Sunflex bifolding doors are premium quality doors, made in Germany and supplied in the UK. In our review of Sunflex bifolding doors, we take a look at their key features and specifications and explain what you can expect if you are thinking about a Sunflex Bifolding Door for your home.
How we Research our Sunflex Bifolding Door Review
To review a product we take a look at the specifications in detail, including the technical drawings and manuals. We are then able to give an insight into the various features and specifications of a product.
We base our reviews on information provided either on the Sunflex website along with other literature and brochures.
About Sunflex Bifolding Doors.
A UK network approved installers supply Sunflex bifolding doors. Sunflex follows a similar business model to companies like Origin in that they also make their bifolding doors and supply them to installers.
A quality bifolding door is only as good as its manufacturing and, importantly, its installation. Any issues that may be encountered with a product are primarily due to how it is fitted. Sunflex ensures that their authorised distributors are suitably trained at their Norwich training centre.
Sunflex also offers technical support where required. Together with their installer partners, Sunflex can ensure the quality of their doors is consistent and give their products a long lifespan. In our review of Sunflex bifolding doors, we examine these quality aspects of the product.
The Sunflex Bifolding door product range.
Sunflex provides no less than six bifolding door versions comprising Aluminium bifolds, timber doors and hybrid doors being a combination of aluminium outside and timber inside. There is also an internal version of their folding doors. The Sunflex bifolding door range comprises:
- Aluminium SF55 and SF75
- Timber SF75h
- Hybrid/Timber Clad Aluminium SF55c and SF75c
- Internal bifolding door SF45
Sunflex Aluminium Bifolding Doors SF55 and SF75
In our review of Sunflex bifolding doors, we concentrate on the full aluminium versions, SF55 and SF75. Here’s how they compare:
|Sunflex SF55||Sunflex SF75|
|Best for new openings||Best when replacing existing doors|
|55mm front to back frame dimension||75mm front to back frame dimension|
|Thermally insulated bifold door.||Enhanced thermal insulation|
|Typical double glazed U-Value of 1.6Wm2K||Typical Double Glazed U-Value of 1.4Wm2K|
|115mm sight line||115mm sight line|
|Maximum panel sizes 1200mm x 3500mm||Maximum panel sizes 1200mm x 3500mm|
|Square edge appearance||Square edge appearance|
|Matching square edge windows||Matching square edge windows|
|Inline door handles don’t interrupt glass line||Inline door handles don’t interrupt glass line|
|Mitred outer frame||Mitred outer frame|
|Accepts 24mm, 28mm, 30mm and 36mm glass units||Accepts 24mm, 28mm, 30mm and 48mm glass units|
|Trickle Vent option if required||Trickle Vent option if required.|
|Choice of three thresholds||Choice of two thresholds|
|Shootbolts available with twinlock security||Shootbolts available with twinlock security|
|Offers optional midrails and glazing bars||Offers optional midrails and glazing bars|
|Available as 90 degrees and 135-degree corners with floating mullion||Available as 90 degrees and 135-degree corners with floating mullion|
|Create curved or faceted bifolding doors.||Create curved or faceted bifolding doors.|
The SF55 offers very similar features to the SF75 model but without the enhanced thermal performance or weather resistance. Both still provide great U-Values in line with other folding door brands. The Sunflex SF75 like the Schuco ASS80 over the ASS70 is an enhanced model. That said, Sunflex doors perform considerably better (as low as 0.9W/m²K) than Schuco, Origin and Sunfold systems with the appropriate glass.
We have not included the internal SF45 as we are concentrating on the Sunflex doors suitable for external applications. We have to give credit to Sunflex and other companies like Schuco, Sunfold and others that take the trouble to offer an internal bifold door in their range. A regular bifold while perfectly suitable for interior applications can be surplus to requirements when the thermal breaks, enhanced security and weather performance is not required. You pay for these extras on a door that can be much simpler when fitted inside the home.
Threshold options on Sunflex Aluminium bifolding doors.
The threshold on a bifolding door is a critical consideration in a home improvement project and especially where level floors are required. Sunflex bifolds achieve a flusher threshold than other brands such as Origin, AluK, Schuco and Smart Systems.
Both SF55 and SF75 Sunflex doors offer a flexible threshold and cill arrangement that can be set on a cill, without a cill, for opening inward or outward doors as well as a ramp type threshold on the SF55 model. The ramp-type threshold is only 13mm high and is suggested for doors that are not exposed. It does not have the weathering capabilities of the rebated threshold.
Handle options on Sunflex Bifolding Doors.
One of the essential features of any bifolding door is the quality, and visual appeal of the main door handles, the intermediate door handles and door pulls. Origin, as a direct competitor to Sunflex, offers the Hafi handles that are gorgeous to use and look at. Schuco offers their own unique range of door furniture, and Reynaers provides the Purity range that we think is the best of any bifold door furniture range. However, the handle offering on the Sunflex doors is just as appealing.
With a Sunflex bifold, you have handles which are finished in-line with the door frame. Inline door handles help retain a uniform appearance and avoids the 90-degree return of the handle going into the glass line. This is very similar to the handle you get on a lift and slide patio door.
But for those that do want a more tradition latch-type handle with a lever, it is available. The slave door handles are available as a flat or a cranked style.
Other features in our review of Sunflex bifolding doors.
A Sunflex folding door may cost you a little more than other favourite brands such as Origin and Schuco. However, there are actually quite a few features of a Sunflex door that we say make it arguably more appealing.
Sunflex Bifolds are super slim.
One of the standout features of the Sunflex bifold is its 115mm sight line. This comfortably places the product within the top 10 thinnest bifolding doors available in the UK. It beats Origin doors comfortably for thin lines and is even thinner than the Schuco door. Most of the recent bifolding doors to hit the market in recent years have used the Schuco ASS70 FD as the benchmark for sightlines and the Origin door for quality. If you want a bifold that is thin, take a look at Sunflex.
Sunflex bifolds are great to look at.
Sunflex bifolding doors offer square line profiles and do not bother with a chamfered appearance found in Aluk, Smarts, Origin, SAPA and other folding doors. And we agree. Not only do the 115mm mullion sight lines work better with a square profile, the doors even look good in the open position.
The visible hardware on any bifold is not the most attractive; Sunflex use highly modern carriage wheels, door hinges and handles that seem to work very well with the square and thin nature of this door. We have seen this door many times and can tell you it is a very good looking door indeed.
Sunflex bifolds have the expected ‘German Engineering’.
The handles feel super positive in use, the sliding action of the doors is smooth and light, and you get a lovely positive engagement on the door catches that hold the doors in the open position. Where other brands stick to plain magnets, Sunflex has clearly looked at the small details of their doors to provide visible and hidden engineering that is typical of a high quality door.
You get tolerance in the doors to take into account thermal expansion on South facing elevations. There is a choice of static or moveable corner posts that offer 135 degrees as well as the expected 90 degrees.
Sunflex doors will appeal to those looking to create a more ambitious extension being one of the few doors on the market that can be fitted within a faceted or curved structural opening. You also get the choice of midrails as well as glazing bars to create a steel look bifold. The shoot bolts in a Sunflex intermediate door are available with four locking points – other brands only offer two.
Sunflex bifolding doors offer more than just RAL colours.
While it is technically possible to offer anyone’s bifolding door in special colours outside of the RAL colour chart, many don’t do it because of the extended lead times and overall hassle factor for many installers.
As well as the full range of RAL colours, a Sunflex bifold gives you Silver Anodised, brushed steel, textured aluminium and woodgrain effect aluminium. Colour matched handles are also available as is a marine grade powder coated finish.
Another thing Sunflex has done is joined the growing trend for ‘pre-anodising’ as an alternative to the previous chemical cleaning and pre-treatment of aluminium extrusions prior to colouring for coastal locations. We can tell you that the pre-anodising method offers better preparation of the aluminium as well as superior adhesion of the polyester powder to the extrusion. It is very much the current way of powder coating aluminium extrusions and has shown excellent results for corrosion protection in the longer term.
More features found in Sunflex Bifolds.
You may be interested in these other great features found in Sunflex doors, many of which you may not find on other brands.
- Unique part-vent position allowing the doors to be partially opened for ventilation when the doors are locked shut.
- Option for integrated tilt and turn window within the bifold door panel
- Industry leading weather testing (air permeability, water tightness and wind load)
- BSI Kitemark™ (the only German made bifold doors that carry this prestigious quality award)
- Building Regulations approved document Q PAS 24 accredited
- Secured by Design awarded.
- Larger panel sizes of up to 1.2m wide and up to 3.5m high.
Our review of Sunflex Bifolding Doors. Should you buy it?
The aesthetics, the engineering, the slim sight lines, the colour options and the capability for curves and facets are great reasons to consider Sunflex SF55 and SF75 bifolding doors. Sunflex like Origin and Sunfold, to name just two, are amongst a rare group of systems companies that make their doors.
If you are considering the other two or other premium brands, it is worth comparing them with Sunflex. You will arguably find Sunflex and Sunfold a closer comparison for features and sightlines. You won’t get the super fast lead times or 20-year warranty that makes an Origin door a best-seller or the Schuco so popular, but we’d suggest you also consider it with them. It’s thinner, has bigger size capabilities, has an entirely different aesthetic.
The ability to lock in the partially open position and the possibility of having a tilt and turn window in a door panel are also appealing.
Contact us if you would like more information or have any questions or comments on our review of Sunflex bifolding doors. We’d especially like to hear from you if you already have Sunflex doors in your home and what you think of them.
Main Image courtesy of www.sunflex.co.uk.