Who doesn’t love the wide-open look of a panoramic folding door system strategically placed in a large opening in order to take full advantage of the evening sunset? You’ve probably seen them in Hollywood films, high-end music videos, and episodes of MTV Cribs. Perhaps, you’ve even been to a friend’s house who was lucky enough to have a set of high-quality folding patio doors.
Once you’ve experienced the scenic views, wonderful fresh air, and extra sunlight, it can be hard going back to the simple sliding doors and swing doors back home.
Chances are if you’re reading this article right now, it’s safe to say that you’re in the market for a new set of energy-efficient bi-fold glass doors. If so, this article is going to cover one of the primary concerns of residential homeowners purchasing accordion doors- Privacy.
All-Glass Bi-Fold Doors
An all-glass folding door is great and all, but what if you have nosey neighbors or paparazzi jumping fences to get the perfect picture? Okay, maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but depending on where your bi-fold door system is located, privacy still may be important to you- especially in a crowded neighborhood or downtown city environment.
Privacy And Accordion Doors
If your privacy is important to you, the easiest option is just to install a curtain or retractable shade around the door opening. Today’s high-tech screens and shades can be fully automated and even controlled by smart systems in your home or from your cellular device.
The only problem with shades and screens is that they don’t allow a lot of light through. This can defeat the purpose of having large glass door panels.
If you still want to take advantage of the light, but you’re not willing to give up your privacy, your next best option is to explore more glass options.
Glazed Glass Options For Privacy
Today’s energy-efficient glass manufacturing involves utilizing modern glass glazing techniques, Argon-filled glass windows, and low-e coatings in order to improve the energy efficiency of these folding doors. All of this technology is designed to regulate your living area’s temperature by keeping the climate consistent.
However, you’re not just limited to clear glass. Depending on the manufacturer you’re working with, you’ll be able to choose between a wide range of different glass finishes. These finishes not only give you a little extra privacy, but they can also compliment the thermally-broken aluminum, stainless steel, or solid wood door frame and stiles. You can’t go wrong by combining style and efficiency.
Below, we’ve listed some of the most popular glass finishes in ascending order. The first item is the clearest, and the last item is the most opaque and impossible to see through. These finishes can be added to most bi-fold door systems without compromising durability or strength.
A reed finish is a popular choice for those who are looking for a little bit of privacy but still want to make sure that they’re getting plenty of light. The surface of the glass will appear to have oblong bubbles in it that are shaped like a reed. While you could place this over the entire surface of your folding door system, you could also choose to apply the finish to an individual panel such as your main entry/exit door for styling reasons.
You know that classic look of raindrops falling down a glass window? Well, with a rain finish, you’ll experience just that. The surface of the glass will have an overall foggy appearance with small bits of clear bubbles that let in extra light.
This finish is very common for interior doors used inside closet doors, restrooms, pools, gyms, and showers. They’re almost completely opaque and difficult to see through, but they still let a fair amount of light in. The surface of the glass appears to have a cracked look to it, but don’t be afraid- it’s just a visual effect.
If you want maximum privacy, then a sandblasted finish is the most opaque option at your disposal. While people on the other side of the door may still be able to see faint shadows, they won’t be able to make out any clear figures or shapes.
Bi-Fold Door Systems And Soundproofing
But what about the noise?
You could have the highest quality glass finish in the market, but without soundproofing, then all of your secrets would be out of the bag. Soundproofing is most commonly seen in folding door systems that are used in offices or residential homes where the hoemowners like to crank the music up.
Another common application is in the city where many residents use soundproofing to drown out the sound of cars and honking horns from the streets below.
One of the simplest ways to make a room more soundproof is to make the glass thicker or add an additional pane of glass. Commercial-grade soundproofing often involves using triple-glazd glass to reduce sound transfer. Although this can make the door panels heavier, it’s worth it if audio privacy is a big deal do you.
Sound Deadening Film
If you’re looking for a more simple solution, you could add sound deadening film to the surface of the glass and the door stiles. This thin layer of film is almost invisible to the human eye, but is able to significantly reduce the majority of sound attempting to pass through from either side.
Door Frame Materials And Sound
Depending on the wood species you get, wood often provides the best natural soundproofing. However, when sound deadening film is applied right, an aluminum or PVC/Vinyl folding door can be just as soundproof as a solid core wood bi-fold door.
Just because you’re installing a large glass folding door in your home or business doesn’t mean that you have to give up your personal privacy! With today’s high-tech glass glazing and finishing, you’ll never have to worry about unwanted eyes peering in. When combined with modern sound dampening films, you can create an environment of complete quiet.