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Bifold doors: width & curtains

(9 Posts)
ShortLass Wed 02-Nov-16 13:12:09

I'm planning to have bifold doors across the back of my house, which measures 4.6 metres internally. When I've made casual requests for information from companies, they've drawn up quotes which have the doors spanning the whole 4.6m. That leaves only the side walls on which to place a steel to hold up the back of house.

I assume this is normal for bifolds? Because I had previously thought the doors would span more like 4.2m, leaving corners of the house to carry the steel.

I ask because I have an architectural technician coming round at the weekend to discuss side extension and other remodelling. This is before any bifold doors people actually come round to quote.

It occurs to me that having 4.2 metre bifolds would give me edges for curtains to hang. I'm increasingly wanting curtains for things like softening the black wall of nighttime. I've also read that sometimes curtain tracks need to be fitted to the ceiling, or allowance needs to be made on the wall with use with bifolds. So perhaps I need to make the decision before the glass goes in.

What's others' experiences? Have a wall of glass right across the back? Do I need to think about where I will affix the curtains?
(I think internal blinds look too much like an office. I've had ordinary blinds with the patio doors and am not a fan).

A lot of people on those Grand Designs programmes don't seem to have curtains at all! Kevin McLoud says he even gets letters!

namechangedtoday15 Wed 02-Nov-16 14:04:25

I think you need to think carefully about what you want.

I think 4.6m bifolds would look odd (besides the structural issues), I think you need at least some wall space either side to kind of frame the doors (just my opinion though).

I don't think 4.2m would work if you want curtains - you're only left with 20cm either side and curtains that are 4m+ wide would have quite alot of fabric - beyond 20cm when pulled back, so they'd obscure the view when open. You also need to think about the width of the panels - as far as I know standard sizes of panels are 80cm and 1m - neither of which multiplies easily to 4.2m. I'm sure you can get bespoke doors to pretty much any size but you obviously pay more for that. If you're flexible on the width, maybe think about the configuration (so 4 x 1m etc).

I didn't like the integral blinds either but just my opinion, I think curtains would spoil the look for us (everything is quite minimalist) so we don't have anything! Its lovely!

ShortLass Wed 02-Nov-16 15:13:47

Thanks for the reply, namechanged. Hmm, hadn't thought about the amount of room the curtains need. 200 didn't seem too bad, although it was kind of a figure plucked out of the air. Perhaps I will ask a curtain person.

Bifold doors can be up to 1200mm per leaf. It's very difficult to find "standard" bifolds, you can pretty much only get the made to measure sort. One company quoted for 5 doors for 4.6m, the other for four doors for same width.

How do you get on with no curtains? Doesn't it feel cold at night? What happens when it's really sunny?

namechangedtoday15 Wed 02-Nov-16 16:06:24

We chose between 2 companies and perhaps "standard" is the wrong word, maybe I meant off the shelf.

Think how many frames you'll see (so with 5 leaves, you'll have 4 vertical frame lines in the middle if you see what I mean) and how they'll be when they're folded. 5 frames will usually take up more space width wise (so if you have an opening of 4.6m, you might end up with say 80cm taken up by the doors when they're folded back) but the extent to which they come into the room, or beyond the back wall (depending on whether they open inwards or outwards will only be 4.6/5). 4 panels will take up less room width wise when they're folded back, but they'll be 4.6/4 long (if that makes sense). Also think about whether you want a traffic door.

Not overlooked so privacy not really an issue not bothered even if we were. Doesn't feel cold, whole room is brand new (extension) and thoroughly insulated, have lovely column radiators that kick out lots of heat. As for when its sunny we live in Manchester so not really a concern its lovely.

iamaswashbuckler Wed 02-Nov-16 18:01:00

I have just put curtains up on my bifold doors, after 3 winters I decided I was sick of feeling chilly in the evenings (mine are on the wall of my living room). Ours are only 3m wide but I decided to put a curtain rail rather that a pole up so I could push them all to one end rather than have them at both, so when they are fully open they probably take up about 30-40cm. Just thought I would comment because you definitely lose heat/feel the cold in the winter through that expanse of glass!

superram Wed 02-Nov-16 18:13:05

I have a 5m gap for doors and about 15cm at either side on the rear wall. We have radiators on the side walls at that end. No curtains and get on fine as do much insulation compared to rest of the house. We actually have 2, 2.5m sliding doors as I think bi folds have too much door and not enough glass but obviously we can't open the fill space.

NeedajobBob Wed 02-Nov-16 20:41:37

I have bifolds the size you describe and I'm a curtain maker! I'd back away from curtains if I were you. Firstly, for the amount of fabric needed they'll be horrendously ££££, secondly, the amount of 'stack-back' you'd need would be huge, not to mention the sheer weight to be pulled across. Far better off with internal blinds which can be lowered from above & independently deployed. The good firms have many choices of blind finish for a nicer appearance.

ajandjjmum Wed 02-Nov-16 20:47:42

We have a 10 mt. length of bi-fold doors, overlook our garden, and we don't have curtains or window dressings at all. I was worried about the room feeling cold, but it really doesn't, in Winter or Summer. We are lucky that we don't get direct sunlight.

ShortLass Mon 07-Nov-16 15:28:49

Many thanks for all the replies. I was going to reply on Friday, but computer logged me out of MN and I couldn't remember the password confused

I think people are right that blinds are the way to go. They're not as nice as curtains, but they won't spoil the clean lines of bifolds. The systems for automatically closing/opening them are more available/sophisticated.

I believe those who say that they don't mind no curtains at their enormous windows, but I don't think I would be one of those people.

Anyway, a long way to go until then as just had architect / drawings disaster which I'll rant about on another post.

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