When it comes to bifolding doors, there are very few bifolding door brands that are manufactured by the company behind them. Three well-known brands that do are Origin, Sunfold and Sunflex bifolding doors.
We are comparing Origin, Sunfold and Sunflex bifolding doors to help you decide which is best and what you need to know if you are considering these doors for your home.
Comparing Origin, Sunfold and Sunflex Bifolding Doors.
Origin, Sunfold and Sunflex bifolding doors are marketed for their premium quality. When it comes to quality perception these three bifolding door brands enjoy an enviable reputation. Origin, Sunfold and Sunflex along with Schuco are arguably the four bifolds on the market that are likely to be known by homeowners researching the purchase of new bifolding doors.
With over forty bifolding door brands or systems widely available in the UK, for these three companies to have successfully marketed themselves directly to the end-user buyer (so they ask for the product by name) is an impressive achievement. But which is the better bifolding door?
Origin has transformed the bifolding door market through their consumer-direct marketing, unbeatable lead times and customer service. As well as their market-leading bifolding door product, Origin also provides flush casement aluminium windows and a minimalist aluminium inline sliding door with a thin 20mm interlock. Origin doors are made in the UK.
Sunfold Systems was established in 1989 and is credited with being the first company to bring bifolding doors into the UK. Sunfold is very much regarded as the prestige bifolding door and differs from Origin and Sunflex in dealing directly with the end user, managing the project from start to finish. Sunfold offers a complete home improvement range of products including lantern roofs, interior doors, commercial sliding and folding doors balustrades and canopies. Sunfold Systems are made in Germany.
Like Origin, Sunflex UK offers their premium range of folding doors through a network of Dealers. Sunfold is perceived as the high-end home improvement company, offering not just bifolding doors, but sliding doors and slide and turn doors. Sunflex UK will also create roofs, Wintergarden constructions and frameless doors. Sunflex doors are made in Germany.
Is the directly made bifolding door the better door?
The marketing message of companies like Origin, Sunfold and Sunflex is that you know exactly who makes their doors. Some homeowners will base their buying decision on the fact that the company behind the brand makes their doors.
The reality is that there are bigger aluminium systems companies such as AluK, Smart Systems, Schuco, SAPA Building Systems, Senior Architectural and Reynaers Systems. All these and more operate successfully using the approved manufacturer route to market rather than the direct supply method, and it remains the preferred route for many. Origin, Sunfold and Sunflex just do it differently.
Can a premium product like the Schuco ASS70 bifolding door have the same level of quality when so many different factories make the door? The reality is that no two doors will be identical in quality, but this is not an issue for any of the major aluminium systems companies. All these substantial aluminium businesses invest huge sums and resources to ensure their network of fabricators are trained, updated and monitored. But what they can’t control is what happens further down the supply route.
Fabricators ensure that they make their doors by the technical manuals and training they have received from their systems companies. To do otherwise would result in problems throughout the entire supply chain. Problems with any properly-made and installed bifolding door remain rare, whatever factory it has come from.
However, there are advantages to buying a bifolding door system from a company that also makes it.
- Greater control over who can supply their doors.
- Longer or manufacturer-direct guarantees.
- The overall perception of a better made, higher quality door.
- Better lead times.
- More accountability
- Customer confidence in dealing direct.
- A unique selling proposition for many.
In the case of Origin, they invest substantially in training their dealers and giving them all the marketing support, installer training and one-on-one service. This is of huge benefit to both Origin dealers and the homeowner. One only needs to visit an Origin showroom to see how well the company supports its quality dealer network.
Your at-a-glance guide to Origin, Sunfold and Sunflex doors.
|Product Guarantee||20 years||10 years||10 years|
|Who makes the door.||Origin in High Wycombe||Sunfold in Germany||Sunflex in Germany|
|Product Availability||Origin Dealers||Sunfold Systems||Sunflex Dealers|
|Brand Quality Perception||Very Good||Excellent||Excellent|
|Exclusivity||Widely Available||More Exclusive||More Exclusive|
|Bifolding door sight line at the door mullions||154mm||100mm||115mm|
|Overall Aesthetic||Chamfered||Round & Squareline||Squareline|
|Curved or Faceted Bifolds||No||Yes||Yes|
|Secured By Design||No||No||Yes|
|Bifolding door variants||One||SFK70, SFT60 & SFT 80||SF55 & SF75 & SF45 Internal|
|Anti-finger trap feature||Standard||Standard||Standard|
|Traffic Door Option||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Maximum panel size||1200×2500||1200×3000||1200×3500|
|Glass Options||Double or Triple Glazed||Double or Triple|
|Double or Triple Glazed|
|Typical Double Glazed U-Value||1.6Wm2K||1.4Wm2K||1.6Wm2K|
|Matching single or French Doors||Yes||No||No|
|Woodgrain Aluminium option||Yes||No||Yes|
|Anodised aluminium option||No||Yes||Yes|
|Dual colour availability||Best||Available||Available|
|Handles and Hardware choices.||Very Good||Good||Good|
|Colour Matched door hardware||Yes||No||Yes|
|Colour matched seals and gaskets||Yes||No||Black, White & Grey|
|Lead Times from Manufacturer||Very Short||Long||Long|
Origin has for a long time demonstrated itself as being the innovator for service. No other company offers the impressive lead time, bifolding door colour options and the range of dealers nationwide. On this basis, the Sunfold and Sunflex door can be perceived as more exclusive owing to their more limited availability.
Sunfold and Sunflex offer a broader range of bifolding door products catering for not just the standard installation but also the bespoke doors and one-off designs. Their doors are designed with the architect in mind with faceted and curved doors available. With Sunfold and Sunflex, you get much slimmer doors, a bigger choice of thresholds and the choice of ‘true’ internal bifolding doors available as slimmer and non-thermally broken.
The other advantage of Sunfold and Sunflex is their much bigger home improvement offering allowing customers to have a one-stop shop with windows, internal doors, lantern roofs, glazed extensions and hybrid windows and doors all available.
Top Five Features of Origin Bifolding Doors
- The Best Lead Times anywhere.
- Woodgrain Aluminium Bifolds Available
- 20 Year Warranty
- Widely Available in the UK
- Made in the UK
Top Five Features of Sunfold Bifolding Doors
- One of the thinnest bifolds on the market with 100mm door sight lines.
- Three different threshold options.
- Curved or faceted bifolding doors are possible.
- Sunfold unique high security locks.
- Full home improvement range available.
Top Five Features of Sunflex Bifolding Doors.
- 3500mm door heights are possible.
- Matching slimline window suite available.
- Impressive inline door handles.
- Mitred outer frame
- Can incorporate an opening window in a bifold door.
Choosing between Origin, Sunflex and Sunfold bifolding doors.
The Origin bifolding door is the door to choose if you are looking for doors quickly thanks to the unbeatable and enviable lead times provided by Origin. With many renovation projects having structural openings ready to receive new doors, closing the aperture fast enables the rest of the project to proceed and get completed. The 20-year warranty, colour matched gaskets, woodgrain door options and most areas of the UK now have an Origin dealer are all great reasons to choose Origin doors. Origin doors are also cheaper to buy.
On a technical level, Sunfold and Sunflex doors can be considered for being substantially slimmer than Origin, having the greater range of threshold options, the availability of different bifolding door versions, and the creation of curved or faceted doors. For anyone wanting to keep an entire project within one company, both offer a bigger range of home improvement products as well.
The fact that Sunfold and Sunflex doors are made outside the UK affects their lead times, but anyone wanting these fine doors will be happy to wait. Despite being made in Germany, we have never heard of issues with service work or spare parts where they may be required. Both companies offer excellent customer service in the UK.
What you are getting with all of these products are high quality bifolding doors with an excellent business behind them. What you need to decide is how the individual features of these doors can benefit you and your home improvement project.
It is also worth pointing out that while these three companies make their doors, contractually you are dealing with Origin and Sunflex dealers as independent businesses and not directly with the manufacturers. The usual buyer beware considerations apply. With Sunflex bifolds you are dealing directly.
If you would like further information about these bifolding doors or where to buy them, please contact us.