Products Guide

5 min read

Everything you need to know about bifold doors – pros and cons

Written by

Agata Gniady - Tęgi

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Bifold doors have seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years. They are said to ‘bring the outside in, as they seamlessly merge indoor and outdoor space. Installing bifold doors significantly increases the amount of natural light and fresh air in any interior and – what’s probably the most important – offers uninterrupted views when the doors are open. External bifold doors are made of large glazed panels and can be customised to suit almost any requirement. However, the truth is that many homeowners still tend to mistake such bifold solutions with their more popular counterparts: sliding doors and French doors. In this article, we have gathered all the most important information on glass bifold doors in order to help you get to know them better. Read on!

 

What are bifold doors 

In simple words, bifold doors are made up of multiple doors that fold like an accordion instrument. More precisely, they are built of several glazed panels (door leafs) connected by hinges and run along a concealed track on the floor or ceiling (or both). It is possible to install 3 panel bifold patio doors, but probably the most common solution used by property owners is 4 panel bifold doors and more. However, for really large entrances communicating the living room with the terrace, it is advisable to invest into a 6 panel bifold door (the amount of door leafs depends on the total width of the construction). 

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Bifold doors pull open from the centre, giving a full view and full access to what’s behind the door in one swift motion. You can have exterior bifold doors at the back of a house, leading into a terrace, garden or summer house. It is also possible to install indoor bifold doors if you want to split a larger room or separate the living area from e.g. the bedroom in your house, without losing out on that sense of space. Whatever option you choose, you may be sure that bifold doors will transform your house visually. They are aesthetically pleasing from every angle and add a contemporary touch to your property.

Which doors to choose: sliding or folding?

When planning the best solution for patio doors, homeowners generally choose between bifold doors and sliding doors. Surely, both bifold and sliding doors can add functionality and style to any home in an instant. Besides, thanks to modern materials and innovative technology, they offer functionality and ease of use. Nevertheless, there are some differences between these two types of modern glazed doors. 

External bifold doors, as well as the internal ones, are probably mostly valued for ease of access between the indoors and outdoors and neat fold back action. The major advantage of smart aluminium bifold doors ( as well as the uPVC) is also the ability to open up an entire opening and provide panoramic views, completely removing any obstruction from inside to outside. Bifold doors may fold inwards or outwards, depending on the amount of space which you have when you slide all doors on the side.

Aluminium Bifold Doors MB-86 FOLD LINE HD – opening scheme:

Benefits of bifold doors:

  • seamless link to the outdoors
  • a wider passageway when the entire structure is opened
  • openings customisation  – the possibility of using panel doors with various opening schemes, e.g. one or two doors can open like a French door, and the whole thing can still  be pushed to one side anyway
  • the possibility of using different glazing types in each of the panels (thermal, venice mirror, frosted pane, etc.).
  • better anti-burglary protection – the possibility of using RC1 and RC2 fittings and lock inserts with a higher security class.

 

Sliding doors, on the other hand, are made of two or more large panes of glass which slide sideways to the end of a frame. At the same time, conventional sliding doors can usually only open to the left or right, so the view they provide when open is surely far less spectacular. However, sliding doors offer wider views when closed – it is because bifold doors have more frames than their sliding counterparts. What is more, if we take into account the fact that large bifold doors require a lot of space when in their folded position, sliding doors turn out to be much more beneficial in smaller houses or apartments. They don’t take up any additional room – they simply slide horizontally down the track, so one does not need any space internally or externally to accommodate them.

Aluminium Sliding Doors MB-77HS – opening scheme:

Benefits of sliding doors:

  • better airtightness
  • less risk of heat loss
  • better drainage of excess water, 
  • roofing not necessary in most cases
  • simple construction, 
  • fewer joined elements 
  • a higher glass to frame ratio
  • concealed fittings
  • more light inside the room
  • easier to open and close the construction

 

Disadvantages of bifold doors

Having listed the most important differences between bifold doors and sliding doors, we perfectly realise that the purchase decision will usually depend on the buyer’s personal preferences, needs and the space they have available. Are there any significant cons of bifold doors you should be aware of? To be honest: no, there aren’t many. Of course, bifold doors might be slightly inconvenient to clean. As they have multiple folding layers, their slides are more difficult to reach and properly maintain. However, a little more patience combined with a mix of soap and water and a non-abrasive cloth should do the job! Another disadvantage is the fact that when fully closed, bifold doors have visible hinges and weak points. These can be quite draughty and sometimes make a target for intruders. Fortunately, the latter is easily solved with secure RC1 and RC2 fittings and lock inserts. Remember: when bifold doors are bought from a reliable company, installed and locked correctly, they are one of the most secure entry options!

Bifold doors are sold with a flush threshold, which means no variation in the floor level between the interior and exterior of the building. Obviously, it may raise questions and doubts whether such a solution is a good protection against e.g. water ingress during heavy rain. The latter may be solved by installing a flush threshold with an integrated drainage system to keep the doors weatherproof. Additionally, having a flush threshold is ideal for wheelchair access and for families with small children who are able to run between the indoors and outdoors without encountering a step.

 

 

How much bifold doors cost on average

Last but not least, it is the internal or external bifold doors price that has the biggest impact on one’s purchase decision. And as always, it is good to realise that the cost depends on a few factors, including the chosen frame material and the size of one’s pathway. When buying aluminium bifold doors from Fenbro, you will typically pay around €10,300 for the model that is 6000 mm wide x 2100 mm high. In comparison, for aluminium sliding doors of the same dimensions, you will pay around €12,800. However, these prices do not include changes in colours, dimensions and additional accessories. So if you e.g. decide on black bifold doors or come to the conclusion that it is anthracite grey bifold doors that suit your house the most, be prepared that each such change affects the final price of the product. If you want to know the detailed quote on your individual order, please contact Fenbro Sales Team.

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