The choice of door style and its most appropriate position is beyond doubt one of the foremost considerations. It is most unusual that a conservatory, when it is at ground level, will be constructed without a door
The best way to decide on the most appropriate style of door and its position is to draw a plan view of your home, showing doors linking into the conservatory, and where you would wish to exit your sunroom when walking out into the garden or surrounding patio area.
The biggest mistake people make is to position doors so that they establish a ‘highway’ right across where you would ideally like to position furniture. Also, if too many doors are chosen, this means the area in front of them ideally has to be left clear. Also generally people now choose their conservatories to have dwarf cavity walls because they consider it feels much more like a room, then too many interruptions in the dwarf wall and internal cill will detract from this.
A customer who originally asked me for a door at one end leading to the garage, doors at the front to open up onto the garden, and yet another door at the other end leading to the dustbin, eventually chose a wide single door at one end which conveniently led onto the patio. He advised me that the final decision had been made after studying the rooms in his home, which generally only had a single door, and whilst it might appear appropriate to have a number of entrances and exits, in reality, it only takes a few seconds to walk around a room rather than across it!
More doors also create a greater security risk, requirement for keys, areas of wear and tear and a greater cost if they are fully storm proofed.
Can be hinged on the left or right, and ideally open outwards, to be secured with a substantial brass cabin hook. If of suitable width they will often provide quite sufficient access to and from the conservatory, and are thus very cost effective.
Usually chosen if somebody wishes for a 5ft or wider opening to the garden, and increased ventilation on a hot sunny day.
Single or double sliding patio doors are often selected to give a wide opening to the garden, or because there is no fear of them being caught in the wind. Also they can be opened just a few inches, or to their full extent, and anything in between.
Very popular when large openings are to be created, but I do emphasise that on many occasions french or patio doors may ultimatly prove the best option and at a much lower cost. For more information see our Doors & Windows section under Other Services.
Choosing doors to give ventilation is not necessarily the best option. Large opening windows are much more efficient. They can be left partly open, giving a good air flow, without producing a clear opening with a howling gale coming in and blowing papers off your table, as when using a door for ventilation.
Door locks should comply with BS3621 or equivalent, and it is essential you double check with your insurance company, because many do not. Speak with any Crime Prevention Officer and he will advise you that the ease with which modern criminals force doors and windows (particularly PVCu) is alarming. In some areas of the country it has increased more than five fold, and is still gathering momentum.
When we are called upon to carry out remedial works on other manufacturers’ conservatories, it is invariably doors which have failed to withstand the passage of time. You only have to put your foot against the bottom of a plastic door and pull on the top, or put your full weight on the top of the door in its open position, to discover just how flimsy they are. I recently saw a report of a PVCu front door which on paper had an impressive array of shoot bolts, security locking and other safety devices, which had been very easily sprung open simply ‘by using a short crowbar which can be easily carried up someone’s sleeve’. Many police officers visiting scenes of such crimes will be somewhat disconcerted, as invariably the owner of the property thought that they had secured their home to a reasonably high level, and appeared surprised that the thief had got in so easily!
Anyone not familiar with doors and secure locking mechanisms should spend a little time speaking with crime prevention officers, insurance companies and anyone who will give them an independent assessment of what is available, because the majority of people are being considerably ‘short changed’ – being taken distinct advantage of due to their lack of detailed knowledge.