The latest glass technology used in combination with integral blinds is enabling one of the North’s largest sealed unit manufacturers to deliver the optimum solution for the booming bi-fold doors market.

According to Ian Short, managing director of Leeds-based Morley Glass & Glazing, homeowners can will only get the most satisfaction from their bi-fold doors when the configuration properly balances the risk of summertime overheating with effective insulation during the winter.

Ian says: “There is no doubt that the evolution of bi-fold doors has been fantastic for the door and window industry. Advances in glazing technology have contributed to the take-up of bi-fold doors as homeowners and specifiers can confidently choose them without compromising comfort.

“The family of low-e softcoat Planitherm glasses has long been our choice for sealed units for all types of application. But when it comes to bi-fold doors, we’ve found the perfect solution in Planitherm 4S thanks to its ability to manage solar gain during summer and keep the heat in during colder months.”

One glass family, multiple applications

Morley Glass & Glazing was an early adopter of low-e softcoat Planitherm glass more than a decade ago. Working closely with supplier GLASSOLUTIONS, the company has over the years been continually fine-tuning its glass specification to keep ahead of ever toughening Part L requirements without compromising comfort or aesthetics.

He continues: “Today’s thermal insulation requirements mean that ‘A’ Window Energy Ratings (WERs) – and now ‘A+’ – are the logical choice for homeowners. As consumers, we have all become familiar with the rating system on everything from light bulbs to fridge-freezers and now car tyres. So offering the highest ratings on bi-fold doors is a no brainer.

“But increasing the insulation level where you have a large expanse of glass can lead to problems – we only have to go back to the early days of PVC-U conservatories for the evidence. That’s why we use Planitherm 4S for sealed units for bi-fold doors. It means we can give customers the assurance that the glass will help control the internal comfort and help maximise satisfaction without the need for mechanical assistance such as costly heaters or air-conditioning units for cooling.”

Saint-Gobain Glass manufactured Planitherm 4S features a special coating which enables the sealed unit to deliver a dual benefit. It means that Morley Glass is manufacturing sealed units that can reflect up to 57% of the sun’s heat when used in conservatory sidewalls and doors, whilst delivering a U-value performance of just 1.0 W/m2K.

Outstanding visual appeal – blinds inside bi-fold doors

One of the biggest selling points for bi-fold doors has been visual appeal – and this is another area where Morley’s sealed unit customers are benefiting.

Ian adds: “Let’s not underestimate the importance of the clarity of the glass. There is no point in selling a homeowner an innovative, stylish bi-fold door-set if they are only going to be disappointed by the poor clarity of the sealed units. That’s another dimension to Planitherm 4S – its coating does not give the glass a colour haze and therefore means the view through the bi-fold doors is crystal clear.”

Morley Glass also helps installers to optimise the visual appeal of their bi-fold door installations through Uni-Blinds® integral blinds. These are particularly well-suited to bi-folds as traditional blinds and curtains are too obstructive and cumbersome to work in conjunction with the folding action of the doors.

A variety of colour options with Uni-Blinds provides a strong selling point for installers. This includes the unique and extremely popular Venetian blinds slat colour anthracite grey (S159), which is equivalent to RAL 7016 and now accounts for around 30% of total Uni-Blinds sales.

“We’re seeing strong demand for Uni-Blinds from bi-fold door fabricators and installers who want to give their customers the finishing touch to the installation,” says Ian. “The blinds are sealed within the sealed unit which means they don’t get in the way, never need cleaning or maintenance and the colour range means they will suit all tastes.

“Uni-Blinds are the final piece of the jigsaw. Using Planitherm 4S means we can deliver the bi-fold doors’ thermal insulation, solar gain management and clarity. Uni-Blinds provide the stylish, unobtrusive and low maintenance long term privacy solution. It’s also a fantastic up-sell opportunity for installers as homeowners are often keen to complete their door installation with the simplicity of a single supplier.”

Morley Glass & Glazing is the biggest supplier of ScreenLine blinds in the UK with weekly deliveries nationwide using its own vehicle fleet. Order lead times from any Friday for all manual blinds is just 10 working days.