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Changing Trends Add Value To Homes

2nd November 2011

With a housing market that has remained stagnant and the prospect of a challenging economic climate being with us for the foreseeable future, homeowners need to become more discerning about the best way to invest in their homes - by making improvements that add real value to the home and ensure that their property stands out from the others.

According to a recent survey in "The Times" one of the best value home improvements you can consider is to install bifold doors. Not only will they ensure a return on your investment but also enhance your quality of living in the meantime.

Bifold doors can transform your living space and open up a multitude of possibilities in your home, making it a lighter more welcoming environment in which to live and break down the barriers between inside and out. No other item in you home can transform your living space in this way. And recent surveys suggest that the inclusion of a quality set of bi-folding doors is likely to be more important to potential buyers than a new kitchen or conservatory.

The concept of bifold has come a long way from the patio doors of the mid 1900s which were fully-glazed but basic sliding or opening doors, whose quality of construction was sometimes questionable. The new alternative is cleverly designed, aesthetically beautiful, bifold doors that are energy efficient, provide better security and safety, and when constructed from aluminum, are maintenance free.

The advantages of bifold doors over traditional sliding patio doors is that unlike the latter that typically only open up half of the available opening, bifold doors fold back to just a few inches of the opening so considerably more of the outside environment can be enjoyed, utilising space as never before and making them the ideal choice for apartments as well as houses. Combined with longevity, the convenience and versatility they offer is endless.

You only need to flick through any of the glossy home improvement or lifestyle magazine, such as Grand Designs, to see why they have become the product of choice for designers and architects aiming to make domestic architecture more interesting.

A key feature of bifolding doors is their ability to seamlessly open up the space between the house and the garden, and due to their unique flushed tracking systems, you can extend for instance a tiled kitchen or conservatory floor right through to the outside, which will enhance a patio area and create one large living space, ideal for entertaining and taking full advantage of the summer months.

Their folding format typically means there are several, smaller door units to an opening compared to just two for a traditional sliding patio door. One of the key capabilities of bifolding doors is that they are totally retractable and there are multiple opening configurations to choose, from opening into or out of a room and folding to the left or right, to a corner configuration set which can be installed to wrap around the side of a property transforming a dark corner into a feature that floods light into the room. Whichever option you choose, the result is always the same - more light and space.

Whether used outside or inside, bifold doors are incredibly easy to operate - free-glide running systems using near-frictionless, maintenance-free needle roller bearings that ensure no matter the number of doors in the set, they are a breeze to open and close.

Although bifold doors can be made from a variety of materials, lightweight aluminum is the modern alternative, whose aesthetics can equal wood and whose performance and durability exceeds both wood and UPVC, making them more reliable for maintaining alignment over their lifetime. By opting for doors made from a high grade aluminum, the perfect combinations of strength and weight, allows for a narrower more aesthetically pleasing frame.

An vast variety of colours and finishes can be applied to aluminium bifold doors, including metallics, wood-effect and textured finishes, making it the perfect material for matching existing frames, and more importantly powder coated aluminum will not corrode, discolour, rot or warp.

Homeowners can choose folding sliding doors where safety and security are now incorporated into the design as standard. Leading UK manufactures offer features such as finger-safe gaskets, to protect inquisitive little fingers and locking systems that benefit from Secured By Design (SBD) police accreditation, providing assurance that the mechanisms include important features such as multi-point locks with hooked locking points and shoot bolts.

Installation is another key area that contributes to the security of any door so have them fitted carried by a competent professional recognised as such by the manufacturer of the product.

As the cost of heating the home continues to increase, consideration also needs to be given to ensuring that new products have strong environmental and energy-efficient credentials. Doors that are fitted with high performance double glazed units provide a thermally-efficient barrier and together with a certified thermal performance meet all current UK Building Regulations.

Given that bifold doors may represent a larger investment than initially planned, knowing who, how and where your doors are made is important. Manufactures such as Origin design and build their products in the UK, which gives them complete control over the quality and specification of the items being produced, which is one of the reasons why Origin has been able to introduce unparalleled guarantees of 20 years on their door systems.