7 tips for selecting new doors for your home.
Renovating your home is one of those really exciting processes. As it develops and when it goes to plan, it feels like you are actually watching your dream house come true. There will always be a bit of pain, sweat and tears but at the end is all part of game.
One of the most critical decisions when renovating is selecting the right doors. The most valuable piece of advice that I can give is: do not underestimate the doors. Yes, most people think abut the “space” the room, or the new living area. It turns out that, that specific space (lets say a home extension) is a living room that opens to your backyard. The doors you choose are going to contribute to the overall design and functionality of the renovated area. So, no, do not underestimate the importance of the doors.
Here are some tips that will help you make the right choice in windows and doors when renovating your place:
- Doors have come a long way.
To be honest, we are still a little bit behind in technology for windows and doors design in Australia. The good thing is we are catching up: now we can find “European style” doors with incredibly good looking and functional hardware. Tilt and turn doors, double glazing and many other door features are now available. Today’s windows and doors do not simply “open and close” they contribute in the energy efficiency, ventilation, fire safety, security and first and foremost overall comfort in your living areas.
- Think about energy efficiency
Double glazing on uPVC windows.
A complete set of double glazed windows and doors will significantly reduce your energy bills. In some cases, (depending on the design, configuration and orientation of the house) it could even save more energy than installing solar panels. Some people might think that double glazed doors are just too expensive, but when you factor the energy savings over time, they are a good investment. When your are shopping around for your new doors, look for the energy efficiency rating. You will probably find that the highest energy efficiency rating is often achieved by PVC windows and doors, followed by timber and finally by aluminium. However, innovation on design and technology in aluminium doors has improved significantly and some manufacturers are achieving very high ratings in this material. For more information about window and doors energy efficiency rating, click here.
- What is your door made of?
This can be a little bit complicated. Basically you have 3 choices: aluminium, timber and PVC. Probably the first thing that you have to take into account to balance your decision is energy efficiency, then aesthetics (how the material, choices of colours, finishes and frame designs fits into your home) and finally look at your budget. One piece of advice: cheap windows and doors will look “cheap”, perform poorly and will cheapen your renovation. Aim for good quality, it always pays. Get the balance right: energy efficiency / aesthetics and, if you can, adjust your budget accordingly.
- Views, access and functionality.
Bifold doors: open the whole way – a bit of compromise in the views.
When it comes to wide openings is is a tricky choice to choose between sliding / stacker doors and bifold doors. Bifold doors will allow you to totally open the threshold leaving the opening totally clear. The downside to that, is that when the bifold doors are closed, your views are interrupted by the division of the panels.
Big sliding doors – Great for views but compromise on the opening espace.
With sliding / stacker doors the situation is the opposite: you will not be able to totally open the threshold. However, when the doors are closed, your views will be less interrupted (obviously this is determined on how big the panels of the sliding doors are -just, as a bit of information, I have seen panels of sliding doors go as wide as 4 metres and you can easily slide with your little finger!- the hardware and technology is just amazing). So there, it is a little bit of compromise, no matter what you choose.
- Medium size openings.
Pivot Doors – Incredibly good looking but a bit unpractical if you have insect problems.
You can still choose between bifold and sliding doors in a medium size opening. But do not forget to add good classic to the mix: French doors. French doors are always a wonderful feature and they can be as modern or as classic as you want them.
Another possible choice is a pivot door, they do look amazing, however, if you have problems with insects, you better forget about having a pivot door: they are impossible to screen and you will never be able to use leave it open without the nuisance of insects coming into your home.
- Timber doors and durability.
Timber doors are simply beautiful. They also have high energy efficiency ratings and can be very functional. In normal weathering conditions, a top quality timber door will last as much as an PVC or aluminium door. But how can you know that you are buying at top quality timber door? In timber doors, the first barrier of protection against the elements is the coatings (and by coatings, I mean the paint). With the correct treatment in coatings, a timber door can last up to 10 years without renovation (re-coating), even when exposed to harsh weather elements. And again, how do you know when a timber door has been coated correctly? First clue: if the doors are painted or finished “on site” that is probably a bad sign: at the beginning of the blog I mentioned that in Australia we are still a bit behind in technology and building methods when it comes to windows and doors. Well, this is what happens when a door gets painted “on site”: the final coating, the one that is supposed to be a barrier against UV rays and moisture, will not cover all the exposed areas (not under the door sill, or under the hardware -and that is where moisture is more likely to penetrate). A top quality timber door is 100% coated and finished in the factory (probably with a robotic spray or if it is done by hand by a very skilled tradesman). Ask the manufacturer of the doors, which kind of coatings are used and what is the expected time between renovation of your timber doors (renovation times change according to many variables, type of timber, exposure to the elements, etc, but a high quality coating treatment on a timber door will protect it for at least 7 years and can even go up to 10).
- Ensure that you will be able to enjoy your beautiful doors.
I often say: what is the point of having beautiful doors if you are not able to use them? If you have insect problems at your place, include the insect screens in your budget. Consider doors and insect screens as a whole package: how they fit and work together. How the retractable or pleated insect screens of our choice blend with the door frames. Everybody asks for “invisible screen doors”, and well, literally invisible screen doors is something technology is not able to achieve yet. You can have fly screens that disappear from view and whose frames and tracks are discreet and totally blend with your door frames. Even when you have timber doors, it is possible to match the woodgrain and make your insect screens match the timber incredibly closely.
If you have any questions or want to know more about doors and screening solutions do not hesitate to post a comment or contact me by email. I will be happy to answer.