Usually, garden rooms are built with a specific idea in mind, meaning that they are planned to be a home gym, an office garden, a home studio or any of the almost endless possibilities that they can be. As a result of that, they tend to be aimed to fulfil a very particular set of needs, therefore, even the smallest detail will impact upon your enjoyment of your new build.
Whichever the reason you are building your garden room, every minute detail is important, so the aspect so simple like “what door to have?” becomes an elimination process, and it depends on how much space you want to enjoy of the usually ample threshold that garden rooms possess. If you want to move furniture in and out, equipment or any commodities that you want to fill your garden room with, the choice of doors becomes more and more important.
There are plenty of options to set up the doors for your garden room and you should examine which is most tailored to your needs. All the options presented here have the assumption that you would like floor to ceiling glass panels that allow the most amount of natural light, being cost and energy efficient. Keep in mind insulation and that those glass panels can (and most of the time in the United Kingdom ‘should’) be double glazed, or even triple-glazed the further north you go, like in Scotland.
Overall, there’s no one size fits all answer. Cost, maintenance and available space when fully opened are just a few of the pros and cons that you should consider for each option until you find the appropriate one for you.
The most classic kind of door. Basically, French style doors are double doors that usually open outwards but can be set to open inwards if that’s your preference. They are symmetrical, elegant and simple. Although the most affordable of all the alternatives, French doors have their restrictions, as there’s a limit on how big they can be. For example, if the threshold where you want your door to be positioned is 3 meters wide (about 10 feet), average size double doors wouldn’t span the whole length, however, the rest could be covered by floor to ceiling glass. This is an easy fix that would still let in loads of natural light, but you’d lose the potential of that large opening unless those panels are also hinged.
Thoughts: as said before, French style doors might be the most affordable option, but are the least space saver of all. You also need floor space clear so they can open and there’s always the risk of a gust of wind damaging the door.
Sliding doors, as the name suggests, are made up of different panels that are placed on the threshold, with rails at the bottom and top on which they move sideways. This type of door can vary a great deal on the size as the panels don’t need to be “average size doors” as with the French style. They are also cost-effective and require little to no maintenance. One of the advantages of this kind of design is that they can have ultra-thin borders, giving the garden room an ultra-modern look. Another option to consider is having a “pocket wall”. If one of the sides of the threshold where the door will be built is bigger than the sliding panels, these could be designed so they fit all the way into the said wall, leaving no trace of the door.
Thoughts: sliding doors are a great and slick-looking option that will always feel contemporary, but they will “retract” to the size of one panel unless you manage to “pocket” them in a wall. This way you don’t need to keep the floor around the door clear as with the French style, but you are still bound to how much you can push all the panels against one side.
Bi-fold doors are a great option if you want to have lots of natural light coming in, but also want to take advantage of your plentiful threshold space. They consist of several hinged panels that fold towards one or the other side and are generally made of sturdy materials. Bi-fold doors are such a popular option that we have already covered them extensively in another article. If they pique your interest, you can learn more about bi-fold doors here: https://www.homegardenroom.com/garden-room-bi-folding-doors/
Thoughts: Just keep in consideration that bi-folding doors are a step increment in price compared to French style or sliding doors, but they are also much more compact in contrast.
French Sliding Doors
If you can’t decide which of the multiple options you prefer and your budget allows it, then you can just tick “all of the above” with an arrangement of French sliding doors. This type of set-up combines the best of the French style and the bi-fold design. They are individually hinged doors that open outwards or inwards, thus giving the look and feel of several separate doors. But when desired, they can be opened and stacked all to one side. This system allows you to have just one door open, as you would with the traditional French style, but you can also open as much as you like when needed, like the popular bi-fold option, giving you quality design and elegance to otherwise run of the mill doors.
Thoughts: this layout is a feat of engineering, as it takes the best of all three worlds and fuses them seamlessly. Usability and flexibility being key words in this instance.
Ultimately your door selection will come down to what you need and what you can afford. Be sure that the company that creates your set-up uses sturdy quality materials and the rest of the process is pretty straightforward.
One last thing, bear in mind that whilst you are making plans for YOUR garden room, you also might want to think ahead to when you might be thinking of selling your property. A modular garden room that can be optimised for potential buyers is one last factor to contemplate.