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There's a whole lot to love about New Zealand, and chief among them is the spectacular scenery. The picturesque landscape is one of the top reasons why so many people fly from all parts of the world to take in the natural beauty, which is evidenced by the panoramic views of rolling hills and pristine beaches.

To frame these views there are some key considerations and the best time to weigh them up is when you are in the design phase. That said, there are many award winning homes whose renovations capture the outdoor environment through clever design that utilises sliding doors.

With amazing vista at every turn, it's no surprise that one of the more common features found in many of the nation's homes - among several different architectural styles - is sliding doors. The best known sliding door is the kiwi Ranchslider® which has been a favourite for over 40 years.


Know your sliding doors

Sliding doors are an ideal option to enhance your indoor-outdoor flow, widen access to your patio, capture your stunning views and utilise the benefits of natural light for a healthier indoor environment. Typically made of two or more wide glass panels, the standard sliding door has a single panel that slides to overlap a fixed pane.

Similar to bifold doors, sliding doors can be designed to fit a range of opening sizes and can even be installed at 90-degrees, meeting in the corner for a pillarless effect. However, unlike bifolds, a standard sliding door does not fold away, leaving panels in front of your view. While this can be ideal in windier locations, if you are committed to making the most of your view and your indoor-outdoor flow, there are other options to consider.

Use sliding doors to add a distinct architectural feature, the 90°corner slider with pillarless junction, to your new home.


Consider stackers

Another option to consider for expansive scenery is the large panel of Stacker Doors. This configuration includes two or more panels that slide the same way behind a fixed panel and you can choose to have either fixed or opening windows incorporated into the non-sliding panel. They can be configured with panels that meet at a corner without a pillar, slide away into a cavity or be stacked on the outside of the home cladding. Going for a larger opening, a triple stacker adds an impactful architectural quality to your home and makes the most of any view.

The clean design of the Altus Euroslider® doors is another alternative and unlike traditional sliding doors, the Altus Euroslider® has no lower channels or cavities to collect debris. In addition, its panels slide on the outside over a fixed pane for superior weather performance.

Not only do you need to consider the width of your doors and how they slide, but also the height. Floor to ceiling windows are increasingly popular. The Altus Atlantic High Performance doors can reach up to 3.2m in height, or higher depending on unit type, application and environmental factors.

Note: Each of the doors above has different structural requirements so you will need advice from your Altus Window Systems manufacturer. Stacker doors aren't always possible to install because housing styles run the gamut. Again, your door and window supplier can provide additional guidance for alternatives when this one may not be feasible.

Use the Altus WindowSystems Eurostacker® doors to help convert your living spaces into entertainment areas and seriously enhances your views.


Be mindful of wind zone standards

"Many consider Wellington to be the windiest city in the world."

Sometimes your amazing view means your windows will be exposed to strong winds. If you're fairly new to the North or South Island, you've probably noticed New Zealand can get windy, regardless of the season. In fact many consider Wellington to be the windiest city in the world, which explains why wind turbines are widely used in the nation's capital.

As a result of these gusty conditions, where you're located in New Zealand, and if you also want a very high or wide door, there are structural and windzone requirements. A range of alternatives exist for sliding doors. For example the greater structural strength of the Altus window Systems AllSeasons thermally broken doors mean you can go higher and wider than standard sliding doors.

Weigh the potential ramifications

When you're looking for sliding doors that will enable you to see all that there is to see, naturally it's important to be aware of the fact that your choices don't occur in a vacuum.For example, the sun is out more often than not in New Zealand and your wide span doors will expose your interior, carpets and furniture to harsh ultraviolet rays. Sunlight is also a natural heat source. You will need to consider the effect of larger glass panes on the temperature of your rooms. You can use blinds, of course, but that goes only so far in substantially cooling things down.

Balance insulation with observation

Pullquote: "Double glazing helps keep the warmth inside and the cold outside."

The manner in which sliding door panels are constructed can assist with climate control, adding to a healthy home environment. Double glazing helps keep the warmth inside and the cold outside by virtue of the air pocket between the panes. That's great for energy bills in the dead of winter, and also for managing the temperature of your home in hotter months. Double glazing reduces the amount of UV light in your home and with large panes capturing your amazing views, this is an important consideration.

Using thermally enhanced joinery in  your sliding doors, you can greatly increase the thermal efficiency to what double glazing alone can provide.


Know your glass

When selecting glass, consider climate control, acoustics, UV light, safety, security, wind loading, size and height. Glass comes in many different styles and types, including - but certainly not limited to - reflective, coated, insulated glass units (IGU), efficient and safety glass. Appropriately titled, safety glass is ideal if you live with young children, as should an accident occur during rough-housing and it breaks, safety glass won't shatter into shards but rather fine pieces, thanks to being tempered.

Talk to your exclusive Altus Window Systems Fabricator to explain your situation so you get the glass that best meets your needs.

Know your materials

When enjoying the view through your sliding doors, the material that surrounds them adds aesthetic appeal. Of course, sliding doors come in a range of different materials, from wood to aluminium and uPVC. Each has its signature characteristics that makes it distinctive. For example, wood is a traditional option that suits a colonial villa aesthetic. The problem is that it can crack over time and may even warp when exposed to the elements. Alternatively aluminium windows are durable against corrosion, aesthetically modern, can be coloured to fit any design and require little maintenance.

Each material has its pluses and minuses, so be sure to run through them all and talk to home improvement experts.


Evaluate privacy concerns

Last but certainly not least is your privacy. Granted, you want a sliding door that lets in plenty of sunshine and your postcard-worthy topography, but this also allows others to see what's on the inside of your home, which you may not want all the time. Blinds can serve as a solution, but they may not be in keeping with the look and feel that you want for your interior.

Talk to your supplier to see what they have to ensure unobstructed views while maintaining your privacy and security. You may consider installing a one-way-view slider, which, as its title suggests, allows you to see outside - not the other way around. Louvres can be set back from your sliding doors, providing protection from the sun, rain and wind on your deck. Among the many other solutions are tinted or patterned glass.

From Ranchsliders® to Eurosliders®, Altus Window Systems is a leader in supplying innovative sliding door solutions for your home. We've proudly served New Zealand for more than 60 years and partner with the fabricator brands Fisher, Nebulite, Nulook, Rylock and Vistalite to not just match but also exceed our customers' service and performance expectations.

To learn more about what we can do to make your property look like you always wanted, contact us today. We'll also send you a free brochure simply by filling out the form.