There are two basic types of patio doors which include the hinged patio doors and the sliding or gliding patio doors. Hinged doors are normally available as French doors which come in a set of two doors. These normally open to the outside and may have a lot of glass incorporated into their overall construction, thus allowing you a view of the outside. There are certain other hinged doors that come in the form of accordion doors and are therefore able to fold open. If you are living in regions with warmer climates, you should consider investing in a good pair of accordion doors which also happen to be very space efficient. On the other hand, the sliding patio doors are normally available in a set of two, in which case one door slides past the other and in most cases these are entirely made out of glass.
In the mid-20th century, sliding doors became very popular - two or three panels of glass that slide along grooves in the floor. To distinguish them from traditional French doors, they were marketed with the thoroughly modern name of Patio Doors and this is often the image people have today when that term is used. Easily installed in place of a window, the immediate advantages were additional natural light and access to the garden. They also became a popular option to use where a pivot door opening space was limited or where the aperture was wider than a pair of French doors. Older installations were typically single-glazed, prone to warping and usually became difficult to slide open and closed. Still available today but in a developed form with double glazing and rollers for easier sliding, the popularity of sliding doors during this century has declined as bifolding doors gained market share.
The latest patio doors innovation is slide-and-pivot doors. Developed and launched since 2007/8, slide-and-pivot doors incorporate the major benefits of bifolding doors and sliding patio doors. Comprising a number of individual glazed panels that fit snugly together when closed, there is a master door that can be opened with a standard (pivot) action, enabling the other doors to be moved, individually, along the top and bottom guides; as each door is moved to the end of the guides, it can also pivot open to increase the access width between the divided areas ( to a suggested maximum of approximately 8 metres).
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