When deciding on the right patio door for your home it’s important to choose the right option that satisfies your aesthetic style as well as providing safety and practicality.
Most patio doors feature a glass panel to provide a view of the outdoor space and create the feeling of a bigger room. The three most popular options are French doors, sliding doors and bi fold doors.
Sliding doors have two panels of glass where one panel slides over the other to open while French doors open outwards in a similar way to a regular door. Bi folding doors are made up of multiple glass panels that rotate on an axis to open and can be slid to the side for an unobstructed view.
Are Bi Folding Doors a Good Idea?
Bi fold doors are a great choice for those who want a dramatic glass feature wall with the option to fully open doors to an outside space or to an internal area.
It is recommended that an aluminium frame is used for a good quality external bi fold door as it’s much stronger and durable than the uPVC and timber alternatives. However, if your bi fold door is being used internally, a cheaper option is more viable as it’s less exposed to the elements.
Aluminium bi fold doors are available as top hung or bottom rolling, depending on which system you prefer.
Benefits of Bi Folding Doors
1. Blend indoor and outdoor space
For many people, the biggest benefit of bi folding doors is that they can fully open, with the glass panels neatly tucked away at one end of the opening. This means you can make the most of the warm summer’s days, letting the outdoors fill your house.
This is not possible with sliding doors as the panels only open halfway. While French doors can also be fully opened, the swing room is much larger than a bi folding door, so can be easily obstructed.
Bi fold doors offer an elegant aesthetic to your home. Even when closed, you get a wide, panning view of your outdoor space so you can make the most of your garden while making your living space feel much bigger.
This also allows natural light to flood into the rooms for a light and airy feel with an added bonus of ultimately reducing your energy costs.
Aluminium bi folding doors can be made to fit your personal style with powder coating upgrades and configurations to perfectly suit your needs and the space available.
3. Durable and Lightweight
Aluminium is an extremely lightweight and durable material, which is why this material is recommended for external use above alternatives.
There is much less maintenance needed for aluminium frames compared to uPVC and timber frames, and most manufacturers offer a 10-year guarantee with aluminium frames.
Bi folding doors go through thorough testing during manufacture to ensure they can withstand strong winds and heavy rain.
4. Safer Option
Due to the folding sliding doors, bi folding systems have a multi-point locking system to secure each panel. This makes it a safer option than French doors and sliding doors that only have one point of locking at the door opening.
Additional security measures, such as shootbolts can also be put in place for extra peace of mind.
Drawbacks of Bi Folding Doors
Installing bi folding doors can be expensive, especially if you are replacing a different type of door with a bi folding door as this may require structural changes.
As with any door and window installation, the larger the glass panel, the more expensive the installation will be, with prices also increasing for unusual shapes.
However, adding a patio door of any style will increase the value of your property in the long term, making it worth the investment.
2. Lower Glass to Frame Ratio
While bi folding doors give a completely unobstructed view when open, more framing is required to support the panels compared to sliding doors and French doors. This means more of the view is obstructed when the doors are shut.
This doesn’t just affect the aesthetics of the door, the higher ratio of frames to glass leads to lowered thermal efficiency compared to the alternatives. That being said, the difference is marginal and will have very slight impact on the overall temperature of your house.
3. Building Regulations
When you make any major changes to your property, you must check your local building regulations. This will apply whether you are building a new doorway or simply replacing an existing door.
If you are using a registered builder to install your bi fold doors, they will be able to self-certify their work and can advise you on the steps you need to take to stay in line with regulations.
However, if you are undertaking a DIY project, meeting regulations will be more complex. You need to meet the following categories:
- Insulation and thermal efficiency
- Fire safety
- Structural stability
It is important to remember that building regulations are different to planning permission, which is required for renovations. You should check with your local authority if you are unsure about whether you meet the criteria for planning permission.
These regulations only apply if you are installing external bi folding doors. If your door is entirely internal, the regulations are much more relaxed.
So, Are Bi Fold Doors Any Good?
Bi fold doors are a great option for a patio door. They are lightweight, durable and safe for external use as well as being aesthetically pleasing and adding value to your property.
However, they can be initially expensive to install and have a higher frame to glass ration that affects thermal efficiency and is more obstructive when they’re closed compared to alternatives.
If you’ve decided that bi folding doors are right for you, take a look at our versatile range of bi folding doors available in a number of configurations to suit your space.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team for enquires or more advice.