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Sliding Folding doors help

(36 Posts)
carrotandtomato Tue 22-Jan-13 16:12:10

I've been researching folding doors for our extension and I've been getting confused about who manufactures and fits their own brand doors and who supplies and fits other brands of doors manufactured elsewhere.

1st Folding Sliding Doors told me that 'their' doors are made in 'their' factory in High Wycombe but then I went on the Bifold Direct website and their doors look remarkably similar and are also made in High Wycombe. So a bit more digging and I think they both just supply and fit Origin Easifold doors.

This is what I think is right but if anyone knows different or has any advice, I would be grateful.

- Origin Easifold are manufactured in the UK and supplied and fitted by 3rd parties like 1st folding sliding doors and Bifold Direct

- Sunflex are manufactured in Germany and fitted by 3rd parties like ID Systems and quite alot of smaller suppliers

- Kloeber make and fit their own brand doors

- Express Bifolding Doors make and fit their own brand doors?

- Sunseeker make and fit their own brand doors

- Sunfold doors are made ? and are fitted and supplied by 3rd parties.

- Sunparadise make and fit their own doors

- Shuco doors are German made but don't know who supplies and fits them?

Argh! Is any of that right?

It seems that you can get Origin Easifold doors and Express Bifolding Doors in 2/3 weeks but it takes 6-8 from everyone else?

Sorry this is long, its such a lot of money and every supplier thinks their doors are the best...

I think the brand of door is probably the most important but also the supplier/fitter needs to be recommended to me so that the after sales service is good.


TheSmallPrint Tue 22-Jan-13 16:25:29

Does it matter if they manufacture their own doors? (real question not snippy!)

ID systems are very expensive but I think Sunflex don't sell direct? They have been installed on one project of ours and appear OK.

We specified Kloeber on another (not convinced they make their own though) and had all sorts of issues on delivery and installation. Not sure I would spec them again. Shame as they look nice!

Shuco are a good make I understand but haven't used them myself.

Your best bet is to try and see some installed if you can, and have a go at operating them. Also try and speak to the owner of the property and see what they think.

wadadlis Tue 22-Jan-13 16:33:50

Hi, we have Sunparadise doors.

They were made by Sunparadise, but fitted by our builders to a 'pre-prepared opening'.

Their after sales service has been excellent and the doors look really smart, nearly 4 years on. Money well spent.

We are in north London, you are welcome to come and see them if you want. Or they have a show room on Eel Pie Island which is in Chiswick, SW London.

dinkystinky Tue 22-Jan-13 16:36:32

Problem with Sunparadise doors (which we also have) is that they dont have a handle on the outside to open them - bit of a design flaw...

wadadlis Tue 22-Jan-13 16:46:09

you can get them with an outside handle but then they don't fold as flat. We opted not to have an outside handle and I can still open the doors if they shut accidentally by pulling at the seal - not easy but it is possible.

carrotandtomato Tue 22-Jan-13 20:27:33

Thanks, Sunparadise are near me so maybe I'll go and have a look.

I'm not sure if it matters if they are manufactured elsewhere I suppose. Although the manufacturers based in the UK like Origin Easifold seem to have a much quicker turnaround which suits us as our builder wants them quite soon.

How does anyone wait 8 weeks? I've only been able to measure the opening this week and he wants them in about 3/4 weeks to close and dry out the extension...

TheSmallPrint Tue 22-Jan-13 21:22:35

6-8 weeks is not unusual for doors and windows.

takeaway2 Tue 22-Jan-13 21:34:07

We saw some schuco doors and windows at a friend's house recently and they were fab. They also got them imported directly from Europe and it's cheaper. They got a local installer to install them and v impressed with the quality.

Nickers1986 Wed 23-Jan-13 10:19:49

Hi, hope you don't mind me commenting on this post but couldn't help but see it this morning! Funnily enough I work at the Origin head office in High Wycombe. We manufacture our own system - the Easifold door system - you are right, we manufacture the doors at our factory then sell through accredited agents nationwide, including 1st Folding Sliding Doors in Perivale and Bifold Direct in Ascot. We offer a promise called 'Your lead time, not ours' which means we can manufacture bespoke doors in any configuration as quickly as you or your builder need them. Please feel free to call me on 0845 4506662 or email info@origin-global.com for any further information.

TheSmallPrint Wed 23-Jan-13 13:57:16

That's interesting Nickers, I'm not far from there, do you have a showroom?

RatherNot Wed 23-Jan-13 16:20:25

IIRC, Express Bifold supplies Schuco as well as their own brand. They're also able to work to a 2 week lead time, I think. I have some of their own brand doors but they were a mis-specced order so I was able to get them immediately (therefore can't comment on how reliable their lead time estimate is) but so far, so good. We acquired internal blinds with our doors, which we didn't actually need, but I understand from others they're a good option to consider as they're far neater looking. Express has a showroom in Redhill, if that's any good??

Honestyisbest Tue 05-Feb-13 10:39:43

Hi Nickers, we are considering Origin bifolds right now. Do you offer a decent guarantee? They will be fitted by our builder.

herethereandeverywhere Tue 05-Feb-13 21:39:55

We have Sunparadise doors, they have a handle on the outside confused (and the inside!)

We had woeful customer service but I think we "challenged' them by ordering a glass roof, windows and french doors as well as the bifolds so that the whole of the back of the house matched. Lots of delays and v.poor communication. They look great now installed though.

keelyclou Mon 25-Feb-13 14:03:45

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

foldingdoormansurrey Tue 05-Mar-13 14:03:40

hi Nickers.
proved me right origin supply builders direct who then install them under cutting your poor mugs or accredited showrooms who promote your product! good one>>

foldingdoormansurrey Tue 05-Mar-13 14:18:23

best advice, visit a specialist showroom see the doors and get the right advice, prices and service are always better locally as they rely on their reputation. great folding doors in chobham surrey..

ILoveMondays Tue 10-Jun-14 12:54:49

Did you get your doors CAT? How did you get on?

teacher1234 Thu 03-Dec-15 08:57:11

Just coming to the discussion very late - but for anyone interested we have just had Origin doors fitted by their recommended installer - 1st slidingfolding doors - and we have endless problems and we are still not resolved.
The biggest frustration is 1st slidingfolding doors lack good customer service, so communication with them is an endless chasing game, and time wasted delays.
Be wary.

70percent Wed 02-Mar-16 14:18:41

Teacher1234 - not sure if I can resurrect this but we've been recommended 1st folding sliding doors (in Perivale) for bifolds so very keen to hear about any problems. What happened in the end? Thanks

teacher1234 Wed 02-Mar-16 17:15:12

I cannot honestly recommend using . It has taken 4.5 months of sorting, which Origin in the end handled as 1st sliding communication was so slow.

We now have doors that work and look great although slightly damaged. We are still trying to get guarantees for them though.

70percent Sun 06-Mar-16 11:54:15

Thank you teacher1234. Could you pm me where you live - we have 1st folding sliding coming round this week so not sure whether to cancel and find someone else, or raise this with them...

DarkBlueEyes Sun 06-Mar-16 12:07:06

This is very very interesting! I put bifolds in our last house and chose Solarlux (German) Doors fitted by ODC who are based in Chiswick. I also looked at Sunfold and Kloeber (but couldn't have Kloeber as I wanted timber one side and painted aluminium on the other). One thing I became focused on obsessed about was the profile of the doors. Many of them are very "busy" with lines/joins etc (eg Origin), and I wanted a totally clear, blank profile which the solarlux have. Probably makes them more expensive though, sigh. I'm going to be doing more bifolds here in my new house and am researching, so this list is super super helpful, thank you. Do have a look at the profiles (close up) to make sure you are happy. It could just be my ridiculous "thing" but I like a clear profile!

roses2 Tue 10-May-16 18:03:18

I had a bifold door fitted two months ago.

We approached 1st Sliding Doors in Perivale. Whilst their sales team were helpful, they only had Origin doors for sale and were £1k more expensive than bifolddoorfactory.co.uk who sell Schuco doors.

We paid £4k for a 3.6m triple glazed bifold and it was fitted two weeks after the measurements were taken.

nick4692 Fri 01-Jul-16 06:17:19

I own and run the Aluminium Trade Supply Website and we receive daily enquiries about Origin and Schuco doors.

There's a lot of marketing hype with home improvements so it's important to separate the facts from the sales patter. If I may share nearly 30 years in the business and give you some insight into thse products.

Origin doors are excellent, there’s no best product on the market but Origin pioneered a lot of innovations in bifolding doors and are arguably the market leaders.

Nobody is sure why one of the most common product comparisons is between Origin and Schuco so I’ll explain a bit more below

Origin and Schuco:
Both these doors are excellent and meet current standards. Therefore as far as security, weathering and quality of product is concerned both and others meet these requirements. However Origin supply their doors to America and they’ve had these hurricane tested, as far as I’m aware Schuco have not. We won’t put our bifolds under anywhere near the duress of other countries but it shows how well Origin are engineered. But if your doors won’t be exposed to the elements, this probably won’t matter too much. So for security and weathering both are on a par.

The Origin door is the best selling bifolding door in the UK. Origin are the only company in the UK to offer a 20 year guarantee with the product, it’s the only one available on quick lead times and it’s one of only a few doors on the market that is only made by one company. To some people the 20 year guarantee is important. To others that have no plans to remain in the property that long, perhaps not so important. But it’s there.

The door and window industry supply chain can be complex and generally the Systems Company provide the bars of aluminium and the components to a network of fabricators. This means for most bifolding doors there can be any number of people that make it. With about 14000 window and door companies in the UK, each will have their own source of supply, but the point here is that Origin are the only people that make their doors and therefore quality control is much stricter. Origin the company, the products, the people are all fantastic. It’s a great product made by a great British company.

The Schuco product is long established all over the world and it is the preferred name of Architects, high end homes and anywhere that a well engineered product is required. If I was pushed I would say the Schuco door is better engineered than the Origin and it’s the typical ‘German Engineering’ ethos behind it. I’ve been involved with the manufacturing of these doors and how they’re put together is very impressive. Much of this engineering you don’t see but arguably schuco doors are the better designed within. Even thought Schuco don’t have the 20 year guarantee I can tell you Schuco doors and windows in commercial buildings installed over 30 years ago and where the use is far more intensive are still performing as they should to this day.

If I was pushed again I would go Schuco simply because its rarer and I know what Schuco do as a company with their other products. It’s Schuco you’ll see on Grand Designs for example where you see the large panoramic glass doors and screens and generally this is the choice of architects.

I would advise you that if you’re comfortable with the fact that both doors meet/exceed the required quality standards then go with the door you like the look of the most. This in my experience is what the homeowner looks for the most. What is the better looking door? Origin you’ll see is a bit more rounded in it’s appearance. Schuco is more flatline and is slimmer. I would also look at the hardware. The door handles on the Origin door are made by Debar and they’re excellent. They feel well sprung, robust and great quality. The Schuco handles and locking gearing is designed by Schuco and made only for them. For me I like the contemporary look of their hardware and it’s also very well made indeed.

The other difference is the door catch on the doors that holds them together when open. Origin use a strong magnet, Schuco use an engineered catch were you can adjust how tight the doors are held in place. It’s only a small thing and the Origin magnet isn’t better or worse, just different.

So my advice is go with the door you like the look and study the details like handles, locks, gaskets, how the profiles look and the overall feel of them because they’re both very good in their own way.

If I was to compare another product I would look at Reynaers. Reynaers like Schuco are installed in some of the best properties the world over. Brilliantly engineered very well made and look great too.

The other doors you may find are AluK or Smarts. These too are just fine but they use more ‘generic’ hardware and in my view a bit more 'basic'. These are very popular doors that you find all over the place and at vastly different price points. They’re good looking doors but for me Origin/Schuco/|Reynaers far surpass these.

There are then some fantastic frameless bifolding doors by Frameless Glass Curtains in Kent.

Then you move onto the more expensive although the same in quality such as Sunfold and Sunflex. Theres also Centor. All of these come from abroad but are there in the mix as well but i would imagine far longer lead times.

U Values are very similar on all doors and in my experience rarely a consideration with homeowners but the Schuco door has the better U Values depending on the type that’s been tested.

So whilst all bifolds meet all current standards for weather, security, quality of aluminium, quality of paint etc etc, some are better engineered and better made. Go for one of the premium ones assuming their within your budget and the doors that you like aesthetically - go with the doors you like the look of the most and those that will meet your needs the best.

DarkBlueEyes Fri 01-Jul-16 15:12:32

Very helpful Nick! My last doors were Solarlux ones I got from ODC and I really liked the clean profile (no lines on them) and Origin are too busy for my liking (lines on the aluminium), I need to see some Schuco ones up close and personal before looking. Also want to look at Origin and Gray and Kloeber this time, just to make sure. My doors were lots of £££ so I would be happy to find a less expensive model I love the look of.

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