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The benefits of natural light in the home that everyone should know about

The benefits of natural light in the home that everyone should know about

natural light through window

There are physical, psychological and economic benefits to increasing the amount of natural light that enters your home.

It’s a big deal. Especially as more and more owners and buyers look for more ways to get more sun into their homes.

What are the benefits of natural sunlight?

Increased physical health

An undeniable fact is that natural sunlight positively affects the body.

The daylight maintains your body’s natural sleep cycle, controls your hormones that govern your bodily functions, lowers high blood pressure, improves brain function, and provides vitamin D which is important for your immune system.

Don’t just take our word for it though. Check out the netdoctor’s article on the dangers of too much artificial light on our health.

Basically, you need to get your daily dose of the sunshine vitamin.

Natural sunlight is economical

Increasing the amount of natural sunlight into your home means you can save your hard earned pennies.

With more sunlight pouring in to your home you’ll see a clear reduction of expenses as you need less artificial energy. You may previously have thought that installing bi-folds or sliding doors will mean more costs on energy bills to keep your house warm.

This is not the case! Aluminium bi-folding doors are actually proven to be highly energy efficient.

The psychological benefits

Everything feels better on a sunny day. The benefits the sunlight has on your productivity and attitude can be even more than the physical benefits. People are proven to be most productive when there is good level of sunlight.

Particularly when the winter months roll and the evenings become darker; it’s so important to utilise every second of daylight.

It’s been proven that the natural light also does wonders for our energy levels. It’s meant to keep your energy levels more stable throughout the day – so you can avoid the dreaded ‘crash’ later on.

Increase the amount of natural light in your home to maintain a positive attitude and make the most of your days.

How can I increase natural light in my home?

There is a way to increase the natural light which enters yours home – hooray!

You can experience the benefits of the sunshine throughout the months of the year by installing bi-fold doors or patio sliding doors. Whether your home is North, East, South or West facing, the light in your home can be increased.

By only having regular doors and windows you may be blocking the opportunity for more natural light. Bi-fold doors solve this issue with their carefully thought out design. The slim frame profile of the doors mean that the window surface area is a lot larger. The Aluminium frames also let in the most amount of sunlight.

Bi-folding doors can be perfect for rooms that don’t get much light, rooms which you’d like to enjoy more time in.

Does the direction my house faces matter?

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west in the UK. So, depending which way your house faces, there will be a difference in the amount of natural light which enters.

North-facing homes are lucky and tend to receive the most natural light during the day. On the other hand, owners of southern-facing homes will need to do everything they can to try and increase the amount of sunlight they receive.

Therefore, it’s important to consider where you will install bi-folding doors to maximise the amount of sunlight your house gets.

Find out how much natural light you could potentially get into your house with our guide to measuring the opening for your bi-folding door.

Increase the amount of natural light in your home for a happier and healthier household.

What’s the difference between Patio and French doors?

What’s the difference between Patio and French doors?

Patio Sliding Doors

In recent times, we’ve seen a number of people and even companies use the terms ‘patio doors’ and ‘french doors’ interchangeably. However, they offer some very important differences which is something you need to remember when searching the market. In order to clear the confusion, we’ve created a guide to the main differences and how you can decide which is best for your home.

Before we go into each one individually, we should note that ‘patio doors’ originally meant sliding doors. Over the years, the term (or at least the products the term covers) has changed drastically and it now seems to be the all-encompassing word for sliding doors and those that open into the living area or out onto the garden.

In fact, this even includes French doors and the bi-fold design. That being said, they all operate in different ways and this is why it’s important to differentiate between them.

What are patio doors?

Patio doors overlooking garden

Firstly, sliding patio doors are perfect for those with limited space because it opens up the available area. Rather than having a door intruding upon your living space, the sliding door doubles back on itself and therefore utilises the space you have available. Generally speaking, they come in a range of sizes from 1,600mm all the way over 4,000mm.

Since one half of the design stays in place while the other slides behind or in front, this does mean that 50% of the available space will always be covered. With doors that open inwards or outwards, you can open up the whole doorway and allow the sunshine or cool breeze to come through your home. As you can already see, there are benefits and drawbacks to both and this is why they suit different needs.

What are French doors?

French Doors in kitchen

Typically, French doors will be hinged before the opening, inwards or outwards, however required. Depending on the amount of space you have available, there may be one or two doors but it opens up fully with no restricted doorway as we saw with patio doors.

On the flip side, the average leaf size is 900mm and this will be your restriction in size. Therefore, even with double doors, you won’t be able to exceed 1,800mm unless you have some type of closed-off window or feature on either side.

If you have enough space, French doors can be a superb choice because they open the area fully. If you have children or friends over for BBQs in the summer, French doors wide open allowing the two areas to become one.

Why consider bi-folding sliding doors?

Bi-folding doors in a modern home
Before we head on to the main considerations , we should quickly note the decline of traditional patio doors. As folding sliding doors have started to enter the market a little more, it’s fair to say that patio doors have lost their spark. Why? The folding design offers the best of both worlds – the sliding feature and the ability to open up the whole doorway without needing to have a half blocked by a fixed section.

In addition to this, bi-folding doors still work perfectly for smaller homes because they’re quite an efficient solution. By folding in on itself, they take up very little room when open and they don’t disrupt your living areas.

Key considerations

With all this information in mind, all that’s left to do is see what’s best for your home:

Design

Although this is perhaps the most obvious consideration of all, it still deserves a place on this list. What kind of design do you prefer? If your property has traditional architecture, French doors may be a little better since they offer more intricate details.

On the other hand, you may prefer to have a bi-folding sliding door to fit into your modern home and decor. Nowadays, the frames and colours of each are vast, so take your time to research and look for designs you like.

Budget

In truth, the overall cost of your project will largely depend on the opening you have available. When considering the cost per square metre alone, up to 20% can be saved with sliding patio doors (as long as it’s above 1,800mm). Compared to French doors, it becomes more cost-effective at greater sizes because the manufacturing methods and hardware are less demanding. If you remember, going above 1,800mm with French doors also requires side panels or windows as well as the two doors which will soon push the cost higher than your budget.

Performance

As well as opening nicely for your home, you should also think about how well the doors will keep the heat inside and this comes from double glazing and the thickness of the glass. With toughened glass complying with BSE 12600 and 12150, it shouldn’t let heat escape or the cold inside which will be important in the winter months. If more warmth stays in your living room or lounge, you won’t need to have the heating on for so long and this can save you money in the years ahead.

Luckily, both French doors and patio doors offer double glazing and toughened glass, so make sure you ask the supplier or check for the toughened glass mark, which is normally found in one of the corners.

Security

Despite probably being located at the rear of your home, let’s not forget this will be where potential burglars try to get in. Therefore, security plays a huge role in this decision and there are certain features you should look out for with each.

  • French Doors – You will need multi-point locks, cover splines over the rebate gap (weakest part of the door), anti-bump cylinders for lock barrels, and opening restrictors (these can be installed by yourself).
  • Patio Doors – Multi-point locks with security hooks, anti-bump cylinder, anti-lift devices, drop bolts, and toughened glass.

Our verdict

As long as you keep these considerations in mind, you shouldn’t have a problem making the right decision for your property. Remember, assess your budget, the space you have available, whether a folding sliding door is an option, performance and thermal loss, and security.

Once you’re ready to go ahead, or if you have other questions, you can check our our FAQs or drop us a message. We can assess your situation and recommend the very best solution for now and the years ahead.

5 proven ways to add value to your home

5 proven ways to add value to your home

Living room

There are many reasons why you’d like to increase the value of your home. Maybe you want to work your way up the property ladder by improving the home you already have, or you simply need to accommodate for a growing family.

There are a few improvements you can make that will make your life more comfortable, and ensure better return should you decide to sell your home in the future.

Check out these five proven ways that will help you maximise the value of your home:

1. Convert your basement and loft

Loft conversion remains the most popular and easy ways of increase the space and number of bedrooms in your home.These also happen to be the changes that add the most value.

According to a report by Nationwide, adding an extra bedroom and a bathroom can add 20% onto the value to your house if you’re located in London. For the rest of the UK that’s between 10%-15%.

Basements can be more difficult to convert as you need to involve specialists to do the planning and the work, as lot of structural work is likely to be involved.

2. Build an extension

Adding extra space is pretty much the main factor that can increase the price of your house. So, once you’ve exhausted all the options of expanding on the inside, you can move onto building outdoor extension.

In most cases, that’s a conservatory which is connected to your house with bi-folding or sliding doors and a flush floor. Alternatively, you can forget about the doors and keep it open plan. A conservatory can increase your home’s value by 12%.

There are a couple of things to consider before undertaking an extension project. It’s a good practice to keep its style similar to the rest of the house. If you your property is a listed building you might not be able to make any changes to it.

3. Bridge the gap between your home and garden

Open space is another factor that influences the price of your home. Knocking down walls to be replaced with bi-folding or sliding doors make rooms feel larger, increase natural light and look a lot more modern. You can expect between 3%-5% increase in value with these changes.

Installation is usually within a couple of weeks and it’s relatively disruption-free. Once you’ve opened up your home to the outdoors, you wouldn’t want to go back. You can even install decking which will make it even better.

Energy efficiency if a big factor which buyers consider when looking for a new house. And the good thing about such doors is that all of the benefits they bring don’t raise the energy cost as they’re are very energy efficient.

4. Renovate the interior and exterior

Start with your walls, give them a lick of paint, this will refresh the atmosphere of the rooms. Old wooden doors can be sanded down and painted again to achieve this same fresh new look.

People spent most of their time in the living room and kitchen, so make sure neither look dated (unless that’s the style you’re going for of course). Repaint the kitchen cupboards, replace cracked or broken tiles and look for any other small imperfections that can ruin the overlook look and feel of the room. A well-maintained interior can add up to 5% on to the value of your home.

And it may seem like common sense, but don’t go wild with the changes – the renovation should follow the style of your property. If it’s meant to have wooden windows, don’t install metal. You don’t want to lose the authenticity of the property.

5. Repair outstanding structural problems

It goes without saying that if your house requires a lot of additional work after it’s purchased, this will knock thousands of its price.

Not to mention that buyers will be in a good negotiating position. So, inspect the house and address any structural issues which you might have been putting off or have never noticed.

Ensure there are no roof leaks or sagging areas and replace broken or cracked tiles. Old or rotten flooring needs to be addresses as one of the first things new buyers do is replace the carpets.

Inspect the house for damp and mould and put in under control. Along with the cosmetic and structural changes, it’s worth looking into the electrics and plumbing for any issues. All of these can add significant value to your house, and increase the chances of selling it at a good price.

There you have it, if you follow the tips above you’ll be sure to set your house apart from all the others, improve your lifestyle and earn more money from it when you decide to sell it.

How to clean and maintain bi-fold doors

How to clean and maintain bi-fold doors

Person washing bifolding doors

Whilst installing bi-fold doors can add a unique look to your home, many people aren’t sure of how to keep them clean and how to prolong their longevity.

Of course, it’s easy to see grubby fingerprints on the window but what about the frame itself and even the lock?

Read our all-inclusive guide answering the most common questions and providing you with superb cleaning tips.

How often should I clean them?

First and foremost, allowing debris to build up on the tracks can be damaging because the doors won’t have the same mobility as before. Therefore, you should check them regularly; especially in the summer months where they’ll be open far more often.

As long as you keep an eye on the tracks and clean them every so often, they should continue working just fine. In extreme circumstances, like if you’re located close to the sea, we recommend using fresh water to clean around once a week to remove all salt.

How should I clean the tracks?

To start, we recommend using a vacuum to remove all excess debris from the tracks. By using the nozzle, you should be able to get deep into the tracks and pull all dirt, dust, and other debris from within.

In terms of maintenance, many experts advise using lubricant where the guide disks and wheels connect as this allows the door to move freely and smoothly.

How about cleaning the glass?

If you were to type this question into a search engine, you would quickly reach fifty different “wives’ tales” from fifty different people. However, we believe the best solution is found in the tools rather than the product.

With kitchen towels, you’ll quickly see streaks so why not invest in a squeegee or microfiber cloth? This being said, we’ve seen a significant number of people claim the brilliance of scrunched up paper.

When researching this topic, you’re likely to find vinegar water as well as soapy water but there are some problems with these. Whilst the former can be effective, it will leave a vinegary smell around the door; for the latter, streaks are common and lead to frustration.

Regardless of your chosen method, remember to remove all hand jewelry and ensure the water doesn’t run into the frame too much.

Cleaning the frames

In truth, the frames of your bi-folding doors don’t need too much attention. As long as you give them a wipe with warm water (and a little detergent), they should stay looking good for a long time. Sometimes, people are tempted to use heavy-duty products but this isn’t necessary and you can actually end up causing damage to the frame as well as the finish.

If you see a stain that won’t budge, first contact your supplier for the best advice. This being said, many report ink rubbers as being a fine solution; within seconds, you’ll see whether or not it’s working, so don’t keep scrubbing if nothing happens.

Maintaining the locks

Once you’ve sorted the tracks, glass, and frames, you’re left with the one thing forgotten by most – the locks. For us, we believe lubricating oil to be the best solution as it will keep the whole mechanism smooth and free from debris.

After applying a small amount of oil to the lock and key, insert the key a number of times to make sure the oil reaches all the key areas.

There we have it, everything you need to keep your bi-folding door clean and healthy both now and long into future. By following this advice, not only will your doors look good but you’ll be extending their life too!

5 benefits of installing bi-folding doors in your house

5 benefits of installing bi-folding doors in your house

Home with bi-folding doors

Bi-folding doors are a great addition to any home. Apart from the range of practical benefits, bi-folds give a sense of luxury, bring comfort and make your living space more convenient.

Although they are not as popular as French or Sliding Doors, bi-folding doors are becoming more and more popular among homeowners. And they’ve made quite a few appearances on Grand Designs.

So, why should you choose to install bi-folding doors? Here are the benefits they bring to your home and garden:

1. Compact and aesthetically pleasing profile

Compact bi-folding door set up

Over the years bi-folding doors have become a lot slimmer and less conspicuous. Thanks to innovation in the materials used, the frames today are smaller, yet still very strong. And because the doors fold, they take a lot less space when opened.

This allows them to open up an entire wall, which isn’t really possible with sliding patio doors. The doors neatly fold away to the edge of the frame. Your home will benefit from maximum visibility and unmatched convenient garden access.

2. Allow for more natural light

Bright room with bi-folding doors

Due to their slim frame profile, the window surface is a lot larger, meaning they allow far more light into the room than any other window or door.

Even when closed there’s little in the way of light, so there isn’t really a compromise. And obviously when opened the space is astounding, with nothing obstructing natural daylight.

Bi-folding doors can be perfect for rooms that don’t get much light, rooms which you’d like to enjoy more time in.

3. Superior security and safety

Secure bi-folding doors at home

Although bi-folds may seem fragile and not very strong due to the fact they literally replace a brick wall with glass, they are very secure. So much so, that bi-folds are widely used by businesses in commercial environments.

The security elements which they have include multi-point locks, robust frames secure with heavy duty hinges, and in some cases, laminated triple glazed glass.

The glass is tougher to break and the doors can’t be levered off the hinges. All that makes break ins very difficult and is likely to put off burglars.

4. Add value to your home

Aesthetically pleasing bi-folding doors

It’s always nice to know that your home increase in value over time, even if you don’t plan on selling it. It’s certainly something to consider when planning your next home renovation project.

Bi-folding doors can fit any style house, from old Victorian homes to modern, even minimal, home styles that have become so popular these days.

Their simplicity and practicality can enhancing the way you live at home. Bi-folding doors brighten up dark spaces and create seamless access to your garden, blending the inside with the outside.

5. Low maintenance but highly durable

Easy-to-maintain bi-folding doors

Bi-folding doors, especially the ones made of aluminium, can withstand temperature changes throughout the year. Neither the cold nor the hot weather can warp or bend the frames. Bi-folding doors are highly thermally efficient and can withstand strong gust of wind as well.

And all that doesn’t come at a cost, because folding doors are easy to maintain. Their lifespan can be prolonged by just simple occasional wash down and a dash of oil.

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How thermally efficient are bi-folding doors?

How thermally efficient are bi-folding doors?

Bi-folding doors opened in garden

If you’re just starting out with your research into bi-folding doors, it’s normal to have some reservations about the insulation they can provide. After all, you’re replacing a brick wall with, essentially, glass.

So, can bi-folding doors be as thermally efficient as a solid material like brick? The short answer is ‘yes’, but it depends on a few factors – energy rating, u-value, material and glazing.

How do you avoid buying draughty units which will ruin your winter? We explain everything you need to know, so you can make a more informed decision when buying your bi-folding doors.

What is U-value and what does it measure?

The U-value measures how well a building material insulates a building – the higher the U-value the poorer the insulation is of that material.

The U-value of a doors is essential to making a decision when buying bi-folding doors, as that’s what will determine the rate of heat transmission. Usually, manufacturers advertise the U-value of the centre pane as that’s where it’s most likely to be lowest. However, what you should be looking at is the overall U-value.

The current U-value regulation in the UK is set by the Government and is at 1.8W/(m2K). Meaning every building material shouldn’t exceed that threshold.

There are three different measurements you should be aware of:

  • Uf – thermal transmittance of the frame
  • Ug – thermal transmittance of the glazing
  • Uw – thermal transmittance of the whole window (incl. glazing and frame)

How energy efficient are bi-folding doors?

The British Fenestration Ratings Council (BFRC) scheme, the UK’s systems for measuring energy efficiency of windows and doors, applies to bi-folds, so consumers can better understand what they’re buying and what to expect.

The rating goes from A to G and is very similar to the ratings you’d find on household items, such as fridges or washing machines – with A rating being the highest.

Aluminium bi-folding doors are highly energy efficient:

  • They have thermal breaks which stop heat from being transferred in and out of your home
  • They can be fitted with high performance glass, usually 24, 28 and 32mm in sizes
  • You can opt for argon gas filled glazed units
  • They’re tested on the basis of wind and water tightness

Our aluminium doors with triple glazed units can achieve U-values of as low as 1.32 W/(m2K) which is a lot lower than the Government standard. This way you know the bi-folding doors you’re buying provide an optimum temperature regardless of weather conditions.

The Window Energy Rating (WER) is also something consider, it’s an accreditation given by the BFRC. It rates the energy efficiency of the glazing using the same A to G rating. It measures how weatherproof windows are – heat and sound insulation and how well it manages condensation.