1The 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 Sun Room and thus through to the surrounding garden and patio area.
The biggest mistake people subsequently say is that they chose positions for the doors which establish a ‘highway’ across where you would ideally like to position furniture or have people seated. If too many doors are chosen, it generally means the area in front has to be left clear.
Each door will create a further security risk, requirement for keys, an area of general wear and tear and a greater cost if they are of a appropriately high quality and fully storm proofed with secure locking mechanism systems.
THERE ARE FOUR PRINCIPAL CHOICES
Can be hinged on the left or right, ideally opening outwards and secured with a substantial cabin hook or restrictor. If of suitable width, they will give quite sufficient access to and from the conservatory to your garden and thus are very cost effective. They should also provide wheelchair access.
Are usually chosen if somebody wishes for a generous width opening to the garden and extra ventilation on a hot sunny day. These can provide a width of some 1800 or in original dimensions 6ft 0ins.
Single or double sliding are often selected to give a wide opening to the garden, or so that there is no fear of them being caught in the wind. They can be opened just a few inches or to their full extent and anything in between.
Or more correctly, multi-folding door panels, should there be more than two, seem to be the new popular door configuration. There can of course be triple folding or any number of panels you may wish. However, an uneven number is always the best choice and they do not necessarily need to open all in one direction. This general guidance page is not sufficient to provide all the important guidance and design considerations but any large opening needs to be supported above and this element of construction can be very expensive, whether they are in the wall of your home or beneath a glazed Sun Room roof. These door systems are generally much more expensive than French or Patio openings. Most would agree that when they can be opened wide on a hot summer’s day, their configuration is much appreciated but the climate we enjoy, allows that opportunity rather seldom – please refer to my website pages for further guidance.
ONE OF OUR CUSTOMERS WHO ORIGINALLY ASKED FOR A DOOR AT ONE END, LEADING TO THE GARAGE, DOORS AT THE FRONT TO OPEN UP ONTO THE GARDEN AND YET ANOTHER DOOR LEADING TO THE DUSTBIN AREA, EVENTUALLY CHOSE A WIDE SINGLE DOOR AT ONE END CONVENIENTLY LEADING ONTO THEIR 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 AND REDUCES POSITIONS FOR FURNITURE.
Choosing doors to give ventilation is not necessarily the correct option. Large opening windows are much more efficient and practical, as they can be left part open giving a good air flow. Always remember windows are generally for ventilation and doors to provide access, an appropriate balance between these two requirements is very important.
SECURITY door locks should comply with BS3621 or the equivalent and it is essential you double check with your insurance company because many do not. Speak with a Crime Prevention Officer and he will advise you that the ease with which modern criminals force doors and windows (PARTICULARLY CHEAP PVCu), is alarming. In some areas of the country, it has increased more than fivefold and is still gathering momentum.
When we are called upon to carry out remedial works on other manufacturer’s conservatories or glazing systems, it is invariably doors which have failed to withstand the passage of time. You only have to put your foot at the bottom of a cheap of PVCu designed plastic door or basic timber, pull at the top of the door in its open position, to discover just how flimsy they truly 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 BUT IT HAD BEEN VERY EASILY SPRUNG OPEN SIMPLY ‘BY USING A SHORT CROWBAR WHICH CAN BE EASILY CARRIED UP A 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 intruder had forced an entry so easily.
ANYONE NOT FAMILIAR WITH DOORS AND SECURE LOCKING MECHANISMS SHOULD SPEND A LITTLE TIME SPEAKING WITH A CRIME PREVENTION OFFICER AND INSURANCE COMPANIES PLUS ANYONE WHO WILL GIVE YOU AN INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL ASSESSMENT OF WHAT IS AVAILABLE BECAUSE A MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ARE BEING CONSIDERABLY ‘SHORT CHANGED’ AND TAKEN DISTINCT ADVANTAGE OF DUE TO THEIR LACK OF DETAILED KNOWLEDGE OR RESEARCH.
We were recently involved with the preparation of a break-in assessment and associated insurance claim. The architectural aluminium conservatory had been damaged in four positions but access not gained. At the side of this property, a standard PVCu door had allowed the intruder access to the home with ease, as the overall framework was not secure, albeit the locks themselves were of a reasonable standard !!!
I cannot emphasise strongly enough, that you should speak with a Police Crime Prevention Officer, rather than a double glazed salesman, well in advance of any unfortunate and hopefully not necessary claim negotiations with your insurance company – if that message has not fallen on fertile ground, please take a few moments to read it again.