Warmer, wider, smoother, safer – my, how patio doors have changed!

Sliding door system ODC 300 installed on the first floor of a luxury residential home in Kingston Upon Thames


Depending on the age of your property and when it was last refurbished or remodelled, you may have traditional French doors or chunky uPVC doors opening out onto your garden. They may well be draughty or heavy to open, offer poor security and, probably, allow significant heat loss and gain.

If you’re reading this because your current patio doors have come to the end of their useful life, then you will be pleasantly surprised at the developments in this popular glazing choice when you start to look at modern alternatives. You may even benefit from reduced house insurance premiums.

Smooth opening and better insulation

Patio doors have undergone significant technological improvements and high-quality systems are very well balanced, sliding smoothly and easily along superbly-engineered runners. Whether large sliding panels or multiple folding panels, the best systems open with minimal effort.

As our products in motion videos demonstrate, one-handed operation is all that’s required to move the doors from closed to open and vice versa.

Insulation within frames has also improved, creating thermal breaks which stop outside temperatures being transferred to the inside via the frame. This is particularly true of aluminium-framed doors which, incidentally, are now available with an aluminium outer side and wood inner frame finish to complement interior decoration.

The right glazing

Improvements in glass U-values and special coatings have contributed to thermal efficiency, too. As long as you receive the right glazing advice, you needn’t feel a drop in temperature as you walk past the patio doors in winter. Similarly, you should be able to avoid too much heat gain from a large south-facing window in summer.

Flowing space

With the continuing rise in popularity of open-plan living and large family kitchens, sliding or bi-fold patio doors are a must-have in most people’s kitchen extension planning. They offer a greater connection to the garden that makes any room feel instantly lighter and more spacious, whether the view is of a green expanse of grass or hard landscaping. See our case studies for inspiration.

Continuous flooring, whereby the same floor tile is used on the patio outside as in the room inside, is another popular choice. Not only does it unite the two areas further, with a level threshold the spaces flow almost seamlessly into one another when the doors are open.

It should be noted, though, that a minimal threshold will not always be fully weatherproof depending on the direction it faces. Our advisors will be able to help you choose the best solution for your room’s aspect.There are several threshold options for most of ODC’s door ranges.

Security updates

In the past, patio doors were often a point of entry for burglars, but that’s all changed. For peace of mind, it’s good to know that ODC doors have a two- or three-point locking mechanism as standard, with more as an option to thwart break-ins. Further security possibilities include connection to monitoring systems, glass breakage detectors and integrated alarm systems.

Ease of access

While patio doors are secure from the outside, it’s still easy to for you and your family to gain quick access to the garden when you want.

Bi-folding patio doors often have a single access panel, so you can choose between opening just this or multiple panels. And when you do open it all up, the doors take up a surprisingly small amount of space folded to one or both sides. You can choose whether they fold into the room or into the garden, too.

A sliding door can be opened just as much or as little as you like.With panels as large as 6m x 4m, the opening creates a similar ‘open air’ feel to fully-open bi-folds.

A visit to our showrooms in London or Poole will enable you to see first hand the range of different systems we offer. Please drop in or contact us for an appointment.