It is no surprise that bi-fold doors continue to be a hugely popular choice amongst UK homeowners and property developers. Until the noughties, the bi-folding door was relatively rare in Britain’s homes, mainly because there weren’t many installers providing them and the systems available back then were often extremely expensive.
Today, we’re blessed with a far greater range of bi-fold door suppliers and installers routinely offering them as part of their product portfolio. Many homeowners choose them to get more natural light into internal spaces as well as giving their room a clear wide opening to the outdoors.
This gives a room a whole new dimension, offering the ability to throw back the doors so a patio, terrace or deck almost becomes part of the room. Complementary design of the outdoor area can really make the two spaces feel connected and seamless when the bi-folds are open in a way that is not always possible with sliding patio doors or French doors.
Unless you’ve got the luxury of an open outlook with nobody overlooking your home, however, chances are that you will probably want some form of blind or curtain to give you privacy. And in the height of summer, most of us will want to incorporate shading into the bi-folds to reduce glare and prevent the room overheating.
This is something that is definitely worth thinking about at the bi-fold’s design and quotation stage for a whole host of reasons. Often the way we think of blinds and curtains is to consider it after the window or door is installed – a post-installation job – but with bi-folding doors things are a little more complicated.
Think about how a curtain will work with a large span bi-fold door. When the door is closed, the curtain is a great idea, pull it across like you would any other and you’ve got privacy immediately. But what about when the door is open? Unless you go for a twin rail or poles so that you can have two types of curtain (one designed solely for soft light diffusion), you won’t be able to provide shading – and if the curtains are closed, they will move in the slightest breeze and get in the way of moving between the room and outdoor space.
Traditional wall or frame mounted blinds are equally impractical for bi-fold doors. Because each of the door leaves moves independently, you can’t easily fit blinds to cover each. And it doesn’t work if you try to shade the whole bi-fold span with blinds – they will move in the breeze when the door is open which could damage them.
Hence why integral blinds have been so popular with bi-folds and continue to be to this day. Integral blinds are permanently encapsulated within double or triple glazed units so they will move freely with each leaf of the bi-folds. And you can choose Venetian or pleated blind styles to offer far greater flexibility in how much shading you want at any given time.
With Uni-Blinds integral blinds from Morley Glass, there are five different control systems to choose from. The manually operated C System features a traditional cord to raise, lower and – in the case of Venetian styles – tilt the blind, and the SV or SV+ works by moving a magnetic slider for an efficient, slick cordless option.
The motorised MB System, which features a brushless motor for smooth, reliable long-term function, is operated by remote control or a wall switch, but it can also be integrated into home automation systems including Loxone. There is also a solar powered solution, the W Smart, which does not need to be hard wired thanks to a small externally mounted PV panel that uses light to charge its batteries.
For the additional cost of completing a bi-fold door package with high quality integral blinds, the headache of having to think of a shading and privacy solution can be avoided. Uni-Blinds approved installers can provide the blind in place of standard glass units for new door installations, which also means the type of glass can be specified.
The glass options available for Uni-Blinds enable double or triple glazed units to offer the highest levels of thermal insulation and solar control. This can be extremely effective at preventing overheating when the summer sun is strong – a must-have for south or south westerly facing aspects in UK homes. And in winter, the glass works in the opposite way to effectively keep warmth in the room.
All Uni-Blinds integral blinds are manufactured using the world’s number one integral blind systems, ScreenLine, from Italian company Pellini S.p.A. to offer a premium quality solution that will provide years of customer satisfaction. And they have the additional practical benefit of being available in the industry’s shortest lead times – as little as 10-12 working days when ordered by 10am on Thursdays with complimentary nationwide delivery.