Our Stellar bifolding door review takes an in-depth look at the new aluminium bifold by Epwin Window Systems. A current-generation bifolding door designed for the home or medium-duty commercial markets.
What is the Stellar Bifolding door by The Epwin Group?
Founded in 1976, The Epwin Group is listed on the London Stock Exchange. Epwin predominantly serves the trade, retail, social housing and construction sector. Epwin products come supplied and installed via a nationwide network of quality manufacturers and installers. In this Stellar bifolding door review, we take a look at the finer details of the product and the benefits it provides for both installers and the homeowner.
The Stellar bifolding door targets a relatively new niche in the market. That is the aluminium bifolding door that can offer similar aesthetics to PVCu windows. The Alumina bifolding door by Liniar is already selling well as a premium aluminium bifold with the woodgrain foils and aesthetics to match PVCu windows. Stellar now offers an alternative product with high quality aluminium windows and doors from the same brand.
Strength, performance and profile style options
Epwin says about Stellar that this door provides all the strength and performance of aluminium but with the attractive ‘softer’ detailing of PVCu. And there is a credible case for this door as many people love the aesthetics of well-designed PVCu windows. The external frame and sash upstand are available in a bevelled or sculptured finish as is the beading, to complement the style of a property’s windows. There’s also the option of a square aluminium bead and even a square sash for those that want it. These square profile option of course match other Stellar products.
While different bifolding door brands come with a choice of profile aesthetic, not all consider the number of houses already fitted with PVCu windows. Several bifold door systems on the market already offer a rounded aesthetic inside or outside, similar to PVCu windows and doors. However, where aluminium bifolding doors do differ is they don’t come with a PVCu foil. Origin bifolding doors come with a woodgrain sublimated aluminium finish as do Smart Systems Visofold doors with their woodstructure range. That said, a substantial number of houses have modern PVCu windows installed not needing replacement.
As a result, the Stellar bifold gives a credible option for matching a PVCu aesthetic with the well-known benefits of an aluminium bifolding door.
Stellar bifolding door review. Key Features.
Epwin says the Sellar bifold is developed for appearance and design flexibility. It is a well-designed and nice looking product. You get a bevelled frame and sash upstand as well as an optional square. You also get a PVCu glazing bead. There are some advantages to having PVCu beads on a door like this. First of all, you get a choice of sculptured or bevelled, as well as square aluminium versions.
One significant benefit of PVCu glazing beads is their greater ‘give’ over aluminium beads. More flexible, PVCu beads make doors easier and significantly faster to glaze. This is because you don’t need to manually add the gasket as you do with aluminium beads. Therefore, anyone glazing a Stellar bifold will find it substantially faster than any product with aluminium beads. For the homeowner, the speed of glazing probably doesn’t matter. For the installer, having a bifold that’s easy to work with is a benefit to them.
Furthermore, PVCu glazing beads also reduce the risk of marking the paint finish with the exposed edges. This can occur at times in aluminium glazing beads cut a little oversize. Careful glazing and the right size cut beads usually don’t pose a problem. However, it is useful for the harsher or inexperienced glazier.
Just like any aluminium bifolding door, Stellar uses polyamide thermal breaks. At the moment little information is available on the choice of door profiles, cills and ancillaries available.
Another advantage of the Stellar bifold is the suitability for the door to come with PVCu cills. This further adds to the choices that come with the product.
For installers, Stellar offers a door with fast and easy installation. They’ve set out to address some of the more complex fitting issues with other systems. As a result, Stellar bifolds are widely reported by installers as excellent to install with less time spent on site. As well as this, glazing is faster.
Bifolding door configurations and options.
Stellar bifolding doors come as a two-panel to seven panel arrangement. Door leaves come in sizes of 750mm up to 1000mm wide with a maximum sash height of 2100mm. As with any other bifold, doors open in or out, come with an access leaf and flexible folding sliding options. You also get a single or double door option as a basic hinged door.
The door is suitable to replace old bifolding doors thanks to a 70mm deep profile. This dimension is also good for the majority of other PVCu systems, mostly with the same dimension.
Stellar vs Alumina bifolding doors.
Our at a glance table shows the key features of the new Stellar bifolding door against the Alumina product – its obvious competitor. Here is how they compare. You can also read our in-depth review of the Alumina bifolding door.
|Feature||Stellar Bifolding Door||Alumina Bifold Door|
|Product Guarantee (from installers)||10 years||10 years|
|Matches other PVCu||Yes||No|
|Handle Colour Options||Three||Five|
|Square or round edge profiles||Beads only||Yes|
|Single and Double Doors||Yes||Yes|
|Standard RAL Colours||White, Black, Grey||White, Black, Grey|
|Anti-finger trap feature||Standard||Standard|
|Traffic Door Option||Yes||Yes|
|Maximum panel size||1000x2400mm||1200×2500|
|Security Certification||PAS 24||PAS24|
|Weather rated low threshold||No||Yes & Part M.|
|Typical Double Glazed U-Value||1.7Wm2K||1.5Wm2K|
Colour options with Stellar folding doors.
As with any other bifold, you get a choice of colour. Epwin offers a choice of Black, white or grey standard colours. Then you get a selection of foiled finishes. All in all, there are 28 foil colours and woodgrain finishes
- PAS24 security tested as well as Secured by Design and Document Q Compliant, only when correctly specified.
- Multi-point locks with anti-lift system and shoot bolts to the slave leaves.
- The standard 40-micron powder-coated finish.
- Typical U-Values of 1.7Wm2K, available with double or triple glazing.
- An optional midrail, especially suitable for single or double doors.
Stellar bifolding door review. Summary.
While the market hasn’t been desperate for a bifold that matches PVCu aesthetics, there are obvious benefits. Not everyone likes the contemporary look of many bifolds. Others have nearby windows and doors and might like the ‘softer’ look of this door.
This bifold comes with reliability and ease built-in. From the durable rollers also having a brush pile keeping the track cleaner. Hinges are secure and easy to fit/adjust. Glazing options are flexible and the door is designed to last. Arguably it could have been made slimmer. That said the sightlines fall below more popular brands like Origin OB-72 or the Visofold product. But, the market doesn’t scream out for the thinnest bifolds either.
Other systems such as Visofold do give bigger panel sizes and other doors only need three panels where Stellar requires four. Stellar bifolds won’t give you a ramp type threshold like Alumina, having both a weather rated and Part M threshold.
However, these doors are invariably appealing to installers wanting the benefits of the PVCu profile integration and who know their PVCu products. The look of the door will also appeal to those not necessarily after a full modern-looking door. Installers also benefit from the legendary service Epwin provides to their customers, longevity and reputation.
The Stellar Bifold door joins a now mature market and worthy of consideration alongside other brands. The foiled finish is certainly appealing to those who aren’t convinced by sublimated wood finishes on other aluminium systems. Of course, Stellar also comes in a full range of powder-coated finishes.