One of the most commonly asked questions to this website relates to information and advice about the Schuco and Origin bifolding door and what is the better door.
Why these two brands are so often compared remains a mystery. We were probably the first website back in 2013 to start this comparison on the back of a question from one lady that couldn’t make up her mind. Perhaps it’s a combination of clever marketing by both Origin and Schuco. Origin are a British success story in bifolding doors and more recently on an international scale too. Schuco has for years enjoyed a high end, luxury reputation, often featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs and a favourite amongst high end house builders and architects.
It could also be that bifolding door companies themselves are responsible through choosing to offer both Origin and Schuco bifolds to sell alongside each other. On a daily basis we are answering questions about Origin and Schuco therefore it’s evident that these two brands are very much in competition amongst consumers.
Even bifolding door installers are keen to know the differences between the two. We are often contacted by those looking to add either door to their range. They even ask for our help to educate their sales people so they can accurately explain the differences in the products to their own customers. We therefore decided to create what we hope is a fair and balanced article about Origin and Schuco doors.
Why are Schuco and Origin bifolding doors often compared?
As one example, consumers are researching Origin bifolding doors and are hugely impressed with what they read about them. The Origin name, service levels and quality of product are arguably second to none.
The thing we know about Origin doors is that most homeowners are happy to go with the product from the start, happy with what they see, hear or read about their bifold. However some that are about to “push the button” on an Origin door ask themselves is there another door to compare it against? In their research they come across Schuco.
Others are already researching bifolding doors generally. They ask the question whether Origin is on a par with the wider range of bifolding door systems. Examples include AluK bifolding doors, Smarts Visofold doors, Reynaers doors, Centor and others. Despite this, the comparisons between Origin and Schuco far outweigh these other popular, quality and well respected bifolds.
Bifolding door companies are now exhibiting more and more at exhibitions such as The Home Renovation Show, Grand Designs and others. It’s one of those rare venues where consumers can study a wide range of folding doors all under one roof. Armed with what they’ve seen and the information they’ve collected they start doing their research.
Before we dig deeper into an analysis of these two particular doors by Origin and Schuco, it’s important to fairly consider other doors on the market as well.
Is there a good and bad aluminium bifolding door?
A vast number of people contacting us often ask if there’s a good or bad bifolding door in the market. The answer is no, there is no bad or low quality bifolding door. What is possible though is for bifolding doors to differ in several key areas:
- How they’re designed and engineered
- How they’re made and by whom
- The quality of the hardware
- Their appearance
- Their performance specifications such a U Values.
- The experience of the aluminium Systems Company behind them.
- How they are installed.
These differences in bifolding doors vary. Some doors offer better quality handles, locks or running gear. However all of the bifolding doors on offer and generally available meet or exceed established industry standards. These standards cover:
- The quality of the aluminium extrusions themselves.
- The quality of the powder coating and finishing process
- Most manufacturers are Quality Assured such as ISO
- Doors meet or exceed security testing
- Doors meet or exceed weather performance testing
- The quality of the glass units.
We mentioned one key area and that is how bifolding doors are installed. It’s worth knowing that what builds or damages a brand is who makes it and who installs it. A quality door may not remain so if through no fault of the systems company that designed it, the company making it or installing it supplies it wrong, damaged or carries out a bad installation. In the eyes of the customer, it’s not been a positive experience.
However just because an installation doesn’t go smoothly doesn’t not mean the product is bad. You may be reading this article with either of these doors in your home and may have had a bad experience with them. We can’t deal with specific issues, but we can provide a comparison of the doors, the companies behind them and to provide a balanced and impartial point of view to help you choose better.
With over 14000 window companies in the UK it’s unlikely service will be consistent 100% of the time. A bifolding door is not a mass produced product. However if you were buying a car with a reputation for being unreliable you’d want to know about it through review sites and organisations like JD Power. Unfortunately these types of review sites don’t really exist for windows and doors.
Look on established websites such as Money Saving Expert, Mumsnet or Pistonheads that discuss folding doors and people will criticise a product although it’s clear the installation company was at fault not the product itself. This is unfair on the systems companies that all have very good doors on the market.
What you need to know is that any well made and importantly, properly installed bifold will be reliable and give you many years of trouble free operation and enjoyment.
Do Schuco and Origin suppliers have a preferred door?
What we know is that many installers of bifolding doors are choosing to offer both Origin Doors and Schuco bifolding doors in their showrooms. A clever window company sees the benefits of offering more than one bifolding door product. Not only does this give their customers choice, but it also keeps that potential customer in their showrooms for longer.
Some bifolding door companies offer four or more products in their showrooms, pitching themselves as bifolding door experts and giving their customers real choice.
Why do you want a bifolding door?
Each of these two great bifolding doors offers different benefits to different customers. Some of their features will matter to some and not to others.
A homeowner that is simply renovating a property to sell just wants a decent bifolding door – they arguably won’t care about bells and whistles on a product. For them a bifolding door that enhances their home and one at the lowest possible price is probably ideal.
If you’re renovating your home with the intention of living there for the foreseeable future then your bifolding door requirements will be somewhat different. For you, quality, longevity and peace of mind will be more important – you want the best product you can have in your home and you’ll probably have specific requirements.
Origin vs Schuco. The companies behind the brands
How important is the company behind the brand? The double glazing industry is rather unique in how products are supplied to the end user. You may assume that your local double glazing firm is the company behind your windows but this is often not the case. In purchasing a new car for example, you’ll visit an authorised dealership that will place the order for your new vehicle directly with the factory. You are dealing with two maybe three organisations.
The double glazing industry has a multi-tier and multi-level supply chain. If you’re a consumer it’s quite likely your new windows and doors came from any of these sources:
- A window and door company that manufactures and installs its own products for you. (Schuco)
- A company that operates a double glazing showroom that does not manufacture anything and buys products ready made from a trade manufacturer (Origin or Schuco)
- A company that operates a double glazing showroom that does not manufacture and buys from a supplier that doesn’t make anything either. They’re a ‘trade counter’ and they buy from the trade manufacturer. (Origin or Schuco)
- A local builder that has offered to source and fit your doors. He may buy direct from a manufacturer, from a company that doesn’t make any products (see above) or a trade counter. (Origin or Schuco)
- An approved installer of bifolding doors dealing with one company only. (Origin).
Origin Bifolding Doors
The Origin door is arguably the best selling bifolding door in the UK. Origin are the only company in the UK to offer a 20 year guarantee with their product. The Origin door is also available on a 24 hour lead time if required assuming it’s ordered in one of the standard colours available.
Origin came about after its creators saw a gap in the market for a bifolding door that was different from the rest. And they achieved it. Origin through their dedication to bifolds, service levels and innovation can be credited with effectively waking up and improving the entire aluminium industry for the domestic market. Origin are responsible for putting an end to the unbearably long lead times associated with aluminium. Others quickly followed suit.
Thanks to Origin, lead times on aluminium doors and windows have been slashed across the industry. Also thanks to Origin colour availability is now better than ever. Previously anything other than white, silver or brown was subject to very long lead times of 6,8 or even 10 weeks. Now you can get up to 10 or more colours just as quickly as white but at the same price too with many providers.
The other unique feature of Origin doors is that they’re only made by one company. This is vastly different to the general door and window industry supply chain. Here the Systems Company provides its bars of aluminium and the components to a network of fabricators. This means for most bifolding doors (Schuco) there can be any number of people that make it. Only Origin make their own doors.
Where Origin also differ as a business is that they’re happy to engage with their end user customers. They have a call centre that responds with a no hard sell approach to their website enquiries. They follow things through with the end user as well. Generally systems companies don’t like doing so. If a homeowner phones any systems company often they’ll be passed onto local installers and often don’t commit to answering specific questions or problems about their products. Origin doors come with a unique serial number and homeowners can register their doors with Origin just like any other quality consumer product. The branding is consistent throughout their processes as well. It’s all part of the Origin experience.
Study an Origin door and you’ll see a superb paint finish, a beautifully made bifolding door and a strongly focused and committed company behind it.
Schuco Bifolding Doors
The Schuco name has a global reputation with their products installed in some of the finest homes and buildings all over the world.
There are countless dwellings as well as high use offices, retail parks, hospitals and other buildings that have Schuco products installed over 30 years ago. These are still performing faultlessly to this day.
Schuco not only offers bifolding doors but a complete range of windows and doors that comprises standard windows to special use such as fire protection windows, bomb blast systems and windows for specific requirements and use. Go to Schuco’s headquarters and you’ll see innovation and design that is eye opening. There are windows there that perform so many different functions outside of a typical window in a dwelling.
Therefore with a Schuco product you’re not only getting over five decades of reputation and engineering, you’re getting know-how. It’s for this reason Schuco is the preferred system for Architects, designers and anyone looking for one of the best aluminium systems there is. Schuco has a global reputation.
Much of the engineering in a Schuco door is invisible to the naked eye. So whilst Schuco doors may not have the 20 year guarantee of an Origin door this does not make it in any way an inferior product.
As far as manufacturing is concerned you may never know which one of the Schuco fabricators made your door as there are many all over the UK. Quality should be consistent but with any product made by many people it may not be.
What is the better bifold door? Origin or Schuco
Each door offers a different set of selling points to the customer. We’ve taken the key points of each door and compared them.
The Origin door is thicker in appearance but nonetheless a very elegant looking door. Choose wisely on the handles too and it’s a very attractive product indeed. The Schuco door is flatter in appearance throughout and appears visually slimmer. But the differences side by side are hard to spot.
One thing Origin offers that Schuco can’t is consistency when you want bifolding doors with matching French doors or a single door. It’s generally very rare indeed for two different products to match exactly as the profiles on a sliding, folding and hinged door are completely different. Origin have also designed French Doors and single doors made from the same profiles as their bifolding doors. Therefore if you’re looking for perfectly matching doors alongside your bifolds you can achieve this with Origin.
Schuco of course do offer French doors and single doors but they won’t be made from the same profiles as their bifolding doors. These will look different. This is no different from other aluminium systems, but Origin are quite unique in this.
Another consideration is the door handle aesthetics and quality. On both doors they’re excellent although Origin’s are thicker and feel more robust and tighter sprung.
If you’re looking for a door with a peace of mind guarantee and a consistent quality then Origin is the door for you with a 20 year guarantee. You’ll typically get a 10 year guarantee with a Schuco door.
Origin also feature an 8 point locking system. Schuco doors do not but both are exceptionally well tested for security and meet the required British and European Standards. Many of these standards work alongside each other. So whilst one product may not be Secured By Design, the equivalent European standard is just as good.
If you’re looking for your bifolding doors quickly Origin can’t be beaten on this. Origin have innovated in how they manufacture their doors to provide them literally the next day or same day. However a fast turnaround on a bifold is only a consideration if your structural opening is ready and you’re desperate for your doors. This lead time is not just about speed for the consumer, it’s also about giving flexibility to their dealers, making ordering simpler and much more besides.
Bear in mind also that as quick as Origin can make a door, your Origin Dealer through their own workload may not be able to install for several weeks after. Nonetheless, few can turn a bifolding door around with no loss of quality as fast as Origin can.
Bifolding Door Thresholds.
Origin offer a low or standard threshold option but only their standard threshold is weather rated. Origin recommend their low threshold is only used in internal applications.
Schuco offer several threshold options to suit the application and their own low threshold is weather rated.
Maximum Door Sizes
Most bifolding doors are either into new extensions or to replace old sliding or French doors. For new extensions there are those that want the widest and largest folding doors.
Both Origin and Schuco can achieve door panel widths of 1200mm. Origin doors when made at 1200mm wide can be a maximum height of 2500mm. Go less than 1200mm wide and the height increases to 2700mm.
Schuco doors can be made at 1200mm wide per panel and up to 3000mm in height. So if you’re looking for the biggest bifolds Schuco achieves this. The reality is that very few doors are made at this extreme sizes, but they point with Schuco is that they can be.
With bifolding doors often being closed most of the year, some customers consider the slimness of the doors a factor.
Schuco doors have a dimension of 120mm where two folding door panels meet in the middle. Origin doors are thicker at 154mm.
Sealing and Gaskets
Both doors offer exceptional sealing enabling them to have a severe weather rating. What you may not know is that Origin doors have also be hurricane tested. Origin doors offer the choice of colour matched gaskets made of Q-Lon. Schuco don’t offer colour matching and their gaskets are instead made of a high quality rubber.
Schuco doors offer a different kind of gasket arrangement on the jamb whereby the gasket moves away from the frame with the door. This is designed to offer a smoother opening but in use the difference is not noticeable.
U Values can vary depending on glass specification. Origin state best U Values of 1.3Wm2K and so does Schuco.
Both Origin and Schuco bifolding doors offer excellent handles, slave handles and intermediate pull handles. On the Origin door you’ll find superb quality hardware that Origin have designed and very recently updated. The locking system is excellent, the door handles themselves have a fantastic feel to them and they come in a choice of styles and finishes.
Study the Origin door and the quality of their door handles, the positive locking of the doors and the overall feel is one that is quality from the outset.
The Schuco door comes with less handle options and finishes but their aesthetics are completely different. The handles are slimmer, some consider more contemporary in appearance and feel lighter. That said there’s no compromise on quality either but if we were pushed we’d say the Origin door feels better in operation.
Handle aesthetics and feel are a very personal thing so again our advice is look and try both doors, ask your local installer questions and go with the door that you like and feels right for you.
Both Origin and Schuco offer the complete range of polyester powder coated colours. You’ll also get a choice of different colours inside and out.
Schuco differ in being able to offer anodised finishes as well that we see no reason why Origin can’t as a special order. Similarly Origin offer a range of wood effect finishes that as far as we’re aware Schuco presently do not provide.
The door magnet
All quality bifolding doors come with a magnet designed to hold all the stacks leaves together. The Origin door features an actual magnet, the Schuco door offers a more sophisticated catch that whilst bigger and more visible has adjustment. You can control how tight the doors are held together . The Origin magnet isn’t better or worse, just different.
Similarities of Origin and Schuco Bifolding Doors
There are a number of similarities between both Origin and Schuco bifolding doors. Both are bottom hung doors meaning that the weight of the bifolds is at the bottom. This is generally the accepted type for most bifolding doors. Other features both doors offer include:
- A choice of cill sections and installation with or without a cill.
- Glass upgrades such as integral blinds
- The provision of a trickle vent where required.
- An open corner post arrangement
- A choice of configurations and designs
- Doors made to order
Helping you choose between an Origin or a Schuco door
With both Origin and Schuco doors offering quality, design, engineering and longevity, what can influence your buying decision?
Our advice is simple. Go with the aesthetics of the product. We say this for two reasons.
Firstly, both doors are great quality, have been tested to the required standards, offer U Values, options and choice. They both also have excellent companies behind them. On this basis it’s hard to pick a winner.
Secondly, a bifolding door is something that you’ll be looking through and using for many years to come. It will add value to your home, give you a new way of living and is intended to bring you enjoyment and pleasure, particularly in the summer months.
Aesthetics and feel are important. Our recommendation is to go with the product that you like the look of the most and feels right in operation. Look at the sight lines of each product, test the handles, slide and fold the doors. Above all talk to your local installer and ask questions. Or contact us and we can help too.
Each door offers it’s own unique selling points but for a typical customer looking for an average sized door, none is better than the other. If slim lines, U Values, German engineering and a fifty year old brand are important, then Schuco may be your choice.
If the best of British, a long 20 year guarantee and the excellent wood effect finishes are your preference, Origin is for you. The ‘customer experience’ you may find more personalised with an Origin door as Origin are involved with your purchasing experience – Schuco less so preferring to leave you to deal with whoever is making or installing their doors. We know from the feedback to this website that customers are delighted with the Origin experience.
Where can you see Origin and Schuco doors together?
If you’re interested in seeing both these doors under one roof in your local area, contact us and we can put you in touch with an approved Origin installer and a provider of Schuco bifolding doors.
We hope this article has helped you if you’re researching these two exceptional bifolding door brands. Please contact us if you have any specific questions or need further information. We also welcome your comments and feedback.
Update May 2017.
Since this article was written we have reviewed the excellent Origin door vs the Aïr 800 bifolding door, manufactured by Everglade Windows. We think there are many reasons why the Origin door shares similarities with the Aïr 800 and also worth considering.