The style of doors on a garden office can dramatically influence its look and the way you can use the space, let’s look at the options and see how one building can look very different because of the doors you choose:
A large expanse of floor to ceiling glazing can be achieved in a garden office by using sliding doors. The large expanse of glazing created by sliding doors can create a visual flow of indoor / outdoor space. Because they slide back on themselves the floor space within the garden room is maximised as no allowance has to be made for the swing of the door. Sliding doors run in tracks at the bottom and top of the door, they can be specified in hardwood but most commonly are made from UPVC or aluminium.
Bi-fold doors have become very popular on garden offices over the last few years, they create large expanses of full length glazing when closed, but when opened up they create free flowing indoor / outdoor space. Bi-fold door are available in several finishes – hardwood, UPVC and aluminium. Depending on the expanse of the opening bi-fold doors can be fitted in several configurations, short runs of three or four doors are fixed to the wall at one end of the run and the subsequent doors are hinged together, the doors have pivot fixings which as the doors are pushed back run along a track at the top and bottom of the opening. Longer expanses of bi-fold doors work in the same way but often have doors fixed at both ends and have one door that can be opened independently of the others. Security wise bi-fold doors have bolts on the inside of each door at the top and bottom, and the main door is fitted with an espagnolette lock. The joints between each door have seals which prevent the ingress of moisture and prevent draughts.
The French door has been a popular feature of garden office for many years, consisting of a pair of fully glazed doors (sometimes half glazed) which normally open outwards. French doors come in several widths from 900mm to around 1800mm wide; it’s worth mentioning that with smaller widths of French door unless you are very thin you need to open both doors to easily get in and out of the garden office, with wider pairs you can get away with just opening the one door. The master door which is normally on the right as you look at the exterior of the garden office has the handle and the locks fitted, whilst the slave door normally has bolts at the top and bottom which are accessed from inside. French doors come in several materials – softwood, hardwood, UPVC and aluminium.
The expanse of glazing with French doors can be extended by adding glazed sidelights to the configuration. Sidelights come in several widths and can be a single pane of glass or have an opening window at the top which can be useful for controlling ventilation in the building.
Space may dictate that you can only have a single door, fully glazed options maximise light but options such as stable doors offer a lot of charcter to the building. Most single doors open inwards which can be an issue space wise (see below), if an outward opening does not appeal why not consider a pocket door where the door slides back into the wall, your’re not going to find this option on standard designs but a bespoke garden office company would be able to design in this feature – it does create a thicker wall but it is great idea in limited space
Part of the appeal of bi-fold and sliding doors is the connection of indoor and outdoor space, and many garden rooms with this sort of door will have some sort of deck / veranda area. Bi-fold door and sliding doors have tracks fitted at the top and bottom of the opening, try and chose a design where the deck and interior flooring are the same height, this will not only remove the chance of tripping but is a visual trick making the internal and external spaces look like one.
Which way should your doors swing?
Most garden offices have outward opening doors, this is mainly because they maximise the space inside the garden office – the swing of a door takes up a lot of space which could otherwise be used for furniture, however some suppliers specify inward opening doors because they consider them safer, the thinking is that the door hinges are only accessible from the inside of the garden office meaning they can’t be tampered with from the outside. Which is better? That’s your choice!
The popularity of fully glazed doors means that glazing is an important consideration, in the next part of this guide will take a look at the regulations relating to glass used in garden offices.