Bring The Outside In With Folding Doors

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Bring the outside in with a set of folding doors. If you’re thinking of buying some for your home, here’s what you need to know.
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What are folding doors?

Interiors magazines talk a lot about the indoor-outdoor lifestyle, where a living space flows seamlessly into the garden. Not only does this flood your home with natural light, it also lets you make the most of sunny weather.
 
The best way to achieve the look is by installing folding doors. The advantage these have over, say, sliding patio doors, is that when you fold them back, the garden really does become an extension of the room.
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What to consider before buying folding doors

Folding doors – sometimes called bi-fold doors – come in a range of materials, including aluminium, oak and plastic. Wooden doors have a lovely natural finish and often look better with age. But they need regular maintenance and will probably be more expensive initially. You can also have your doors painted any shade you like, but the colour may fade over time.
 
While budget will naturally be a consideration, it’s not necessarily a good idea to simply go for the cheapest. Folding doors are bigger than ordinary patio doors, making them more susceptible to bad weather. A well-made door will be better protected from the elements. It also pays to go for thick, high-quality glass – otherwise you may end up spending any savings you make on bigger heating bills.
 
Folding doors also come in any number of configurations. So you’ll need to make a few practical decisions, such as whether you want three large doors, or six narrower ones. Most are pretty user-friendly, though, and have daily-access doors that save you having to fully open the set every time you want to go into the garden.
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Accessories to go with your folding doors

You shouldn’t need a huge amount to go with your doors, though you will need hinges. There are several types available, including concealed hinges. You might also want to think about doorstops and seals.
 
Locks, too, are another necessity for outside doors. To make your doors fully secure, you may want to fit several types of lock. 
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Benefits of folding door

Folding doors are brilliant for entertaining – they effectively double the size of your living space, making it perfect for parties and dinners. They’re also great news for families, as they allow parents to easily keep an eye on small children from inside the house.
 
They also bring light to a dark room. This makes them ideally suited to basement conversions and shady urban homes. They look good, too, bringing a bit of contemporary style to a period home.
 
But folding doors aren’t just for outside. You can also use them indoors, where you’ll find they’re a great space saver. Again, if you want to add light to a dark home, one of the best ways to do this is to separate interior rooms with glass folding doors. This also gives you the option on having a separate dining and living room, or one large open space. 
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Maintaining your door

If you go for wooden bi-fold doors, you’ll probably need to re-varnish them every couple of years. Similarly, painted doors may need re-spraying.
 
Do an annual check for scratches and other damage. You’ll also need to keep an eye on handles, hinges and other moving parts, to make sure these don’t need replacing.
 
And you’ll need to keep your doors clean – if dirt builds up in the tracks, it may make your doors hard to open. You can wipe timber doors easily enough with a sponge and a mild detergent. The glass can be cleaned with warm, soapy water or a specialist glass cleaner.
 
Look after your doors, and they’ll serve you well for years.
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