When it comes to Bi-Fold doors, there has been a rise in demand for aluminium based designs for contemporary-style extensions and new builds, which comes from its strength, aesthetic and low maintenance requirements. There are alternatives of course, such as timber (for a more traditional finish) but this needs more regular maintenance to ensure the wood is kept in good condition and to prevent rot. Aluminium frames can be much thinner than other materials, due to its comparative strength as it allows in more natural light. Aluminium as a material is not known for its thermal efficiency, so what things should be considered to ensure that the thermal efficiency of your aluminium bi-fold doors is satisfactory? I’ve put together 5 factors affecting thermal efficiency which you should consider when choosing your product.
This measures how effectively the material insulates, so when talking about Bi-Fold doors there are multiple factors that go into calculating the U value for a given Bi-fold Door System. More specifically, U-Value is a formula that measures the rate of heat transmission through building materials (in Watts) and is shown as W/m2. You need to be aware that the lower the value, the better the insulation properties are. Current U-Value regulations in the UK are 1.8W/(m2K) when replacing existing doors and 2.0 W/(m2K) for new builds or extensions.
The 3 different measurements that you are likely to encounter:
- Uf = Thermal transmittance of the frame
- Ug = thermal transmittance of the glazing
- Uw = thermal transmittance of the whole window (glazing & frame).
2. Thermal Breaks
Aluminium is a natural conductor, rather than an insulator, so a thermal break is used to separate the aluminium frame into the interior and exterior pieces, joining them together with a less conductive material. This helps prevent heat being transferred into the home when it’s hot outside, but it also helps stop heat being drawn from the home when its cold outside.
In comparison to other materials, such as uPVC or Timber, Aluminium Bi-fold doors are stronger. They are more resistant to flexing or twisting, and as such are very well suited to variable temperatures as they don’t expand and contract with heat variation. As such, the level of thermal efficiency can also be affected by this.
4. Window Energy Rating (WER)
Over 25% of the heat from homes and public buildings escapes through the windows so it’s important to consider the type of glass that your doors are fitted with. Window Energy Ratings provide an outline or overall value for how energy efficient a window is. They take into consideration the thermal efficiency, solar gain and the air leakage of the window.
Unsurprisingly, the price you pay for Bi-fold aluminium doors will indicate its quality and energy efficiency. You don’t need to buy the most expensive product, but you should choose something that meets the needs of your property as well as your budget.
There are many sites online from companies who sell aluminium bi-fold doors, just be sure to use the information outlined above to understand the difference between products and to know exactly what you can expect from the product you choose.
Are you looking for aluminium Bi-fold doors? Have you considered (or did you consider) thermal efficiency? Can you recommend any other factors to consider? Please leave a comment below as I would love to read what you think.
*Disclosure: collaborative post
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