Modern contemporary orangery to the rear of a house with a set of bi-fold doors and roof lantern
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Grey 5 pane bi-folding door opening out into a garden
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Blinds OR Glass?

wet self cleaning glass vs standard glass for bi-fold doors and roof lanterns

So which one is better?

One of the biggest discussions we have with our customers at Midland Bi-folds is whether Integral Blinds or just glass is better with a bi-fold door.

This does come down once again to personal preference but it is a big part of the decision making process when looking at bi-fold doors. In the past we have always recommended blinds but with the advances in technology, there are so many glass options that its very difficult to say categorically that one is better than the other.

The Integral Blinds…

With integral blinds you have the ability to decide what happens and when. You can decide how much light you want in the room, you can decide when you need the privacy and when you don’t. With the Venetian integral blinds everything is variable. This is the single biggest advantage of integral blinds. The disadvantages to the integral blinds are that they require mechanisms to function. In one way or another you will be losing part of your sightlines. On the electric blinds, this is usually on the top of the glass pane and with the manual blinds it tends to run down the side. When buying bi-fold doors, one of the main reasons for this is to maximise the view out. Take a look at the manual blinds options here to see how they each work. With integral blinds, there is no maintenance. They are contained within the glass itself so they won’t ever get dusty and can’t ever get tangled up. This is a huge benefit over conventional blinds.

The Glass Options…

This is where choice is the biggest factor and the reason people steer away from the options available. There are so many choices and so many options that people really have no idea where to start. When deciding on whether you would like to have specialist glass you first need to decide the primary function you want it. This can be because you don’t want your furniture or wood flooring to fade, it could be privacy, it could be because you want to restrict the amount of heat that comes through the glass. There really are so many options. This is also made more difficult by combining these reasons. The biggest reasons people tend to upgrade glass are either for ease of cleaning and upgrading to the self cleaning glass (activ-blue) or to stop fading of furniture by using laminate glass that contains a UV filter. With double glazing you have the option to combine the functions of the glass by having different coatings or finishes to the individual panes of glass. Some of these coats are applied to the inside of the glass where some of the finishes are applied to the external. For obvious reasons the activ-blue coating is applied to the exterior whilst some of the thermal coatings are applied to the internal side of the double glazed unit to keep it protected.

What’s the cost?

Cost is one of the biggest factors when choosing between integral blinds or glass options. Integral blinds are quite expensive and electric ones really aren’t cheap. Saying that, some of the glass options and the number of different combinations can make the glass just as expensive. In general though, the glass is a fraction of the cost of blinds. Where you can expect to pay in excess of £300 per blind, you can generally upgrade all 3 panes of glass on a 3 pane bi-fold door for a similar price.

What would we recommend?

I can’t reiterate enough that this is solely personal preference. With money no object the best thing to do would be to have electric blinds as these restrict the view the least and have activ-blue exterior with laminate glass. This covers all bases, self cleaning, UV protection to stop fading, the Activ-blue also has a medium level of solar control to limit some of the heat that passes through and then to complement all of this, the blinds can offer complete privacy or the possibility to regulate the amount of light allowed through. Now this isn’t affordable for most people as this would cost on excess of £1000 per pane. So if it’s privacy you want, blinds would always be recommended; If it’s to stop fading and of furniture then laminated glass is the way forward; if you are south facing and concerned about the heat then solar control would be the best option.

If you are still struggling to choose, we will be more than happy to talk you through the best options available and the best solution to your individual needs.

Email us: info@midlandbifolds.co.uk

Call us: 0116 2665088

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