What is the better door for your home, bifolding or sliding doors? Many different aluminium brands offer a choice of both. Bifolding doors are attractive, but today’s sliding doors are also immensely desirable.
Aluminium sliding doors are thinner, better than old patio doors, more flexible and high-tech. Where previously, a bifold was a simple decision to make over a patio door, now sliding doors are serious competition.
How to choose between a sliding or a bifolding door.
Both folding and sliding doors have their advantages. However, there are also other considerations aside from the fact that one door folds and the other slides.
In this article, we explain these other important factors that might influence your choice between a sliding or a bifolding door. We have used the air suite of sliding and folding doors to compare the same brand.
Air are a premium quality range of doors, exclusively manufactured by Everglade Windows. The air 800 bifolding door, the air 500 inline and air 600 lift and slide doors are premium aluminium doors and the only doors to have a 25-year guarantee. They also come with upgrades other systems do not offer.
How Much Do Sliding and Bifolding doors cost?
With many bifolding and sliding doors either replacing old doors or part of a new extension, the price is a consideration. If cost is a factor in your buying decision, what is more expensive, a bifolding door or a sliding door?
In very broad terms, bifolding doors cost more than sliding doors, although there are exceptions.
- Bifolding doors consist of more aluminium profiles than sliding doors.
- Bifolding doors have more components and hardware than sliding doors.
- Bifolding doors include more panels that require cutting, machining, fabrication and installation.
A sliding door can also cost more than a bifolding door. While sliding doors can be perceived as simpler than a bifolding door, these too require careful design, expert manufacturing and a very precise installation.
The larger glass panels on a sliding door may require specialist handling and equipment to lift them safely and position them in place.
- Specialist transport and handling of sliding doors may be necessary owing to their large sizes.
- Your installer will need to consider any special access requirements. Important if sliding doors are needed above ground floor level.
- Some sliding door systems require specialist installation.
Another reason for confusion around the price of a bifolding and sliding door is how they are configured. Many door systems will give you a standard or ‘special’ range of colours. Some will provide a broad or limited choice of hardware. Air bifolding and sliding doors offer even more options compared to standard bifolding and sliding door systems including:
- The choice of standard or luxury Serenity door handles, designed and made by air and Everglade Windows.
- Extensive colour choice including aircoat, a textured and far more durable paint finish.
- Marine grade powder coating as standard.
What offers the best method of opening, bifolding or sliding doors?
The appeal around bifolding doors is that a well-designed system such as the air door can create nearly a 90% clear opening with all the door panels folded open.
Sliding doors when fitted with an existing structural opening will give you more than 50% opening depending on their design. However, the air door provides benefits during the construction of a new extension. It is now possible to have sliding doors such as air designed with an extended head and track so they can disappear into the wall of a new extension. They can even be designed with a floating corner post, giving two sliding doors that meet in the corner when closed and fully open the extension on two sides when open.
The British weather means that bifolding and sliding doors will remain closed most of the year. The decision on the best door for the home will depend upon the views they provide when closed and the functionality when open.
What looks better, bifolding or sliding doors?
The visual appearance of bifolding or sliding doors may also be a consideration. In the closed position, a standard bifolding door will have more visible aluminium and more vertical mullions.
The bifolding door remains a most attractive and desirable door for your home. A sliding door today brings you all the advantages of a modern, highly engineered and superb alternative as well.
We have created an at-a-glance guide to help you see the fundamental differences between a sliding and a folding door.
|Considerations||air bifolding doors||air sliding doors|
|Best for||opening up the space||the very best views|
|Typical maximum size||up to 7.3 metres||up to 10 metres|
|Dimensions of vertical mullions||from 121mm||from 48mm|
|Maximum Panel Widths||1.2 metres||2.2 metres|
|Maximum Panel Heights||3 metres||2.7 metres|
|Low threshold option||no||yes|
|Takes up internal/external space when open||yes||no|
|Available space when open||up to 90%||up to 65%|
|Flush Floor Level Internally||Yes||yes|
|Flush Floor Levels Externally||Yes||No|
|Doors disappearing into a wall||no||yes|
|Anti-finger trap technology||yes||no|
|Matching single and double doors||yes||no|
|Low U-Values||from 1.4Wm2K||from 1.38Wm2K|
|Severe Weather Performance.||yes||yes|