Your choice of garden office doors will not only effect how you access the building, but will also play a large roll in the feel of the room.
With quality garden offices ‘house quality’ doors are used, this ensures they are sturdy, durable and feature good locking systems – all important considerations for a garden office building. You will note that we say ‘quality garden offices’ we are making the distinction between garden offices that are built using house quality materials and techniques and log cabin style buildings which are marketed as garden offices, often these buildings have their own style of door which is a thinner construction to those you would find used on a house.
With small garden offices you will want to maximize the space internally for furniture and storage, so you probably don’t want a whole wall taken up with doors! For this reason most small garden office designs have single doors.
There are several styles of single door used in garden office design, some suppliers opt for a fully glazed door which maximizes light into the room, others choose a half glazed door which features a solid bottom section and a glazed top panel.
French doors are a popular feature on both traditional and contemporary designs, as you can throw open both doors and let the outside in!
French doors are normally outward opening which means the swing of the door doesn’t take up space in the room, which offers greater flexibility for the positioning of furniture.
French doors come in several widths, there are narrow options around 1.2m wide and wider versions around 2m wide. With the wider French door options you can easily pass through the entrance with just one door open, with the narrower versions you really need to open both doors to pass through comfortably.
Many garden room designers combine French door sets with floor to ceiling glazing on each side, this creates a wall of glazing which is a popular feature particularly on contemporary designs.
Sliding or patio doors are another popular option for a garden office as they create whole walls of glazing which is considered a desirable design feature.
You are bound to have come across a sliding door as they have been popular on houses for many years, but if not you have two or more large, fully glazed doors which slide past each other on tracks.
Sliding doors normally have multiple point locking systems, and are easy to open thanks to the sliding track system.
The most desirable style of door for garden office buyers at the moment is the bi-fold system, but it is also the most expensive option.
Bi-fold doors are popular because they fold back to open up whole walls of the building, creating a free flowing connection of inside / outside space, which is rather nice as you work!
Bi-fold doors come in varying widths and configurations depending on the size of your opening, but the basic premise is that the doors are hinged in alternate directions, each one has pivot points which sit in tracks at the top and bottom of the frame. As each door is unlocked they can be gently pushed and as they move they fold back on each other, opening up the whole wall.
Each door in the system has its own locking system, and the master door can be unlocked and opened without having to fold back the whole wall – ideal if you are just popping in the room or if its a cold day.
Often the master door is to one side of the opening, but on wider openings can be in the center with one set of doors folding to the left the other to the right. In most cases the folded back doors sit outside the garden office which is a good use of space, but some designs fold back inside the room – talk these things through with your chosen supplier.
Many people when folding back the whole wall like to have no step between the internal floor and the external finish eg deck, in these situations your supplier can specify that the threshold of the door system is flush with both the inside and outside floor levels – this gives an illusion of a continuous space.
Sometimes you don’t want to make it obvious there is a door in a wall of your garden office, in these cases a concealed door can be created.
An example of where concealed doors are used in garden office design is where the office space has an adjoining storage shed. Many people don’t want it to be clear that there is a door to another room, for security or aesthetic reasons.
For a concealed door to work it needs to blend into the wall. Garden room designers take a door and then clad it in the same material as the wall. Done well the cladding will match seamlessly with the cladding on each side, both in positioning of the boards and the colour of the wood.
Multi room garden office designs are becoming more and more popular, and if you are going to the length of dividing up the internal space you will want doors on the different rooms.
Garden office designs use the same sort of internal doors as you would find in your house. You have lots of choice from paneled doors or flush doors to glazed doors.
If your garden office needs to comply with Building Regulations the internal doors may need to be fire doors, but your supplier will advise and organize these for you so that you are fully compliant.
You don’t see them often, but pocket doors are a great space saving solution where space is at a premium.
As you know a door has a swing to it, this is an area that need to be kept clear so that the door can easily be opened. Sometimes this is too much space to sacrifice, and this is where pocket doors could be a solution.
Pocket doors run on a track system and when they are opened virtually disappear into the structure of the building.
The structure of the walls need to be specially designed so that there is a void within its structure that can accommodate the door when it is open.
Pocket door systems are potentially an option on both external and internal doors, but they are probably only an option offered by bespoke garden office designers.
In most cases the doors used on garden office designs are outward opening so as to maximize the space within the room, but there is some argument that inward opening doors are safer.
The argument is that with outward opening doors the hinges are on the outside of the door, and could therefore be tampered with and the door lifted out of the frame by a burglar, with inward opening doors the hinges are on the inside of the room so it is much more difficult to access them.
Its a fair argument, but if a burglar is going to the length of removing the hinges of the doors to get in, they are pretty serious and probably get in whether the hinges or inside or outside!
As we started this article off saying, the doors used on quality garden offices are the same as those you will find used on houses and the material options are the same, from softwoods which need regular maintenance to low maintenance UPVC and high spec Alu-clad finishes. We discuss these finishes in more depth in our garden office window guide.
Depending on your choice of door finish as to how much attention they will need over the years.
Softwood doors are prone to swell in winter and shrink back in the summer, this can make them difficult to open and close. Judgement needs to be made as to when softwood doors need planing, because you don’t want to take too much off and then there be a draft!
If you are buying a garden office with softwood doors ask your supplier about their aftercare policy when it comes to the doors – specifically ask that if they need adjusting will they come and do that for you, and will they charge or is a return visit included in the price you are paying?
Hardwood doors are more dimensionally stable than their softwood counterparts, but they can still need adjustment, so if your design has hardwood doors, again ask your supplier about aftercare.
UPVC and Alu-clad doors are much more dimensionally stable so won’t swell and shrink like wooden doors. If these styles of door do need adjustment its easily done with a screwdriver. A few suppliers have videos on their website which show you how to adjust the doors.
Wooden doors will need a decorative finish applied every few years to maintain the appearance and preserve the wood, UPVC and Alu-clad doors need nothing more than a soapy water wash down.
The glazier who installed the windows for Garden Office HQ advises that the hinges and locks are lubricated on UPVC and Alu-clad doors once a year to keep everything running smoothly, we do this with WD-40.