It’s not all about the bifold

According to industry experts, the bifold door market has grown substantially in recent years, which looks set to continue. But the sliding door market has also seen an upturn lately. Nick Welsh, managing director of SafeGuard Glass and Glazing, explains why the humble sliding door shouldn’t be overlooked.

For quite some time now, in terms of patio doors, the growth of the bifold has far and away outshone its sliding and hinged counterparts. And it is obvious why: a high end, aspirational product, which saw homeowners quickly buying into the idea of seamlessly joining their outdoor and indoor living areas.

What was initially thought of as doors synonymous with super-sized, ultra-modern houses, they’re actually ideal for all homes, no matter the size, shape or style. Offering the market a more modern option over the hinged or sliding doors, popularity soared. Coupled with the rise in desire for large open plan living spaces and the option for integral blinds within the units, the bifold ticks all of the boxes. But so do sliding doors.

Industry experts tell us that the overall patio door market (sliding, hinged and bifold), has grown by almost 5% in recent years. And although overall numbers year on year have been down, the sliding door is 6% up on its numbers from 2015 and is predicted to continue to increase in years to come. And it makes complete sense. Although as a ‘dream sell’ the bifold may be a notch ahead, the chances are, in our climate, our patio doors will be closed for a higher percentage of the year than they will be open.

So, if we have a large open space, perhaps the bigger the pane of glass, the better, as we are more likely to be looking through it than we are to be opening it? Not only that, the cost is often lower too.

At SafeGuard we have definitely seen that the sliding door is fighting back. Sliding door sealed units can be made much wider, larger and taller than any bifold, allowing the end user to enjoy uninterrupted views with glass panes of up to 3m in width and height if required. Add to that the fact you can now have single, double or even triple tracks to give you real flexibility as to how your doors slide, it’s no surprise that we have seen an upturn in our customers working on projects which include large sliding doors.

In 2015 Safeguard made a £multi-million investment into new cutting, toughening and IGU manufacturing equipment at our 28,000ft2 manufacturing facility, and have since invested a further £150k in an array of machinery that will further improve processes across the business.

Automation is a big part of what we do and technology is advancing all the time. In order to ensure we are delivering on our customers’ expectations both in terms of quality and quantity, we need to keep up with those advances.

Our mission has always been to provide clear solutions in glass, with the focus being on solutions. When market trends change, we are confident we can be responsive to those changes and always deliver. Whether that be larger projects for multiple sealed units for bifold doors or large sealed units for sliding doors down to smaller projects for a spray-painted kitchen splashback or mirror glass, we have the capacity and capability to take on any project and ensure that the customer is always delighted.

With Summer just around the corner, and homeowners starting to consider those home improvement projects, consider each of the patio door options based on their suitability for the individual project, not just its current popularity.

Safeguard Glass Co.
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