What defines premium bifold doors?

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Nick Dardalis

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Premium bifold doors are high-end, luxury and highly engineered folding sliding doors. Some customers will seek out the very best bifolding door system, not making any compromises in terms of the quality of the engineering or components. A premium bifold door not only looks like it belongs in an amazing property, but the quality of the product is also evident as soon as you touch it or use it.

premium bifold doors in grey

Understanding luxury and premium bifold doors

One of the key areas that build desirability with any product is the aspiration, the perception of luxury and convincing a customer that they have received something of exceptional quality and value.

For some products, this perception of superior quality will not always benefit the client in any direct way. For example, is a luxury designer bag with a high price tag more functional and better made than a cheaper bag?

For patio doors generally, a premium product has design, aesthetic and performance features, making it stand out from the broader range of products. Homeowners are aware of these upper-tier doors in a number of ways.

  • The consumer is looking for a premium bifold doors product generally.
  • The door installer is looking to sell a premium door alongside their regular doors.
  • Simply better bifolding or sliding doors.

A bifolding door will still slide, fold and lock. So are luxury or premium bifolding doors any better or different?

air 800 bifolding door
As home extensions become more design led, these require more sophisticated bifolding doors.

For bifolding doors especially, the premium folding door market can be a confusing one. There are of course highly engineered bifolding doors that offer much more to the buyer than standard doors widely available in the trade or at very competitive prices.

There are also standard products, cleverly re-marketed to be perceived as luxurious and prestigious through a name change, ongoing smart marketing and specific campaigns.  Often these standard bifolding doors may simply have their standard handles changed for better quality ones to make the product look different and appear exclusive.  Often it isn’t.

A very slick website and ongoing promotion of the brand in the wider media helps bring these rebranded products in front of the customer.

For any potential bifolding or sliding door customer, one for whom budget is not as important as quality, desirability or exclusivity, there are bifolding doors to meet this requirement.

These premier bifolding doors, whether exclusively designed or re-designed in cooperation with an existing quality systems company, are intended to give customers what they perceive as the ‘best’ bifolding or sliding door. Find the right bifolding door and you can indeed have a door that is better in many areas than the standard product available.

What features should a luxury bifolding door possess?

With over 40 systems companies designing doors for the residential and commercial markets in the UK, there is an enormous choice in folding doors. Consider also that some systems companies offer more than one folding door product within their range, and the decision becomes even harder to make.

Finding a low-quality bifolding door on the market is hard. Most doors are fit for purpose,, and even the most popular selling doors found from trade counters and countless suppliers are good.

Do your research and you will find that most bifolding doors share a common theme:

  • Aluminium extrusions will meet required and established industry standards.
  • Bifolding doors will comprise either generic locks and handles or more exclusive and better quality ones.
  • The colouring (powder coating) process used is to set industry quality standards. Powder coating will be carried out in-house by the systems company or via a network of quality assured powder coaters that are very specialised in the colouring of aluminium.

So if most bifolding doors meet established industry standards for security, quality, colour and weather resistance, what makes a luxury door stand out? What does it possess that the others do not?

Brand reputation is important in bifolding doors.

Just like other products, aluminium systems have a real or perceived perception of superior quality. Others are regarded more mainstream and some doors have a reputation of being ‘trade’ doors.

Air Bifolding Doors, Kawneer Systems, Schuco, Reynaers, Origin and other bifolding door brands have a market positioning and reputation as up-market bifolding doors. Sunfold, Sunflex and Centor are other examples.

You will come across other names offering high-end bifolding doors but do your research and you may also find these are quite standard quality bifolding doors albeit with a new name. There are common giveaways such as similar brand names using the same code numbers or you may see the same photographs from one website to the next.

The Air bifolding door as a good example of what is one of the high-end and luxury bifolding doors available. Air folding doors are engineered and enhanced to provide a superior folding door with an enormous amount of aluminium expertise and knowledge behind it. Furthermore, air doors are exclusively designed and manufactured by Everglade Windows, one of the longest established and reputable aluminium manufacturers in the UK today.

While someone that sells a more mainstream door will justifiably declare that their doors are good, certain brands have firmly established themselves as premium aluminium systems with not just a UK reputation but a global one.

Look at the company behind your new bifolding door.

In considering a luxury bifolding door, it is worth examining who is behind it. This can often give you many clues as to the know-how behind the product, the reputation of the company and, importantly, their expertise.

As aluminium has surged in popularity so has the number of companies providing aluminium doors for the first time. Some of these are new businesses.  Other companies are long-established companies, previously better known for their PVCu products.

The best bifolding doors come from firms that have a real history of aluminium expertise, working with some of the best aluminium systems companies behind them. Alternatively, they have designed their doors from scratch. It is very much their ‘system’.

The fewer people that make a bifolding or sliding door, the more exclusive it is.

Often the provider of a luxury bifolding door will be the only company making that product.  This moves away from the traditional aluminium supply chain of several or many nationwide manufacturers, all making the same door.  This does not mean other bifolding doors are inferior because many may make them.  However, when only one company makes a product:

  • The quality is better and more consistent.
  • The production processes are more controlled.
  • The product is more exclusive.
  • The manufacturer warranty is far longer.

The same applies to the companies selling and fitting quality bifolding doors. Companies are specialising in the general home improvement sector specifically for the quality-focused customer or the high-end home. These companies will typically choose only the finest aluminium systems to sell.

Hehku based in Surrey is an excellent example of a successful business offering a range of kitchens, orangeries, roof lanterns and bifolding doors. They choose to sell products only by the most reputable brands. Air bifolding doors and Origin doors are the products Hehku consider in keeping with their brand image, their target customer and reputation.

Luxury bifolding doors have better design, engineering and performance.

premium bifold doors
A quality bifolding door will feature the very best handles, gearing and feel good in use.

A luxury folding door will always go further with design details and specifications, performance fine detail not found on other doors. Examples of doors that offer something better than conventional bifolding doors include:

  • Doors are made wider, taller and bigger than other brands.
  • A higher level of security such as PAS 24 as well as independent testing.
  • A superior degree of weather resistance, such as hurricane testing.
  • Premium quality handles, running gear and accessories.
  • Profiles that are slimmer than conventional doors.
  • Aesthetically very pleasing to the eye and with great detail.
  • An extended guarantee backed by a stable company.

All these features and more go towards creating a door that is considered superior to standard bifolding doors, as good as they may be.

Design details to meet the most ambitious of projects.

Another feature of a high-end bifolding door will be one that can address the requirements of the most ambitious and design-led projects. Architects want to work with a bifolding door system that can easily accommodate their design ideas and aspirations.

This can mean architects and designers will choose bifolding doors that that can be made larger and taller than standard. Their choice of doors will be one that can meet an unusual building shape, a required colour or an operational requirement. They will also tend to choose bifolds that simply have better features, performance and specifications than others.

Look at the patio door guarantee.

It is rare for the glass and glazing industry to offer guarantees longer than ten years. However, there are exceptions. Origin Global are a substantial bifolding door manufacturer and designer that will provide a 20-year guarantee with their bifolding doors and have done so since the start.

Air bifolding doors offer an even better 25-year guarantee – such is the confidence in the product and the longevity of the company behind Air doors.

If an extended warranty is part of your criteria with bifolding doors, we know of very few quality bifolding or sliding doors on the market with this lengthy guarantee period.

The extended warranties offered with bifolding doors are more than just marketing slogans designed to secure new business. Bifolding door designers have an obligation to stand by their products long into the future. The better the design, the handles, the locks and the folding sliding gearing, the better performing and more reliable the doors will be.

Very importantly as well, the installation of the doors has to be precise. Again using Air doors as an example, Everglade is highly selective in which window companies they approve as Air Retailers to sell and fit their bifolding doors.

With bifolding doors, luxury sets the price; price does not set luxury.

It is easy to think that the more expensive a door is, the better or more sophisticated it will be. The door industry is multi-tiered with a diverse supply chain. This means doors can come from any number of sources before they reach the customer.

Premium bifold doors should offer better features, design, performance and manufacturer support. They should also engage the end-user in a more direct way.

Contact us if you are looking for a bifolding door, and we can help put you in touch with providers of some of the finest doors on the market.