Bi-folding doors have become a must-have home improvement due to a host of benefits and their undeniable style. With their popularity continuing to rise, we have put together this guide to help you navigate the seemingly complex purchasing process.
With a wide range of configurations, colours, frame materials and glazing options, it can be quite daunting when it comes to selecting bi-fold doors for your home. Here we offer some expert advice and top tips to help you make the right choice.
What are the benefits of bifold doors?
- They allow more light into your home which makes your home feel more spacious.
- More natural light has been proven to have health and well-being benefits.
- They create a seamless link between your outdoor and indoor space.
- During the Summer months your garden becomes truly connected to your home.
- They are stylish and modern in appearance and can even enhance period properties.
- They are available in a wide range of finishes and colours to compliment your home.
- When open they don’t intrude into your home or garden in the same way as doors.
- Planning permission isn’t usually required although it’s prudent to check.
- Extremely secure complying with PAS 24:2016 security standards.
- Bifold doors can increase the value of your home and help it sell quicker potentially.
- Large glazed panels offer panoramic views of the outside world.
- An access door can be incorporated which is important during the Winter months.
- Aluminium bifold doors require very little maintenance and will stand the test of time.
What are the disadvantages of bifold doors?
Our personal belief is that there aren’t any. Some might say that unlike sliding patio doors, they can only offer uninterrupted views when fully open due to the fact they have more frames. In reality however, the span of most sliding patio doors pales in comparison to the distance bi-fold doors can span across your property. And let’s face it, patio doors don’t compete on style.
Bifold doors do take up a small amount of space when fully open and stacked however this is minimal in comparison to the open space they create. When compared with French doors that open out into the garden and take up space, bifold win hands down.
How do bifolding doors work?
Bifolding doors consist of a number of glass panels sandwiched between frames. They are opened by stacking these panels in a concertina effect to the desired width of opening. The panels are fixed to a track at either the top or bottom of the panels. Those fixed to the top are referred to as “top-hung” bifold doors and those fixed to the bottom are referred to as “bottom-rolling” bifold doors.
Top-Hung Bifolding Doors
Bi-folding doors that are hung at the top of the panels. The main advantage to this is that the opening mechanism is hidden in the frame head, and the ease of opening isn’t as likely to be affected by dirt and debris which is less likely to find its way into the gliding system. They are however trickier to install, and require a strong beam or lintel to carry the weight of the doors. If your home doesn’t have this, it could be costly to have one installed prior to the bifolds being fitted.
Bottom-Rolling Bifolding Doors
Bi-folding doors that glide on a track at the bottom of the panels. The main advantage to this is that the bifolds are easier to install than top-hung bifolds and there is no need for a strong lintel or beam above the doors. You can also avoid issues associated with top-hung bifolds dropping due to their weight. One disadvantage is that the track is more susceptible to dirt and debris however a little regular housekeeping can take care of that. We all have a hoover right?
Are bifold doors expensive?
This depends on the number of panels you need, what material and colour you choose and the glazing you go with. The price can vary greatly depending on the options you select. You should expect to pay in the region of £1400-£1600 (excluding VAT) per panel including fitting. Most suppliers will expect you to pay a deposit prior to installation.
Are bifold doors secure?
The answer is yes. All bifolding doors have to apply to PAS 24:2016 security standards and the design and manufacturing of the product has been assessed by a UKAS-accredited certification body. Most bifold doors come with multi-point locking as standard. Dead bolts, dropbolts, twinpoint locks and childproof locks are also available from most suppliers for added security.
What should I consider when purchasing bifold doors?
There are lots of things to consider when purchasing bifolding doors, so we have rounded up some of the most important things you will need to make decisions on.
Your Bifold Door Supplier/Fitter
You can choose the best bifolding doors on the market but they will only be as good as the people you choose to supply and fit them. It’s important to shop around and get a good feel for the company you decide to go with. It’s not always about price, you will likely get a good feeling with the right supplier.
Read reviews so that you feel confident in your choice. You will often find that local suppliers win when it comes to service levels and aftercare over some of the bigger national suppliers. Also, always make sure your supplier offers a respectable guarantee on the product.
Bifolding Door Configuration Options
Bifolding door configuration refers to how many panels you require to span the width of the opening. It’s naturally dependent on the panel width you choose and the width of the opening. It’s always advisable to opt for an odd number of panels for optimal stacking to create the widest possible opening.
It’s also wise to choose an “access” or “master” door which is usually side-hung at the start of the configuration, and which opens like a standard door. This allows you to gain access to your garden easily and without having to open the full set of panels. As you can imagine, this is of great value when the weather is bad.
Bifolding Door Panel Size Options
Calculating what size panels you need can seem tricky, so it’s always best to take the recommendations offered to you by your supplier. They do this day in and day out and can offer expert assistance so that you get it right.
The size of panels you choose will naturally affect the weight of each panel. This is particularly important to consider with top-hung bifold doors. The gliding mechanism required at the top of the panels will be dependent on the weight of the actual panels. If this isn’t equipped to handle the weight of the bifolds then you have serious problems!
The guidance for aluminium frame bifolds states a minimum width of 600mm per panel. In reality most people opt for bigger, ranging from 800mm to 1200mm. This would mean the smallest recommended opening for bifolds to be installed would be in the region of 2400mm.
Customer trends at the moment are leaning towards panels as wide as possible to take advantage of maximum light and the least uninterrupted views. Another alternative if wider panels aren’t an option is to choose slimline bifold aluminium frames.
Bifolding Door Frame Material
The material you choose for your bifold doors will have a significant impact on price, performance, colour options and maintenance requirement. The three most popular options are;
Aluminium Bifold Doors
By far the most popular due to their sleek and stylish appearance and the vast range of RAL powder coated colour options and finishes. Aluminium bifold doors have an ultra-modern look which surprisingly has become a go to option for owners of period properties. The stylish contemporary look of aluminium bifolds seems to enhance and complement the traditional brickwork found on period properties. Who knew!
Aluminium bifold doors are also extremely low maintenance and will stand the test of time. They are also lightweight so a good option for top-hung configurations, plus aluminium is naturally thermally efficient. I think we have a winner folks!
uPVC Bifold Doors
These are at the lower end of the market. We’re not counting them out and understand that everyone has their own budget, but uPVC bifolding doors simply don’t have the style and sophistication that aluminium bifolds offer. They are available in a wide range of colours, however over time they are likely to discolour and they simply don’t look right on period properties.
Timber Bifold Doors
Timber frame bifolding doors are generally made from engineered timber rather than solid timber to improve stability, especially considering the weight of glazing they need to carry. Softwood is a preferred option to hardwood due to price, and it’s undeniable that they look great on the right period property.
In terms of maintenance, they do however need to be looked after with regular varnishing or painting. Also, they do have a tendency to warp the way wood naturally does, meaning at certain times of year and based on the weather they can start to stick when opening.
Bifolding Door Glazing Options
The two options available are double or triple glazing. Double glazing is the preferred option due to price. The most important thing is to look for glazing options with the lowest u-values that are compliant with building regulations.
Glazing has come a long way over the years with the days of draughty windows days of the past. Modern double glazed windows are highly energy efficient and will do the job for most people. There are also multiple double glazing options specifically designed for things like added security, increased thermal efficiency and noise or glare reduction.
The cost to benefit ratio for triple glazing over double glazing simply doesn’t stack up for most people.
What is the best brand of bifolding doors?
Shucho is widely regarded as one of the leading bifold door manufacturers within its price range. Their range of aluminium bifold doors represents German engineering at its finest and they also feature enhanced security to (German standard) WK2-EnEV1627.
If you would like to learn more about Shucho bifold doors you can speak to one of our experts here.
What Our Customers Say
“Quality products are only as good as the team that fit them and in our case both the product and the fitters resulted in a first class and professional installation. Respectful of our home and tidied up at the end of each day….Thank You”
“Excellent service from Eco Thermal again. Would recommend to anyone. Also good to have a local firm that you can trust.”
“Very happy with the whole process and of course the finished installation.”
You can also read our reviews on Which Trusted Trader where we are rated five stars.
Why choose Eco Thermal Design for your new bifold doors?
Eco Thermal Design has transformed countless homes across South Yorkshire with quality windows, doors, bi-folding doors and tiled conservatory roofs. We pride ourselves on the quality of our tradespeople, who are not only talented, but exceptionally friendly and polite. Our Which Trusted Trader reviews are testament to the quality of both our work and our people. We also guarantee our work with an insurance-backed guarantee.
If you’re considering replacing your existing conservatory roof with a tiled roof and would like to discuss your options, feel free to get in touch here to speak with an expert member of our team.