Bifolding Doors for Large Openings

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Nick Dardalis

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Bifolding doors for large openings are ideal for those bigger extensions giving even more living space. These larger sets of doors or those designs comprising several door sets are ideal for larger detached houses, not to mention adding monetary value to your home. One desirable feature in a new extension is a prominent glazed elevation having large door apertures with suitable patio doors.  For new extensions, bifolding doors for large openings offer a flexible and functional door solution.

In the winter, the closed doors provide great views with comfort and security.  For the summer months, opening up the back of the house creates a desirable way to enjoy the home.  When considering bifolding doors for large openings, the product choice and how you configure it is essential.

Bifolding door sizes for large openings.

bifolding doors for large openings
Multiple sets of Origin bifolding doors by Open Living of Letchworth

For this article, we define bifolding doors for large openings as anything over four metres or bifolding door sizes needing four or more panels.  Some homes with existing sliding patio doors may already have four or six panel doors. These are already suitable for a new bifolding door. The other way to have new bifolding doors in large openings is to consider these at the design stage.  Talk to your builder or architect and discuss ways of incorporating multiple panel doors in your design.

There is the option to design separate sets of doors between brickwork columns.  Another option is having a continuous run of bifolding doors creating an entirely open space.  There is even the option to create an open corner bifolding door design too. 

How you configure bifolding doors for large openings, that is, the way the panels open and fold is important.  For instance, four panel doors slide to one side or split in two, Five-panel doors offer even more opening options. Use six or seven panel doors, and you get even more flexibility.  How your bifolding doors slide and fold depends on an odd or even number of panels. 

How many back doors does your home have?

With bifolding doors for large openings, also consider the general access out to your garden. This depends on whether you live in a detached, semi-detached or terraced house.  Detached houses often have several doors leading to the outside.  Semi-detached and new build homes come with one or two doors.  Look at which doors you presently use the most to go outside and consider this with your new doors.  Our advice is always to have a traffic door or a lead door.

Terraced houses are an excellent example of properties where often, there is only one door set leading to the outside.  A traffic door in these and other properties with only one or two back doors is essential.  Traffic doors on bifolds work as independent leaves. They sit either in the middle or the ends of the bifold, hinged against the frame or the adjacent leaf.

The advantage of the traffic door is a convenient exit and entry, without folding the panels back every time. Again consider whether a wider panel will work better within the overall bifolding door sizes rather than a standard 900mm or 1000mm width. You can read more about considerations with bifolding door sizes.

Once you decide on the configuration, you can move onto the easier task of choosing the other design options — for example the colour, bifold door handle choices and whether integral blinds are a good upgrade as well.

Talk to a professional about bifolding door thresholds.

For the door threshold, many desire a low or flat threshold. Here we suggest speaking with your bifolding door installer and get the right advice about bifolding door thresholds.  Your builder or architect also needs involvement at this stage of the process.

Most bifolding door systems come with either a standard or a low threshold. The latter is usually intended for internal use as it offers no weather rating.  Other products provide a low threshold with a weather rating, a good example being the Alumina bifolding door from Liniar.  The Alufold Warmcore door from Aluhaus also has one as do other premium brands like Schuco and SUNFLEX.

bifolding doors for large openings
Open corner bifolding doors with cantilevered ceiling

Choosing bi folding doors for complex designs.

Most of the best bifolding doors come with up to 7 or 8 panels making them suitable for big door sizes and openings. However, it is worth looking at products engineered to create faceted or open corner bifolding doors as well.

For example, Origin, Schuco, Reynaers, Smart Systems and others offer bifolding doors with a built-in moveable corner post. The moveable corner post lets you design open corner bifolding doors that look great.  There are also frameless glass doors with a manually removable corner post offering fully glazed slide and turn doors for large openings.

The SUNFLEX door is one system enabling curved and faceted bifolding doors as well as three different threshold options. SUNFLEX doors are also one of the thinnest on the market. The better the engineering behind the system, the more you can demand from the bifolding door. You’ll also find these open corner designs with more mid-range brands too such as Smart Systems products and those designed by Aluk.

Bifolding doors for large openings may come with design constraints.

Bifolding door sizes at more than six metres may end up with a visible joint. Usually, this is in the horizontal sections of the door frame and the cill.  Do not assume there is a mistake or wrongly made doors.

Most bifolding door extrusions come at lengths of about 6.4 metres from the extrusion plant.  These profiles need polyester powder coating as well as cutting and machining.  If you intend your doors to be bigger than 6 metres wide, you will almost certainly see a joint somewhere along the horizontal frames and cill.

A joint is sometimes necessary to transport the doors and large outer frames.  Other reasons include the design of the product itself, doors having to go up staircases and other reasons. Hopefully, a good company will point out the need for a cill or frame joint. There is also no guarantee this will be precisely in the centre.  For clarity, any joints will be on the frame head, bottom track and door cill, not on the door panels.

sunflex sf55 aluminium bifold 044
SUNFLEX is one of a few premium brands allowing faceted or curved folding doors.

Tips and advice for bigger and better bifolding doors.

Most good bifold doors from a professional installer give you a desirable extension with contemporary bifolding doors.  Bifolding doors for large openings are easy to choose with the right advice and functional considerations.

  • Consider the benefits of a traffic door. We suggest seeing these in a showroom.
  • Choose your colour carefully. The more doors, the more prominent the colour.
  • Think about privacy and shade as well as interior comfort.
  • Bifolding doors for large sizes may come with a visible joint or joints.
  • Consider doors with panels up to 1.5m wide made by Schuco and those made by Express Bifolds

Finally, think about who fits your doors.  A bifolding door is only as good as the installation.  Your builder can offer to install the doors at a lower price.  Consequently, this is an attractive proposition for many.  One benefit of the bifolding door company fitting your doors is a longer guarantee than builders provide.  For instance, the 20-year guarantee with an Origin door applies when installed by a trained Origin dealer.

You should also think long term.  Replacement parts, accidental broken glass or damage is easier to fix from an installer as is more peace of mind with one supplier and one source of guarantee.

And don’t forget, sliding patio doors also offer an excellent solution for your new extension as well.  

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