Why the death of the bifold door is being misreported

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Nick Dardalis

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Better accessibility, more functionality, slim sightlines and making a room feel larger are just four of many reasons why the death of the bifold door isn’t necessarily accurate. In fact, bifolds have certain features making them significantly better than other types of patio doors. With the popularity of sliding doors and the latest Crittall® style doors, you’d think that bifold doors are out of fashion when it comes to finding the most suitable patio door for a property renovation or building project. Here is why bifold doors are still very much in demand and can be the perfect patio door when you know what you need and the right product to choose.

Bifold doors are not dead – correcting some myths

picture of the latest steel look bifolds supporting death of the bifold door article.
Newer, slimmer, better bifolds, the reported death of the bifold door is not quite right. The latest Sunflex steel-look bifolds.

An article in the Sunday Times claiming the death of the bifold door, is factually incorrect on several levels, but especially wrong on the following three claims, which are worth correcting before we explain why bifold doors are not dead.

Bifold doors are too cold in winter and too cold in the summer

This statement is wrong because any door with large glass panels can be too hot in the summer. Sliding doors have considerably larger panels than bifold doors and if on a South facing elevation, can also heat up. Homeowners with warmer elevations are already aware of this potential extra heat. That is why when researching new bifolds, they always ask about ways to keep the room cooler. Any professional bifolding door installer can suggest options, including solar control glass or integral blinds in their bifolds to keep the room more comfortable.

Bifold doors create thermal bridging and energy loss

Another incorrect statement because of the highly insulated aluminium you get as standard with modern aluminium bifold doors. The insulated aluminium profiles, combined with the high-specification glass you get as standard with most products, are designed to reduce thermal bridging and heat loss. You can expect bifold doors to come with a minimum of toughened safety glass, a soft-coat low-emissivity coating, warm edge spacer bars and argon gas fill.  To claim energy loss when the entire glazing industry is about improving and lowering energy bills is simply wrong.

Bifold doors take up a lot of space indoors and out

Any and every door in an open position takes up space. Fact. The only exceptions are doors designed to slide into a wall pocket. Taking up space when open is not confined to bifolding doors and is another incorrect statement in the Sunday Times article. French doors and side doors, when left open, take up space. The difference with a bifold is that the wider the door panels, the more space they’ll take up when open. The solution is to reduce the panel width to a size that works with the patio area outside and the room inside. You can even split the opening of a bifold so the panels can stack on both sides rather than all panels on the one side.

Bifold doors provide the best multi-functional patio doors for mid-terraced houses with an extension at the back and where the patio doors are the only ones out to the garden. The biggest advantage is that they make the room feel larger when fully folded back and connect it to the patio and garden better than a sliding door or a set of French doors. They remove any physical door barrier. Therefore, bifold doors are widely regarded as the better patio door for houses with smaller or average sizes.

Sliding doors give you larger glass panels and less visible aluminium. However, unless you build a new extension and slide your doors into a wall pocket, every sliding door will always take up half or two-thirds of your available opening. All sliding panels need somewhere to park open. Only a bifold door lets you enjoy virtually all of the available structural openings. If you don’t want to open your doors and have fixed panels taking up space, go with a bifold. So whether you’re replacing old doors in an existing opening or building a new one, you’ll get the most out of what you have with bifold doors.

The styling and sightlines of modern bifold doors have improved significantly, with the latest bifold doors having middle mullions as slim as the grand sliding door models. The latest Schüco bifold at the premium end of the market is one of the slimmest. Or, at a mid-range price, the Visofold 6000 is a great thin sightline bifold. Several bifold doors are now styled to meet modern tastes and going against the reported death of the bifold door. Get in touch for more information on these.

More reasons why the death of the bifold door is being misreported

Whether a bifold door is right for you depends on many factors, one of the most important being the size of your home, where the doors are being fitted and, most importantly, what you expect from your new doors once fitted. There is no one-size-fits-all for patio doors, so bifold doors are not dead when they meet your needs better than sliding or French doors.

You have other types of doors you can use for a new extension or old patio door replacement, which all provide a different opening operation. These alternatives do not mean you should not choose a bifold if the way this door works and looks, open or closed, is right for your project. You will find a lot of information about bifold doors online, and you must check that the information you’re presented with is based on factual product information rather than opinion.

New products on the market

If the death of the bifold door were in any way a certainty, then system companies would not be investing in new products. Here are just some examples of leading brands and businesses, continuing to innovate.

Schüco has brought out one of the slimmest and best-engineered bifolds on the market, which we’ve fully reviewed.
Solarlux has gone even further with what a bifold can achieve with their Megaline bifold, and more new models are to come from them.
Smart Systems has improved arguably one of the best-selling bifolds in the UK with the Visofold 1000.
Express Bifolds has revamped its product range, bringing on new, slimmer and more capable bifolding doors.

What the Aluminium Trade Supply Website says.

Our own statistics, based on the substantial enquiries we receive as an aluminium windows and doors information website, support what we already know: the death of the bifold door is not entirely correct.

2020 saw a 40% increase on bifolding door enquiries compared to 2019, although this can also be attributed to the increase in home improvements generally because of the pandemic.

2021 saw an increase of 11% in bifolding door enquiries compared to 2020.

Whilst we did see a small drop in 2022, it is also worth bearing in mind the substantial interest in steel-look and Crittall® style glazing. This has seen growth year-on-year across all door types, including hinged, sliding and internal doors. Bifolding doors are very much part of this product group.

Bifold doors are not dead – get the right advice

There is a tremendous amount of information about buying new doors. Getting the right, impartial and independent advice can help you get the ideal doors for your particular house and requirements. Whilst some styles of doors are certainly more fashionable right now, these might not be the best for you. The death of the bifold door is not correct, and these highly-engineered better, more stylish and wonderful patio doors continue to provide functional, design and space-saving solutions. This is why you’ll continue to see these in quality home improvement showrooms.

Contact us today for more information about bifolding doors and where to buy the right ones for you.