Connecting indoors and out is a big priority for homeowners and self builders.
Glazed doors are a fantastic solution for this, however many people struggle to weigh up the pros and cons of bifolds and sliders.
There’s now a third option to consider for your home – slide and turn doors. But could this solution be the right option for you?
Sliding doors have been popular for generations. The narrow sightlines and large glass panels possible with options such as IDSystems’ theEDGE are ideal for letting light in all year round.
But they do have their compromises. For instance, you could use a pocket slider, where the glass panels slide into a pocket in the wall. However, you’ll always be giving up an element of the opening to a fixed frame panel.
Bifold door technology has been around in the UK for almost 20 years. The key advantage is that you can completely stack the doors when open. Hence, bifold doors can seamlessly connect the inside of your home with the garden.
But even the sleekest folding doors, such as our Sunflex range, will have larger sightlines than sliders. That’s principally down to accommodating the hinges, running gear and locking mechanisms.
They do pretty much what they say on the tin.
The top-running vistaline system, designed in Switzerland and manufactured exclusively in the UK by IDSystems, features non-connected panels that can slide independently of one another. They then pivot at one end of the opening to create a neat stack beside the lead door.
The system can span openings as big as 6,850mm wide, with each panel up to 2,650mm tall and 1,100mm wide.
The beauty of this solution is you can have narrow intermediate frames of just 45mm wide, similar to sliders, thus maximising light and views. And that’s combined with the convenience of a fully clear opening, as you would get with bifolds, so you can achieve the best possible connection between your living space and the garden.
Whenever you install a product into your home, you’ll want to make sure the quality matches your expectations. With glazed doors, key areas to consider include durability, smooth operation, security features, weather protection and energy performance.
It’s always worth trying doors in situ – whether at a self build exhibition, in the showroom or in a real-life installation – to get a good feel for how the option you’re considering might work for you.
In the case of the vistaline slide and turn system, the true innovation is hidden within the side jamb and track.
When you close the doors, operating the handle extends the jamb outwards to compress the panels together. This serves to create a weathertight and ultra-secure connection between the individual doors.
In the top and base of the track there are patented, highly effective flipper seals that turn through 90° to connect with the panels and keep out wind and rain. And all of this can be achieved with a flush track, giving you a seamless threshold between indoors and out.
The vistaline system provides triple glazing and U-values (a measure of heat loss) as low as 1.1 W/m2k.
The doors feature special ridge and groove connections, with multipoint locking at the side jamb, to deliver excellent security.
They’re also top-hung to ensure simple, silent operation. Remember that any system will only perform as designed if it’s properly installed – so for peace of mind, it’s worth using a supplier who can also fit your new doors.
Edward Stobart is head of projects at IDSystems. He provides advice, support and assistance to architects, self builders and homeowners. IDSystems’ vistaline slide and turn system was named Best Glazed Door in the Build It Awards 2018, with the judging panel praising the innovation, design features and usability of the doors.