Tuesday, November 26 2019
Outdoor living spaces are growing in popularity, and deck and patio designs continue to evolve into luxurious and impressive living areas built for lounging and entertaining. If you are looking for ideas and inspiration for your deck or patio remodel, you might want to consider some of the biggest trends listed below.
Bi-Fold Doors Create California-Style Outdoor Rooms
The biggest outdoor living trend by far are bi-fold doors. Bi-fold doors create open-air living spaces and erase the boundaries between inside and out. Large door systems extend the indoor living area to the outdoors, creating this California-style outdoor room built for entertaining.
Kitchen Passthrough Windows for Easy Outdoor Dining
Another deck and patio design trend that has increased in popularity is the bi-fold kitchen passthrough window. This popular design creates a servery window from the kitchen to the outdoor deck and makes it easy to pass food and drinks from inside to out. The window is often placed above the kitchen sink and the kitchen counter extends through to the outside and creates a bar counter with extra outdoor dining space.
Outdoor Kitchen and Bar Area
Outdoor kitchens have always been a desired feature and with the growing trend of outdoor living they have become one of the top design features homebuyers want. An outdoor kitchen with a grill, gas burners, and a sink make hosting barbecues an easy and effortless task. A kitchen combined with an outdoor bar set-up will allow for the ultimate outdoor entertaining space.
Outdoor Fireplaces and Fire Pits
Some of the most luxurious deck designs include outdoor fireplaces and fire pits for entertaining. A fire feature can make a beautiful design statement with unique stone or tilework. Plenty of comfy seating surrounding the fire creates a gathering area for family and friends to relax and enjoy the warmth.
Ceiling-Mounted Electric Indoor/Outdoor Heaters
Another popular patio and deck design feature is a ceiling-mounted electric heater. These heaters are easy to operate and can keep you warm on a cool night when lighting a fire seems like too much work.
Outdoor TV Area
Deck designs are seeing more outdoor TV areas built for relaxing outside. You can host outdoor movie nights or sports viewing parties and enjoy the weather while barbecuing and hanging outdoors.
String Lights for Outside
Another outdoor living trend is the use of string lights to illuminate outdoor spaces at night. These lights create a relaxing and mystical atmosphere perfect for outdoor parties in the late evening.
A deck/patio is an extension of your home and should be used as an addition living space. Having an outdoor living space where you can relax and entertain will improve your lifestyle. To create the outdoor living space of your dreams using bi-fold patio doors, complete this form to talk to an expert about your project.
Thursday, November 21 2019
Sunlight is important for your overall health and well-being. Bringing natural light into your home can make you feel happier, less stressed, and more energized. If you want to bring more sunlight into your home and brighten up your space, there are some different ways you can achieve this.
Are Skylights or Windows the Best Option?
You might be wondering if a skylight or fixed window is the best investment to bring more sunlight into your space. Skylights/windows will be successful in brightening your home; however, they are limited in their features and benefits. Skylights and some window styles aren’t operable and can’t be opened to let in fresh air and ventilate the space. Though your space will have additional light, it will still be closed off and could make the space feel smaller than it is. If you want to make your space feel brighter and more open, there is a better way to accomplish this.
Large Glass Doors Let the Light In
A better way to illuminate your space with an abundance of natural light is by installing a large glass door system. You can use a folding or sliding door to eliminate walls and replace them with glass. There are many other benefits that come with installing a large glass door system in addition to increased sunlight.
Folding and Sliding Doors Increase Airflow
The ability to fold or slide your glass doors opens means your home will have plenty of airflow. You can open doors on cooler summer nights to cool down your home and create ventilation. When you use more than one large glass door system in your home, you can create cross ventilation and significantly reduce your need for electric cooling systems.
Large Door Systems Extend Your Space to the Outdoors
Large glass doors are a better investment because not only do they bring plenty of sunlight into your home, but they make your home feel bigger by expanding it to the outdoors. Folding and sliding doors create a smooth transition from your indoor space to your outdoor living area making it perfect for entertaining.
Your Home Will Be More Energy Efficient
Folding and sliding doors have many glass options that will insulate your home and increase energy efficiency. The doors can keep the cold inside during the summer and keep the warmth in during the winter. You will reduce your energy costs by running your air conditioning and heater less. The additional natural light will also eliminate your need for electric lighting during the daytime.
Folding and Sliding Glass Doors Create Expansive Views
Another benefit of having a wall of glass means you will have expansive views of the surrounding nature. This connection to nature will create a relaxing environment and increase your quality of life.
Glass Doors Offer Accessibility and Safety
Opting for a large glass door system instead of window or skylight means your home will have another access point. You can enter or exit your home through your folding or sliding door and it provides another safe exit in the event of an emergency.
A large glass folding or sliding door is the best option for bringing more sunlight into your home. To learn more about the benefits of glass walls, complete this form to talk to a glass door expert.
Thursday, November 14 2019
People want to make their house larger for many reasons— a growing family, more room for entertaining, or simply needing more living space in your home are all common goals of those looking to increase the size of their dwelling. There are different ways to increase the square footage of your home and create a larger living space. This guide will cover the obvious ways of expanding your home and the more creative ways you might not have thought of.
One way to make your house bigger is by adding on a new room or expanding existing ones. You can add on an entirely new master suite or gain some space by expanding the kitchen and living spaces. Additions are the most obvious way to make your home larger, but what do you do if you don’t have anywhere to expand your floorplan?
Another way to make your home bigger is by adding on a second story. You can gain valuable square footage adding a master suite onto the second floor and creating a second living space upstairs. This method isn’t always possible, practical, or cost effective.
Transform a Garage or Basement
If you’re looking for a faster, more affordable fix, you might consider transforming your garage or basement into a bonus living space. Turn the garage or basement into a kid’s playroom, media room, or guest quarters. This could be right for you if you lack extra space to expand outward or upward.
Install a Large Door System
A creative way to make your home feel bigger is by expanding it to the outdoors with large door systems. You can use a large accordion glass door to connect your home to the outside and create a luxury outdoor living experience. With a seamless transition from inside to out, your home will both feel and appear larger and have more space for entertaining. You might also consider pocketing sliding doors that disappear into the wall and erase the boundaries between your indoor living space and your outdoor entertainment area and creating one cohesive indoor/outdoor living space. Learn more about expanding your living space with accordion glass doors.
Convert a Shed
If adding on to your home is not an option, but you have space for a small shed on your property, you may want to consider investing in a manufactured storage shed and converting it into your bonus space—this space can become your art studio, playroom, media space, and more!
Reconfigure Your Floorplan
When you absolutely lack the space to expand your home in any direction, remodeling your home and reconfiguring your floorplan is a great option. Even though you can’t add square footage to the house, you can utilize every inch of your space and make it function and feel like a bigger home.
You can use one of these methods or combine a few to achieve your dreams of a bigger home. Whichever route you take, be sure to consult with an expert about your project—talk to contractors, architects, and large door system experts to plan and execute your project and ensure it is done properly and meets building code requirements. Read this article for advice and tips on hiring a trustworthy contractor.
Thursday, November 07 2019
If you are investing in a large folding, sliding, or swinging patio door system, you might be wondering how you can screen such a large opening. The best solution for screening a large opening and protecting your home from bothersome insects and other unwanted debris is a retractable accordion screen system. These accordion screens are unlike any other and will be a valuable addition to your door system. Read below to have all your retractable accordion screen questions answered.
How Do Retractable Accordion Screens Work?
Many people wonder how these innovative screen systems work—retractable accordion screens are easy to operate and slide open and closed seamlessly. When in use, the screen expands and covers the entire opening. Made with fine mesh, the screen protects your home without impeding the expansive view to the outside. When not in use, the screen retracts into a narrow segment at the edge of your door system and is almost unnoticeable.
Are Retractable Accordion Screens Visible When Not in Use?
Retractable accordion screens are slightly visible when retracted, however they condense into a narrow segment that is only a few inches wide. If you would rather your screen system be completely out of sight, you can choose to have it pocketed inside the door jamb. When screens are pocketed, everything is perfectly tucked away out of view, but the screen’s pull handle is easily accessed at the pocket’s edge.
How Are Retractable Accoridon Screens Installed?
AG Millworks is the only manufacturer that installs your retractable accordion screen in the factory. Screens are fully integrated into your door jamb by expert installers, eliminating the possibility of erroneous installation and guaranteeing a perfectly functioning screen system. Screen installation is complicated and requires precision, so contractors and door installers prefer the AG Millworks built-in screen option to ensure speed and accuracy when installing your door system.
How Big Can Retractable Accordion Screens Be?
Retractable accordion screens are available for openings as wide as 32’ and as tall as 10’6”. This width is possible by using two 16’ screens that connect at the center. If you prefer the appearance of two screens meeting at the center, you can choose to use this configuration for smaller openings as well.
Can Retractable Accordion Screens Be Paired with Any Door System?
Retractable accordion screens can be paired with any door system, as long as it doesn’t exceed the maximum dimensions of 32’ wide and 10’6” tall. Accordion screens are compatible with single French swing doors, double French swing doors, bi-fold doors, multi-slide doors, and lift and slide doors.
Are Retractable Accordion Screens Easy to Maintain?
Accordion screens are low maintenance. The screen track should be kept free of debris and the mesh should be dusted to remove dirt and dust build-up. You can easily clean the track with a low-suction vacuum with a soft brush attachment. Please see our Door Care Guide for full screen maintenance information.
Learn more about our door systems and retractable accordion screen options and talk to a door expert about your upcoming project.
Tuesday, November 05 2019
If you’re beginning your home remodel or new construction project and plan to use a bi-fold door system to open your home to the outside and create a seamless indoor-outdoor living space, there are some things you need to know about ordering a bi-fold door. The ordering process for a 100% custom, handcrafted bi-fold door can be daunting because there are so many design options to choose from. Here is a guide to help you buy the perfect bi-fold door that will complement your space and create the outdoor living room of your dreams.
What Size Should Your Bi-Fold Door Be?
One important factor to consider when buying a bi-fold door is the size of the system. Unless you are building a new home, you are probably working with an existing space that needs to be reconfigured to accommodate a large opening for your bi-fold door.
How big do you want your opening to be? Do you want a standard 12’ opening, or something more dramatic? Bi-fold doors can be made with panel sizes as large as 4’ wide and 13’ tall.
The size of your opening depends on the space you’re working with; your bi-fold door is custom-made to fit your specific design needs with no upcharge for odd sizes.
What Bi-Fold Configuration is Best?
Another important decision to make when buying a bi-fold door is the system configuration. The bi-fold door configuration is the direction the doors fold when viewing the system from the exterior. Your door configuration will be based on the size and number of panels on your bi-fold door.
A standard 12’ bi-fold door system typically has four door panels, which can open in the following configurations: 4L (four left), 1L3R (one left, three right), 2L2R (two left, two right), 3L1R (three left, one right), or 4R (four right). Click here to see a full list of available configurations.
Odd Configurations are Best
It is best to choose an odd configuration for your bi-fold door if you want to have easy access to your outdoor space—only odd configurations have “daily doors” which allow you to operate a single door without opening the entire bi-fold system.
Odd configurations also allow for exterior access through your bi-fold. Odd configurations of a standard four panel bi-fold include: 1L3R or 3L1R. These two configurations provide a daily door with exterior access.
Special Configurations to Consider
Bi-fold doors have several special configurations that might be perfect for your space.
Zero-Corner | If you want to open an entire corner of your room to the outdoors, you may want to consider a zero-corner bi-fold door. This configuration features two bi-fold doors that meet at a 90-degree angle and have no supporting post at the corner. When doors are open, walls literally disappear.
Window-Door Combo | Another special bi-fold configuration available is the bi-fold window-door combination. This configuration features a bi-fold window and bi-fold door which connect at the center and can fold open to create open spaces and a kitchen passthrough window.
Don’t Forget Your Floorplan When Picking a Configuration
When deciding on the best bi-fold configuration for your new door system, be sure to take your floor plan and indoor and outdoor layouts into consideration. You want to make sure the configuration will work well with your furniture placement and layouts, and that your doors, when stacked open, won’t be in the way of any paths, furniture, or views.
Should Your Bi-Fold Door Be Energy Efficient?
Energy performance of your bi-fold is a big deal—especially in California. With new building energy standards going into effect under California’s Title 24 law in 2020, it is recommended that you choose an energy efficient bi-fold door with NFRC ratings that will meet the new requirements.
The benefits of choosing an energy efficient bi-fold door are as follows: less heat gain in the summer, less heat loss in the winter, more natural light, and more airflow. All of these translate to less overall energy consumption, lower electric bills, and better quality of life for you and your community.
What are the Most Durable and Quality Materials for Bi-Fold Doors?
Aluminum Clad/Wood Bi-Folds
Only the best, highest-quality bi-fold doors are made with aluminum clad exteriors and wood interiors. The aluminum clad exterior is strong and durable and withstands the elements while maintaining its’ beauty and sleek design. The wood interior is beautiful and luxurious and can be any of the 18 wood species available.
Solid Accoya Wood Bi-Folds
When your design requires a solid wood door, Accoya Wood bi-folds are the best option. Accoya is modified timber that is naturally treated through a unique acetylation process. Accoya resits rot, defies the elements, and stays strong for decades, making it the perfect material for solid wood bi-fold doors. Click here to download a free Accoya Wood brochure.
Another available material option for your bi-fold door is an all-wood system made from the wood species of your choice. Though this option has more risks associated with water and elemental damage, it could still be a good option for you if you have an expansive overhang protecting the exterior of the bi-fold.
Can Your Bi-Fold Door Be Any Color?
The exterior of your bi-fold door can be any color you choose. There are standard color options available, or you can choose any custom color you want. Your bi-fold exterior clad color can even be custom matched to the other doors and windows in your home to create a cohesive look.
The interior wood finish of your bi-fold door can be painted or stained. For a more contemporary look, doors can be painted black or white. To create a more traditional and classic design, doors can be stained to highlight the beautiful grain patterns.
Which Stiles and Rails are Best?
Door stiles are the vertical sides of the glass panel, and rails are the horizontal pieces at the top and bottom. There are multiple stile and rail options to pick from, however none of the are superior to another, and all are solely based on design taste and preference.
European Slim Stiles and Rails
The most popular stile and rail design is the European Slim. Euro Slim stiles and rails are the most narrow and contemporary option, with a width of 3-7/16”.
Traditional Stiles and Rails
Another design favorite is the Traditional stiles and rails. This design features top rails and stiles that are 4-3/4” with 7” bottom rails. This creates a more classic look and fits best with traditional-style homes.
Dynamic Stiles and Rails
The third option for your bi-fold door design is Dynamic stiles and rails. Dynamic stiles and rails are 4-3/4” wide and are a middle ground between European Slim and Traditional.
What is the Best Screen System for Your Bi-Fold Door?
Retractable accordion screens are the best screening option for your bi-fold door system. Screens are factory installed and fully integrated into the door jamb, creating a seamless design that slides open smoothly when needed.
The retractable screen is available in black or white pull handles and can accommodate bi-fold doors as wide as 32’ (when two screens meet in the middle) and 10’6” tall. Screens can be pocketed inside the door jamb to hide completely out of sight.
Can Your Bi-Fold Door Have Divided Lites?
Your bi-fold door can be made with almost any divided lite configuration you can imagine. Bi-folds can even be made with divided lite configurations that match the existing doors and windows in your home.
Divided lites are available in various sizes and shapes and can enhance your home design and create a more prominent cottage, craftsman, or contemporary style.
Handle Sets - Don't Overlook These!
There are plenty of standard handle set options, modern and traditional, that are available in various finishes, so there is bound to be one that will match your style. If you cannot find the perfect hardware for your design, there are special order options also available.
Which Sill is Best for Your Bi-Fold?
The best bi-fold sill is the Raised Aluminum Sill because it offers the best protection from water penetration. This sill is recommended for all bi-fold doors because it is extremely weather-tight.
If you require a smoother transition from inside to out, the Ultra Guide Sill might be the best one for you. This sill is a track that is completely flush with the floor, however it risks water penetration.
Can Your Bi-Fold Door Have a Matching Transom Above It?
Your bi-fold can be made with a matching transom to maximize the natural light in your space. Bifold-transom combinations are engineered to withstand the risk of header deflection.
To talk to a bi-fold door expert about your upcoming project, please fill out this contact form or call 805-644-4494.