Bifolding doors for garages and car showrooms

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Nick Dardalis

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Traditionally, where large sliding doors are required to provide vehicular access to car showrooms as one example, architects have opted for heavy duty commercial aluminium sliding doors.

car showrooms can now benefit from bifolding doors as well as sliding doors.
Car showrooms can now benefit from bifolding doors as well as sliding doors.

These large sliding doors are typically set on heavy duty rollers configured with individual tracks rather than a two or three track extrusion.  These types of doors such as the SAPA 202 Hawk Door or the sliding door systems available from Henderson and others are very popular when used in car showrooms or other commercial application requiring heavy duty sliding doors.

Why commercial sliding doors differ from domestic sliding patio doors.

One of the main reasons that heavy duty sliding doors are used in commercial installations is that the doors are designed to either work as stand alone sliding doors or as part of a commercial entrance comprising aluminium entrance doors, shopfront screens and curtain walling.

Similar to domestic patio doors, heavy duty sliding doors. can work as bi parting doors or as individual sliders. Additionally, as commercial there might not be a need for double glazing, these doors can accommodate laminated glass, 10mm or 11mm glass as well as double glazed units.

But by far their biggest advantage is reliability and size.  Not only are the aluminium profiles thicker than typical doors and windows but they can be made up to 4 metres in height, support nearly half a tonne in weight and can accommodate larger spans between rollers.

Finally, commercial sliding doors can accept a wider variety of locking systems such as keypad locks, magnetic locks and other forms of security or access control.

Can bifolding doors be used in car showrooms?

If you are an installer and supply the trade, you will probably be more familiar with bifolding doors than large commercial sliding doors. Not only are bifolding doors easier to handle, but easier to fit and easier to glaze. But can you use them?

Bifolding doors can be used in place of heavy duty sliding doors but the most important consideration will be what you do at the threshold.  The commercial sliding doors have thresholds designed to be sunk into the floor and therefore not take the full weight of vehicles driving over them.  A similar consideration will need to be given if you intend to use bifolding doors.

Another obvious benefit to using bifolding doors is that they will open up an entire wall rather than sliding doors which all need fixed panels and take up part of the overall structural opening.

Generally the usage of doors used in this way is not particularly high.  Garage showrooms will typically always have a customer entrance, service reception entrance and other access doors which will always be commercial aluminium doors.

However the one advantage of bifolding doors is that they will be easier to fit for the installer that wishes to do commercial installations but keep the product range to one that he will be familiar with.

If you would like more information about heavy duty sliding doors or bifolding doors for commercial applications please contact us.