While most people dream of one day having a house in the famous Hollywood Hills, few are actually able to make the dream come true. Aside from the fact that only movie stars and celebrities usually live there, the high cost of living is enough to make even the wealthiest individuals turn their nose up.
That being said, there’s no reason why you can’t bring the feel and flavor of beautiful oceanside Southern Cali living to your own home- no matter where you live! Bi-fold door systems are probably one of the best ways to accomplish this. High-quality manufacturers allow their clients to design their own door panels from the ground-up with custom colors, custom wood species (or more modern materials), and a wide range of glass customization options.
By the time you’re done with your new folding door system, your house will look completely different. It’s 2020 and it’s time you ditched those old-fashioned swing doors and 1960s-style sliding doors!
The Folding Door Revolution
Today’s modern folding door systems originated in beautiful SoCal where luxury home designers wanted to find a way to improve residents’ view of the scenic oceanside environment. The only problem was that up until then, glass wasn’t exactly the most efficient material and a large glass door system would only serve to jack up homeowners’ energy costs.
With today’s modern energy-saving technology, though, these futuristic-looking doors are no longer just a sci-fi fantasy. Anybody can buy a set of custom-designed doors to fit both small and large openings. So whether you’re looking for a simple and attractive interior door or room divider, or you want a large-scale exterior patio door or showroom door, you can make your dream come true.
Accordion Doors Vs. Patio Sliding Doors
As folding door systems have become more popular, many of the same companies have also made efforts to innovate the boring old-school sliding doors as well.
Bi-Fold Doors For Patios
In today’s post, we’re primarily focused on bi-fold patio door systems. As we mentioned, these systems can be used to create beautiful interior/closet doors. However, one of the most popular applications of folding doors is for the exterior. Few home decor items can make an impact to your living area the way that these impressive doors can.
Since the doors will be located outside (at least partially), you’ll need to make sure that they can stand up to the elements and provide the energy efficiency that you’re looking for. Below, we’ll discuss some of the key technical specifications that you’ll need to be aware of when shopping for a patio folding door.
Patio Door Glass Options
Since these doors are 90% glass and 10% supporting hardware/door frame, the type and quality of glass you choose are important.
With the cost of electricity steadily rising, you want to ensure that your new home renovation isn’t going to cost you in the long run. Thankfully, with today’s high-tech low-emissivity glass (low-e for short), you won’t have to worry about it. In addition to keeping the hot sun out, you’ll also be able to keep cold air out as well!
Low-e glass systems typically involve coating the glass panels with a layer of reflective coating to prevent the majority of UV and infrared rays from coming through. The rays that do manage to get past the reflective coating then have to pass through a layer of Argon gas that fills the vacuum space between the two sheets of glass. Argon naturally regulates the temperature of anything passing through.
To sum it all up, low-emissivity glass, when combined with modern glazing, keeps your interior the temperature you want it and keeps everything else out.
While most customers usually opt for the usual transparent glass panes, some people want a little bit more privacy when their folding door system is closed. If you’re this type, then you’ll be able to choose from a wide range of custom privacy glass options that still allow light to pass through, but prevent outsiders from being able to see inside.
Visual transparency not enough for you? Like to throw loud parties in your living room? Have a drumset that you like to play at midnight?
Many folding door companies also offer the option of soundproof glass to their clients as well. This is usually accomplished by using thicker glass or by applying a sound deadening film to the surface of the glass.
Best Folding Patio Door Material
Although glass is the most important part of the deal, the type of material that you select for the doorframe of your folding patio doors is worth paying attention to as well. Since these doors will have to bear the brunt of whatever the outside weather throws at them, you’ll want to make sure that you choose a high-quality material for your specific geographic location and climate.
Aluminum is the industry standard for folding door systems. It’s both strong and lightweight and has one of the best strength-to-weight ratios in the manufacturing world. That’s why they use it to make airplanes.
The aluminum used to make folding doors isn’t just any old sheet metal though- it’s thermally-broken aluminum. This means that the interior surface of the aluminum is coated with a polymer break. This thin layer of synthetic polymer coating the aluminum door stiles prevents heat from transferring across the otherwise conductive metal.
Wood bi-fold doors are some of the most attractive on the market. You’ll usually be able to select from a range of hardwoods including pine wood, oak, or mahogany (just to name a few). Solid core wood is naturally an excellent thermal insulator and actually outperforms thermally-broken aluminum. However, it does require a bit of extra maintenance.
PVC or Vinyl
Vinyl is commonly used for cheaper folding door systems. While the material is affordable and lightweight, it’s not able to withstand severe weather. It’s a perfectly fine choice if you live in a moderate climate, but if your location is prone to strong winds and coastal storms, you may want to go with the solid wood or aluminum for your multi-point folding doors.
If you’re ready to start living the true patio life, then folding doors are one of the best home renovations you can do. Sure, you may not be in the position to move into the Hollywood Hills, but there’s no reason why you can’t live like a rockstar where you’re at!