This article may be a bit too late as balconies seem to have almost disappeared from apartments with RERA kicking in. In most projects, flower beds seem to have faded out too, except in luxury apartments and stand-alone buildings. To retain the charm of balconies and enjoy a good ‘cuppa coffee’ or early morning tea, it’s important to have good quality doors. Balcony doors can be classified into three main types but are not limited to only these.
Types Of Balcony Doors :
a. Two Track Two Shutter Sliding Door – The classic, always best suited for openings of around 1800 to 2000 mm X 2100 to 2400 mm. The Two Track Slider offers 50% opening with close to 900 to 1000 mm opening to enter or exit the balcony with ease.
Balconies Add a Lot of Charm and Character to the Building Elevation
Bigger openings can be made with additional reinforcements or adding a hurricane bar. Installation is the most important aspect for the optimum performance of all balcony doors. It must be discussed with the architect/ developer/project manager prior to the commencement of the project to avoid hassles.
The doors should be installed only after the flooring is complete inside and outside. Where water ingress is not a problem, low threshold tracks can be used. Two track sliders are easier to automate too. With more and more customers going in for building automation, automatic sliders with control through IOS and Android applications, pet and proximity sensors are becoming more and more popular.
b. Three Track Three Shutter Sliding Door – Wider opening exceeding 2000 mm necessitates a bigger door system or move to three track sliders. The three track sliders also help in giving a bigger opening – 67%.
It is Important to have Good Quality Balcony Doors
It is Important to have Good Quality Balcony Doors
The challenge is going to be with newer technologies in construction – Form work and precast walls, where the wall thickness is becoming less than 125 mm. Bigger door systems have frames exceeding 150 mm. This could pose a problem.
c. Other Options –
1. Lift and slide – High performance door leader – The Lift and Slide system has become popular in the last couple of years, as large sliding shutters up to 6 sq m are possible. The lift and slide rollers are strong enough to carry up to 400 Kgs and yet slide smoothly.
2. Parallel slide – These doors combine the locking of casement doors with the possibility of sliding the door sash. These doors, however, haven’t been very successful in India due to the cost and complicated hardware for locking.
c. Shift and Slide – This is a new entrant in the market with lesser hardware and offers the possibility of bigger sashes. The shift and slide also perform better against water when compared to lift and slide doors and has lesser components, making it easier to fabricate and install. The assisted locking system seals the shutter tightly with the frame, making it the best performing door amongst all sliders.
French doors are the most common type of doors for their 100% opening and aristocratic appearance. Double French doors with Georgian Bars add a lot of charm and character to the balcony and building elevation. Different options for the bottom – with or without frame or aluminium threshold are available.
French doors offer better insulation against external weather conditions than sliders. Some systems can accommodate up to 44 mm glass, which enables one to use double/triple glazing; this, in turn, offers higher acoustic and thermal performance.
However, hardware plays a very important role in French doors. 3D hinges and multi-point locking systems are important to achieve the desired performance.
BI-Fold Balcony Doors
Bi-fold doors offer the flexibility of having a bigger opening when needed. Various combinations of shutters moving to the left or right,make these types of doors, the most flexible and customisable.
Bi-Fold Doors Offer the Flexibility of Having a Bigger Opening When Needed
The Bi-fold doors rely heavily on the hardware. Two basic types are:
• The roller at the bottom and pin at the top. The weight of the shutter is on the track below.
• The roller at the top and pin at the bottom. This enables to have a low threshold or a U-channel which can be embedded in the floor.
Swing And Slide Doors
The Swing and Slide doors – Wave doors/Open Max/Magna-slide systems are similar to bi-fold doors but each shutter can slide in-line with the frame. This saves a lot of space and adds novelty to the door.
Cost of profile systems, reinforcements and hardware are currently high, making these systems a little out of reach. Accurate installation is a must for these doors to function properly.
UPVC doors are excellent solution for balconies as they are long lasting, weather resistant and eco-friendly. Care needs to be taken while finalizing the type of door and joinery details prior to installation to achieve maximum performance.
As balconies are more functional than normal windows, hardware plays a very important role in their durability. Hinges, rollers, espagnolette should be tested for minimum of 10,000 cycles and corrosion resistance 480 hours salt spray.
Ar. Vakul Arora
Manager - Architectural Advisory Services
Vakul Arora graduated from Punjab Technical University (PTU) in 2014 and an architect by profession. He started his career as a junior architect in Ludhiana and currently working in Deceuninck Profiles India, taking care of design development & technical assistance to all the channel partners in India level. With experience of 2+ years in fenestration industry, Architect Vakul Arora 's portfolio includes system design & analysis, design solution to end customer, designing of new experience centers in India and structural calculation for windows/doors systems.