04 Jan 2016

Adaptable living: creating versatile spaces in a home


Sliding door hardware can help to create versatile spaces in a home, offering both privacy and open plan areas to suit requirements. Fergus Pickard, Product Development Director, P C Henderson looks at what to consider when specifying folding or sliding door systems to create adaptable homes.


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Sliding door systems can transform internal living areas when used as room dividers to increase and decrease space to meet demand. When open, these systems allow more light in and add flexibility to room configurations.

When closed, room dividers can help reduce heating costs as only the space in use needs to be heated. Sliding door systems can also increase a home’s floor space as they eliminate the space required for a swing door to function. This is an ideal solution for en-suite bathrooms and wardrobe doors, as well as for creating additional storage areas.

For external applications, sliding door hardware is ideal for creating a transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. When specified with framed glass doors, these systems provide the ideal solution for exterior applications and extensions satisfying the growing trend for the interior – exterior experience. In winter, the main system benefits when specified with double or triple glazing are that the doors offer enhanced thermal efficiency levels, keeping occupants warm. On warmer days, the doors can be opened up to allow light, air and access to the outdoors.

There are two types of door systems to consider when specifying sliding door hardware: folding doors and sliding doors. Folding doors allow for an uninterrupted flow between indoor and outdoor spaces when fully open as they take up a small fraction of room. However, due to the opening size they can achieve and the multiple points to secure, the gear system used has to be high performing and secure enough to meet everyday demands. Sliding doors offer the option of significantly larger individual door panels than folding door panels, which when closed provide excellent sight lines due to more glass and less frame being used.

A popular security feature for folding and sliding door systems is Secured by Design. SBD is owned by the Association of Chief Police Officers (APCO) and supports the principles of ‘designing out crime’. Secured by Design focuses on crime prevention and promotes the use of security standards for a wide range of applications and products. The principles of SBD have been proven to achieve a reduction of crime risk by up to 75%. Their objective is to reduce burglary and crime in the UK through physical security and processes.

To further ensure security and robustness, folding and sliding door systems should also undergo performance testing. Currently, there are two main standards to look out for which test for burglar resistance. The European standard EN 1627 and the UK specific standard PAS 24. Both standards look to confirm that hardware systems have passed the prescribed tests, offering an enhanced security performance from attack.

In addition to security, systems should also be corrosion resistant and made from 316 marine grade stainless steel to meet the extremes of British weather. They should undergo tests for air tightness, water tightness and wind resistance, seals should also be used to ensure that the door is sealed from external elements.

With all elements taken into account, homes can benefit from highly functional doors that are safe, secure, energy efficient and weather-tight such as this unique house extension in Kelso, Scotland.

The brief was to create a bright living space which opened into the garden. Two internal rooms were opened up with P C Henderson’s sliding gear system installed between the dining room and the lounge area. The whole frontage was replaced with glazed folding doors to create a desired indoor/outdoor living experience, taking advantage of the garden views.

For the interior, Securefold was installed, while Securefold Ultra was selected for the exterior.

The systems operate with effortless ease and combine the benefits of folding doors with uncompromising security, weather resistance and the durability of stainless steel. Where the new structure joins the existing house, glazed angled panels complement the existing style whilst offering a contemporary, modern feel.

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