Folding, stacking doors are ideal for creating indoor/outdoor living spaces, whether in the home, in hotels and lodges, sports centres or other recreational facilities. Charl Jacobz from Swartland Wooden Windows and Doors offers some pointers on what to look for when investing in fold-aside doors, sometimes referred to as stacking or concertina doors.
He highlights that the floor-to-ceiling height of fold-aside doors typically allows for excellent outdoor views and admits an abundance of natural light to the interior.
Fold-aside doors generally comprise a series of “sections” or hinged door leaves that can be opened and pushed aside so that they stack in a concertina style on either one or two sides of the opening. Because they can be opened and neatly stacked to the side they are a great option for maximising the free flow of space and creating a feeling of openness between indoors and out.
“This openness is further enhanced by the fact that the doors run on tracks that are flush with the floor underfoot and the frame overhead, so there is no visual divide between indoor and outdoor spaces.
“Fold-aside doors can also work well as a room divider, providing the flexibility to create a single open space or two smaller spaces to accommodate different activities,” Jacobz adds.
In choosing the best quality fold-aside doors to suit your budget, Jacobz says it’s important to test how the doors work. “You should be able to open and close sample doors, to check that they are well weighted and balanced and that they run smoothly and effortlessly along their tracks.”
Stacking doors should be supplied fully assembled in a frame, ready to be installed (glass excluded). The frame should be thick enough to ensure stability. Swartland’s fold-aside doors, for example, have a 90mm by 70mm frame for added strength. The frame should also incorporate adjustable stiles to accommodate the movement of the wood and minimise the effect of the wood’s natural swelling and shrinkage.
Fold-aside doors are supplied in standard sizes or custom-made options should be available if required, made to fit non-standard openings. Swartland’s fold-aside doors are available in a wide range of sizes and configurations – in 813mm door widths, and in 3-, 4-, 5- and 6-door configurations. Alternatively, Swartland can manufacture customised doors in specified sizes. The company has also introduced a series of fold-aside Slim Fit Doors, which are designed to replace any existing sliding doors easily. These new 611mm by 2 032mm doors come in 3-door (to replace a single sliding door) and 5-door configurations.
Jacobz says it’s also important to check the hardware: the tracks, locks and bolts that are supplied standard with the doors. On its fold-aside doors Swartland uses only the highest quality brass hardware, cylinder locks and bolts for optimum security and longevity.
Like standard windows and doors, stacking doors must be able to withstand the elements and if you’re choosing wooden stacking doors they must be properly sealed. On Swartland’s fold-aside doors, the bottom of the door and sill are sealed with waterproof PVA. The doors are fitted with rubber seals for extra insulation, helping to keep out the wind and cold when necessary and to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures.
Good quality wooden stacking doors should be made from kiln-dried timber, as kiln drying allows the moisture content to be controlled more easily than if timber is air-dried. It also helps to maintain the properties of the timber in various climatic conditions. According to Jacobz, the ideal moisture content for the South African climate is 8% and Swartland kiln-dries all its wood in its own kilns.
Swartland’s fold-aside doors are available in its Cape Culture range, with a 10-year guarantee, and in its Winsters range, with a five-year guarantee. The company also offers its customer’s access to a full service back-up team of specially trained and highly qualified artisans.