How the Bi folding Door Market is Changing

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Nick Dardalis

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Within the home improvement sector aluminium products are enjoying a degree of success, in part due to the popularity of the bifolding door. Over the last 10 years bifolding doors have become more desirable with consumers as illustrated by this chart demonstrating the rise in the volume of people searching Google for information:

screenshot 2015-11-24 09.16.51

As you might expect this rise in consumer demand has driven a corresponding rise in the number of systems companies producing Bifolding door systems.  This leads to a dramatic increase in the number of fabricators electing to manufacture more than one system, and thus an increase in the number of traditional double glazing firms electing to start selling aluminium bi fold doors.  Which in turn leads to greater consumer awareness of the bi folding door market.

info about bifolding door market

An increase in competition amongst trades suppliers of bi folding doors.

bifolding door manufacturers are evolving to offer their customers more choice.
Bifolding door manufacturers are evolving to offer their customers more choice.

Insight Data reports that there are around 800 aluminium fabricators in the UK. Even though that is a small proportion of the overall number of fabricators in the double glazing sector these fabricators will know that in order to grow and avoid being swallowed up by the larger non-aluminium fabricators they must look to develop the range of products they offer.

Aiming for the premium end of the market

One area that is showing growth in the door and window trade market is the availability of “luxury” door and window products. There is a growing list of established trade manufacturers adding to their existing product range and offering a high-end bifolding door and window solution.

Lister Trade Frames, Dekko Window Systems, Everglade Windows and other well-known names now have a high end side to their trade business.

Some of these trade suppliers are even rebranding and separating the luxury brand of their business from their core products with new websites and a different brand appearance.

Moving away from “mainstream” bifolding doors.

A few years ago when visiting a typical double glazing firm it was quite likely that the consumer would encounter the same product on display in multiple showrooms. Products by systems companies such as Smarts and Beaufort (now AluK) were often the norm. There is nothing wrong with these products and they remain great sellers. However it stands to reason that if a customer sees the same bifolding door everywhere they go, price then becomes the deciding factor rather than the product itself.

Therefore, in an attempt to broaden the market we have seen a shift in both trade manufacturers and trade buyers of bifolding doors to add premium and designer ranges to their existing product offerings.

Offering a comprehensive range of doors.

the large and comprehensive eden windows showroom in kent
The comprehensive Eden Windows Showroom in Kent with several bifolding door products on offer.

Some trade manufacturers are actually manufacturing more than one system. CDW Systems in Gloucester, an established trade supplier of fabricated aluminium to the trade, offers five different bifolidng door products. Other trade installers are also looking to introduce new doors by systems companies that some may not have heard of such as Kaye Building Systems.

Bifolds Bi Design based in Colchester are a good example of a company that set up to manufacture bifolding doors but instead of opting for SAPA, AluK or Smarts, chose Kaye and Reynaers.

The typical double glazing installer is seeing the benefits of increased consumer demand for a product that is very much in the growth stage of the product cycle.

The bifolding door is in the growth stage of the product cycle, with the market still adapting to increased consumer awareness and demand.  This can only be a good thing for the typical double glazing installer as they are seeing dynamic growth in demand and availability of new products.

The wise installer is opting to display multiple bi folding door brands in their showroom, not least to keep them in their showroom for longer. With the systems companies opting to build brand awareness by marketing directly to the consumer the importance of having a choice of products on display will increase.  This, we believe, is the correct way for an installer to grow their business.

Bifolding doors customised to make them “unique”.

KAT UK manufacture AluK doors but they offer them with their own range of door handles not available elsewhere.  This makes their doors unique to their customer base.  So whilst it’s still an AluK door, the hardware offering makes it different from the many other fabricators of AluK bifolding doors.

Some trade manufacturers elect to work with hardware Suppliers like Debar Hardware to offer hardware outside of the systems company’s standard range.

There are other ways for fabricators to customise their products, such as offering colour matched handles at no extra cost, or providing glazed doors with high specification glazing of 1.2Wm2K U Value.

Brand Loyalty is shifting.

Anecdotally we know that 10 or 15 years ago most trade suppliers of aluminium products would state that they have been loyal to their systems company from the outset.  However over recent years whilst still fabricating their original system they’ve also diversified into others. And rightly so. If the market demands greater choice it is the backward thinking business that does not offer it.

So what next for bifolding doors? Quality, Choice or Price?

There are now many trade suppliers of bifolding doors offering mainstream systems and even lesser known ones at cheap prices. They have set up to provide aluminium bifolding doors to their customer base meeting a homeowner need for an aluminium door at the best possible price.

origin is a great example of a company helping their dealers though van signage, and excellent point of sale materials.
Origin is a great example of a company helping their dealers through marketing support such as van signage showing here the new van from North West Bifolds.

Trade fabricators of bifolding doors are continuing to add to their existing product ranges with a second or third system. The demand for luxury products is definitely there.

Often installers are changing their business models by moving away from their core websites and creating second websites focusing only on the architectural aluminium side of their business.

Systems Companies are also helping their customers sell more bifolds with slick marketing campaigns and professional dealer support. This support extends to helping their customers put new livery on their vehicles, offering improved point of sale materials and providing leads through their own marketing efforts.

All of this is great news for the aluminium sector, cements its continued growth and awareness with end users and provides consumers with even more choice.

Have your say about the changing bi folding door market:

We want to hear from installers and trade manufactures, particularly those that have recently added to their product ranges.

  • Are you a trade manufacturer that has recently added to your product offering or introduced a high end system?
  • Perhaps you’re an installer that like many has shifted to also selling more than one product?
  • What were your reasons for doing so?
  • If you’re an installer, how are you finding the service you get from your trade supplier?

We would love to get some feedback, so over to you….

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16:42 30 Oct 23
Nick responded incredibly quickly to my enquiry (on a Saturday too!), and was able to offer invaluable advice on both aluminum systems and manufacturer / suppliers. Thanks Nick!
chris steerchris steer
16:18 09 Oct 23
Had a meeting with Nick during the grand designs show. Was extremely helpful and professional would highly recommend
Chris WesthorpChris Westhorp
19:55 13 Sep 23
Extremely helpful with pointing us in the right direction to find the products we required and suggesting firms that could reliably fit them.Nick was quick to reply and very detailed in his advice.Highly recommend reaching out to them.
Cathy GreenwoodCathy Greenwood
07:03 11 Sep 23
Update - A second email to nick for help on bifolds resulted in a detailed informative reply even on a Sunday ! This guy is so knowledgable and helpful .I approached Nick for an independent view on sliding doors v bifold and the different brand options . His reply was extremely detailed and prompt and allowed me to navigate this often confusing world in a much more informed way . Thanks so much Nick
Anthony CraigAnthony Craig
12:45 05 Sep 23
This is a must site for anyone looking for advice. Great service and very quick answers to questions. Nick has been of great help quiding us through the maze of aluminium products. Thank you
Philip DuffieldPhilip Duffield
20:24 26 Jul 23
I contacted Nick @ ATS for guidance on what aluminium sliding door systems would be suitable for an opening in an extension that is going to be both wide and tall. He came back really quickly with very detailed and incredibly helpful advice. He is clearly extremely knowledgeable about the systems on the market and their respective features and capabilities. If you’re feeling a bit lost by the overwhelming range of choices out there, I’d definitely recommend contacting him.
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17:25 19 Jul 23
Nick's advice is great. He is always quick to respond and spends time on responses, which really help to make an informed decision.
Alan FosterAlan Foster
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Absolutely fantastic. Asked for advice about replacing Crittall (?) windows late last night and early this morning received 3 great suggestions and contact information for suppliers
Rachel LauRachel Lau
09:24 16 Jun 23
Fantastic website full of valuable and pragmatic advice about product selection and comparison: no other website gives information like this. Truly written for public interest. Don't hesistate to reach out to Nick via the mailing system. He responds very quickly, is friendly, and has very sound and high knowledgable advice. I have already shared this with my friend planning her own grand design.
guard Charlieguard Charlie
12:28 14 May 23
I emailed this company just on the off chance they could help me with new magnetic sliders for my patio door. They were not able to supply those but were so very helpful providing me with the name of a company who could. I am so very grateful at the great service. Dare say customers must be very happy. thank you so much.
Benjamin LewisBenjamin Lewis
10:06 04 May 23
Nick is very helpful indeed. Extremely knowledgeable on bifolds which was in relation to my query. Great website as well, some very useful articles. Particularly appreciated the article that lists all the major bifold options in order of their sightlines! Thank you!
P JonesP Jones
08:07 15 Apr 23
I asked Nick some questions about an installation we were considering and he replied within hours with some very useful suggestions that will probably lead us to using a different make and supplier. Thanks, Nick. Great work.
Nicholas WallNicholas Wall
13:18 02 Apr 23
Looking for fair and honest expert advice on all aspect of aluminium windows and doors? These guys will arm you with all the information you need to make the RIGHT choice in a highly complex, crowded marketplace. post a question and you will get a very quick professional answer you can rely on being based on fact. Thanks guys!
Giorgia SiriacoGiorgia Siriaco
16:25 21 Mar 23
After a lot of research to find doors that would meet our unusual size requirements and feeling increasingly uncertain about the best way to spend our small budget, I stumbled on the ATS website, and I'm so glad I did! I contacted ATS to request advice and Nick promptly replied with a wealth of information, providing us with options and relevant contact details. I only wish I'd found them sooner!
Carol NortonCarol Norton
10:01 17 Mar 23
I've been so confused about how to achieve the look I'm after, and going round in circles with various window/door companies, trying to get away from the huge chunks of plastic currently around my windows. I didn't expect an email to a company found through a Google search to really help - but I was desperate, so I tried. I'm SO glad I did. Finally I have clear explanations from ATS of where I've been going wrong, exactly what I'm looking for, and a list of local companies that might be able to provide it! The response has excelled my expectations and I feel as if I'm finally inching closer to a home with which I'll be happy and comfortable: thank you.
David NunnDavid Nunn
20:54 14 Mar 23
It is rare that I write reviews, however after my very positive communication with Nick - enquiring about suitable slim sash aluminium windows for my project, I felt that a review was definitely warranted. I can reinforce the many positive reviews posted so far, Nick was very quick to respond, providing comprehensive detail, with excellent independent advice.In summary, great service, thank you Nick.
Chantal AuerbachChantal Auerbach
13:04 09 Mar 23
Nick from Aluminium Trade Supply was incredibly helpful informative and pleasant to deal with. He responded quickly to emails and was very knowledgeable. Highly recommend being in touch with Nick if you are considering new aluminium windows or doors.
Lee JonesLee Jones
20:21 22 Feb 23
I dropped Nick at Aluminium Trade Supply an email re high security slim sightline bi-folds and their alternatives and he responded that quickly (and so comprehensively) that I felt bad I’d not paid him for his time!Nick Sir your product knowledge is outstanding and you are providing a level of service that goes wayyyy above and beyond expectations. I’ll definitely make sure I mention Aluminium Trade Supply to anyone I encounter looking for a fenestration solution 🙏🏼
15:13 13 Feb 23
We are looking to replace some old UPVC patios doors with aluminium ones. The ATS website is a great source of advice in an area where clear information is sorely lacking. Having used the website, I then followed this up with a number of specific questions relating to our search, and Nick came back very quickly with clear, detailed and very useful advice.I have been very impressed with both the website and with Nick's advice. My only regret is that I didn't come across ATS before replacing various windows in 2021 - I'm sure it would have saved me a lot of grief and money! Thanks again Nick.
Azza McCabeAzza McCabe
17:47 01 Feb 23
So impressed with this company.Responded to my query quickly andgave valuable advice. Nick was extremely helpful and we were able to move forward with our project.
Adri LoloçiAdri Loloçi
11:21 08 Jan 23
Nick was super fast to respond and provided some great recommendations. I would recommend this website to anyone looking to find bifold or sliding aluminium doors.
Stephen HoustonStephen Houston
16:16 03 Jan 23
Looking for aluminium crittall style internal door and external patio French doors. Noted good reviews and thought would ask for advice. Comprehensive reply with excellent independent advice and lists of fitters who could provide products and installation. Great service.
Inga GeachInga Geach
08:25 21 Dec 22
Nick from Aluminium Trade Supply has been extremely helpful with navigating the jungle that is aluminium glazing for our upcoming extension project. His advice was prompt, detailed and always impartial. Very grateful for your input, thanks Nick!
Amanda BurtonAmanda Burton
10:54 16 Dec 22
Brilliant website and an excellent service. Nick provided not only detailed advice and supplier contacts, but highlighted the considerations of various products so I could make an informed choice. Our Sunvista minimal sliders were fitted this week and I couldn't be happier, stunning. Thanks once again for your advice and recommendations, invaluable!
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17:18 10 Dec 22
Very helpful advice given to my question, including the name of 3 different companies that i could try for the product being enquired about. Many thanks
Munim ChowdhuryMunim Chowdhury
11:45 13 Sep 22
Nick has been very helpful on signposting me to a number of partner organisations for steel/aluminium doors.
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17:26 31 Aug 22
My experience with this firm was exceptionally good and this is notalways the case as a female, dipping a toe into technical waters.I was spoken too with courtesy and at a level that helped me consolidate what was needed .On top of that I was given a list of companies and places where I could obtain the type of product I needed.I could not thank them enough and would certainly go there again and reccommend others do too.
Paul SalterPaul Salter
22:39 22 Aug 22
Contacting Aluminium Trade Supply is like contacting the Oracle direct. Advice is always comprehensive and balanced. On multiple occasions they have provided me with options that fully meet our objectives. Many thanks.
Nick McCormackNick McCormack
20:25 14 Aug 22
Really helpful and useful came back to me on a Sunday with some invaluable information. Highly recommended.
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13:14 14 Aug 22
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