Sliding or folding?

Appearance, practicality and performance should be front of mind when choosing the right door system to suit your individual project.

Introducing floor-to-ceiling glass doors into the home opens up the property, giving year-round natural light, fresh air and abundant views. With aluminium systems from Reynaers Aluminium, you don’t need to worry about thermal insulation as its extensive range boasts high-performance products that will keep your building warm, and could even save energy.
Not only that, but sliding patio doors and folding patio doors are available to suit all design and functional requirements. In this article, we explain the most important things to consider when choosing the right type of doors for your project.

The opening and the view
When looking at different types of doors, it’s worth noting that folding doors open up about 90% of the total frame size or aperture, whereas sliding patio doors by comparison typically open 50-65%. When the doors are closed, however, sliding doors offer the most uninterrupted views as they consist of fewer, wider door leaves with bigger panes of glass. Folding doors have more door leaves, each with a frame around them, so there will be more visible lines.

WOW factor
Sliding patio doors are available in a multitude of configurations that offer a lot of design freedom.  Our ingenious open-corner solution for example features two perpendicular doors that slide open away from a corner that has no fixed post.  This feature results in a cantilevered ceiling that appears to float, and truly removes barriers between internal and external spaces.  A pocket solution allows you to slide the opening vent into a wall cavity, making the sliding panes invisible when the door is opened.

Design options
Adaptability due to the many different configurations is a key advantage of sliding doors, but folding doors offer the luxury of being able to fold back the whole wall, helping to create that seamless transition between home and garden.
Folding doors offer a choice between different configurations: either fold all the leaves back against a single wall, or split the leaves so they stack on both sides.  You can also choose whether the leaves open inwards or outwards. The advantage of the doors opening outwards is that if the doors are wet after rain, they can be opened without the rainwater dripping onto the carpet or wooden floor.
Of course a sliding door needs no such considerations as they open and close along the track; though you can choose which doors slide and which are fixed.

Threshold options
The type of threshold you have will also impact the overall look of the door. A flush threshold, whereby there is a continuous floor with no step between inside and outside, gives the smoothest appearance. However, flush thresholds are not suitable in all situations, as air-, wind-, water tightness tends to be lower for this option. Doors in more exposed locations may benefit from a slightly raised threshold to provide the best weather ratings. Reynaers Aluminium’s folding doors come with a choice of four different threshold heights, so the doors can be specified to meet the needs of your particular project.

There are a number of folding door designs to choose from, including several that incorporate a traffic door. Typically found when there is an odd number of door leaves, traffic doors are single leaves that operate like a ‘normal’ back door and can be opened by themselves for ease of use when popping in or outside. If you want to open the door for ventilation, sliding patio doors offer the most flexible options as you can open the door only as far as necessary to make the room comfortable, as opposed to opening an entire door leaf at a time.

Ease of use
Most people expect a large sliding door to require a bit of effort to open, although it does not have to be so.
Reynaers Aluminium’s lift-and-slide doors offer a state-of-the-art solution whereby the door is fitted with a slightly longer handle and a very clever sliding mechanism. Turning the handle through 180° lifts the door by a few millimetres and so reduces the friction between the door leaf and the frame. This makes it possible to open even a large door leaf with the lightest of touches.  To further enhance accessibility and comfort, CP 155-LS can be motorized as an option.  This can be applied to certain configurations on mono-, 2- or 3-rail solutions.
If you prefer a sliding door over a lift-slide solution, our Hi-Finity door can be fully automated, so that a huge pane of glass weighing as much as 750kg can be opened and closed at the push of a button.  

Limitless possibilities
On top of all the options in design, configuration and thresholds, Reynaers Aluminium systems also offer market-leading security and weather resistance.
Our folding and sliding patio doors can be up to three metres in height, and the ultra slim-framed Hi-Finity door can even stretch to 3.5m in height.