each time you go in or out.

The doors themselves are set on rollers slotted into either overhead or floor level tracks. The weight can be borne by the overhead track or by the ground level track. In the case of top hung Bifold doors, you need to ensure the overhead track is securely fitted to a load bearing beam or lintel. These doors are heavy and you do not want the fixings to fail due to fatigue or insufficient capacity.

Low threshold options are also very trendy and also an important feature to allow ease of access to those persons who are less able bodied. With a floor level or rebated threshold, the line between the inside and outside of the home is blurred even further when the doors are open. However, only fit low level thresholds that are completely wind & water proof.

How much do double glazed Bifold patio doors cost?

 Panel count Frame Material Price range
2 panel hardwood veneer  £1,200 supply only
3 panel uPVC  £1,400 supply only
4 panel  uPVC  circa £4,000 fitted
4 panel  Aluminium clad  circa £4,500 fitted
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Double Glazed Sliding Patio Doors.

(Inline sliding patio doors)

Sliding patio doors sometimes get referred to as bypass patio doors, but most of us just call them good old patio doors. Over the years the sliding patio door has maintained a huge level of popularity.

They are simple in design, relatively easy to install and there is nothing much to go wrong with them.

Grey & Black Sliding Patio Doors

Grey & Black Sliding Patio Doors

Each door panel is fitted into a guide track of its own and the doors simply slide inline along the track to open or close. As the doors move, they bypass each other in their relative tracks (hence the name bypass doors!).

The weight is borne by the lower track and the doors can be fitted with rollers to make them easier to handle.

As briefly mentioned above, the sliding doors themselves will reduce the amount of clear entry / exit, simply because they stay within the frame and don’t swing or fold out of the way like the other designs. For most homeowners, this is not a really big issue, but if you particularly want to have the maximum clear opening, then Bifold patio doors are your best bet.

As an explanation, with a 2 panel door, both the panels will sit at one side or the other when opened, only leaving around half of the overall door width free and clear. For 3 doors it will leave around two thirds clear if all 3 doors slide to one side.

How much do UPVC double glazed sliding patio doors cost?

Door type  Approx size (mm)  Price range
 White UPVC 2 panel   2200 x 2200  £700 to £900
 Wood effect UPVC 2 panel    2200 x 2200 £1,000 to £1,350
 White UPVC 3 panel  3000 x 2200 £1,100 to £1,300
 White UPVC 4 panel  3500 x 2200 £1,200 to £1,500
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About Installing patio doors to your home.

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There are a few often encountered scenarios where someone is considering fitting a set of patio doors and each is very different in terms of workload and cost.

The first and simplest is where an existing set of doors is being replace with a new set. This is clearly just a case of choosing the design you like, taking the old ones out and fitting the new.

In this case, the guide prices above can give you a rough idea of the expected cost.

Secondly, there are a lot of folks who have a wide regular window but want to replace it with a patio door. This, in a nutshell, will involve removing the existing window, breaking down the wall underneath the window to floor level and then fitting the doors and making good.

In this scenario you will need to allow for the extra expense of the building work.

Thirdly, is the scenario where either there is a small window where you wish to have the new patio door or there is a solid wall and you need to create a new opening.

Much the same as in the second case, you will need to take into the account of the construction work.

The added complication in this instance is that an overhead load bearing beam, or lintel, will need to be installed. This can be a complex task and need only to be undertaken after a proper survey and carried out by experienced professionals.

Whichever is the situation for you, should you want to find out the actual cost of fitting double glazed patio doors for your home, then we have access to a nationwide panel of professional installers and can arrange for them to provide you with free written quotations for your project.

Just take a minute or two to send us a few details about your proposed work. Just let us know how to contact you and we will get onto it straight away – simply click the button to go to our quote request form.

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