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.

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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.
Dariush HekmatDariush Hekmat
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
07:51 12 Jul 23
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
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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!
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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.
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13:18 02 Apr 23
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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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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