Bifolding doors are the most popular home improvement product today with many original sliding patio doors and French Doors being replaced by bi folding doors. So the obvious question is which is better, bi folding or sliding doors?
Most home renovations now have bifolding doors as part of the design brief because homeowners building an extension or renovating their home are choosing Bi-fold doors or considering them as part of their project.
Are bifolding doors right for your home?
Whilst many want bifolding doors in their homes, how do you know if they are right for you?
Patio doors have also advanced significantly in recent years and these are now available in many different types of configurations and options that could also make them suitable. When designing a new extension, you can also design bifolding doors for large openings. These truly open up the views in and out with expansive glass panels and the functionality of the folding action.
What to consider when choosing bifolding or patio doors
If you are embarking on any kind of renovation project it is important to talk to your builder or your architect as well as your home improvement firm. Experienced professionals will be able to give you the right information on what kind of door option best suits your needs as both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Often we might desire one product but the practicalities of it mean other factors will need to be considered. Of course, the design of your project, the space you have available and the all important budget will also be factors.
We have created a list of things to consider with both sliding doors and bifolding doors in aluminium. There is no real “disadvantage” to any product as ultimately you have to choose what is best for your own needs, but the table below provides some information on what you can consider.
|The most desirable type of door available today||When closed bifolding doors have much more visible aluminium|
|Can create complete opening glass walls||Folding leaves can be made up to 1m wide with most systems|
|Available in multiple configurations from 2 leaves up to 7 or more||Bifolding doors are more expensive|
|Low threshold options are available||Must be installed absolutely right to ensure long term reliability|
|Single Access leaves mean more flexibility when shut.||Multiple leaves need several operations to open all doors|
|Open corners can be created without a fixed post||Doors take up inside and outside space when opened|
|Wide choice of products available||If limited on outside space, open in bifolds take up space inside|
|Direct fix options available||Suitable for manual or electric blinds in the double glazed units|
|Easier to transport than sliding patio doors||Currently very popular but may date as trends change|
|Can be used as French Doors as well as bifolidng doors|
|Generally cheaper than bifolding doors.||Limited products available that can create open corners|
|Ideal for “Panoramic Glass Walls”||Limited to four panels with most systems|
|Less visible aluminium when doors are closed||Slightly heavier to open than bifolding doors|
|Suitable for small spaces such as balconies or small patios||Less choice of handle options|
|Won’t encroach into outside or inside living spaces||When all doors are open you are left with one or more fixed panel|
|Patio doors will take bigger panes of glass||Sliding operation means integral blinds may not be possible with some sliding door systems.|
|Sliding panels can be made up to 3 metres wide or high with some systems||Transport and Handling of large glazed panels may be an issue|
|Less visible hardware than bifolding doors||Large glass panels can cause issues should glass ever need replacement|
|Multiple tracks mean many different sliding options|
|Tilt and Slide options are available giving greater flexibility|
|Low thresholds typically need sinking into the floor|
|Typically slimmer sight lines than bifolding doors|
|A more flatline appearance|
|Wide choice of products available|
|Direct fix option available with no hardwood subframe needed|
What is best? A bi folding door or patio doors?
There are other factors to consider when deciding between a sliding door, patio door or a bifolding door . The choice of material will be important but talk to your local home improvement firm and make sure you are given the right advice on both products. Bifolding doors are popular and some firms may choose to sell you these over sliding patio doors highlighting the obvious advantage often cited that bifolding doors will create the seamless transition between your inside and outside spaces.
However it is important to consider the British climate and that for the majority of the time your doors will be shut. The obvious advantage of sliding doors is that there is much less visible aluminium than bifolding doors and that patio doors can be made substantially wider than folding doors. Therefore if maximum glass area is important to you patio doors may be the better option in this case.
There are very high quality, superbly well engineered sliding doors presently available. Examples of high-end sliding doors include the Air 500LS and 600LS, sliding doors that we think are some of the best you can buy. Schuco, Reynaers and most of the aluminium systems companies in the UK offer a sliding door solution. Smarts Visoglide sliding doors are now available with a very slim central section (the interlock) and these too are quality sliding doors at a lower price.
If you would like further information, advice or simply wish to ask a question, please contact us.