How to Choose the Best Bi-folding Doors


In today's homes, having a modern sliding or Bi-fold glazed door installed is slowly becoming one of the most sought-after features. Additionally, when renovating or undertaking an extension sliding or bi-fold doors are often one of the main additions builders use to increase the natural light in the home.

It is important to take your time when choosing the right sliding or bi-fold doors for your house and once installed the wow factor if your new sliding doors could well become the central feature of your room that you have been looking for which is why we at Building Supplies Online have put together this basic guide on How to Choose the Best Bi-Folding or Sliding Doors to assist you in making the right decision.

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What are Bi-Fold or Sliding Doors?

Bi-Fold Doors

Bi-Fold doors are doors that can have a varying amount of panels so that when opened they fold neatly together. To exit or enter the room with a bi-fold door you can also include a standard-style door at one end so that you do not have to fold any or all of the panels. To maximize internal space most people will choose to have their Bi-folding units open outwards, however, this is down to each person's individual taste and also the practicalities of the room as you can if required install your bi-fold doors to have them open inwards. One of the benefits of having your bi-fold open outwards is that any furniture inside your room will not get in the way of the folded leaves of the door when it is opened or closed.

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Sliding Doors

Sliding doors have panels that fit behind each other and open by moving to the side and as such one of the benefits of a sliding door is a larger expanse of glass which is not impaired by as many frame lines as a bi-fold door. Because sliding doors do not require any room to manoeuver them inside or out they are often a popular choice if space is limited. One of the benefits of a Bi-fold door, however, is that you can fully open them, which is not possible with a sliding door unless you also redesign your existing wall or are building a new wall that will contain a "hidden pocket" allowing you to completely slide your doors in to.

What style of bi-fold or sliding doors will suit my home?

The most important thing to consider first is the style of house you live in and therefore what is the best type of material to choose for your doors. Things to take into consideration will be how much light you would like to have come into the interior spaces, your individual preferences to design, colour and look and whether you want a sympathetic look or to make a bold statement with your overall design and finish.

At Building Supplies Online we have seen a trend in the rise in demand for bi-fold and sliding doors with an aluminium design due to their relatively low maintenance requirements, aesthetics and overall strength, however if you require a more traditional looking style and finish then timber bi-fold or sliding doors could be your preferred choice but to keep the timber in good condition and to prevent possible rot please take into consideration that timber framed sliding or bi-fold doors will require more regular maintenance and as the timber frames are not as thin as most aluminium frames, typically timber doors will let in less natural light when compared to aluminium framed bi-folds.

Double or Triple Glazing?

As homeowners have become more conscious of the environment and the effects of thermal efficiency in their homes we have noticed over that past few years at Building Supplies Online that there has been a steady increase in the demand for triple glazed bi-fold or sliding doors. As manufacturing processes have become more advanced over the years, in some cases this has actually improved the efficiency of double-glazed windows and doors to the point that they are almost as thermally efficient and effective as triple-glazed. It may be that the increase in the cost of purchasing triple glazing may not always be the best option, depending on individual tastes and requirements and one of the things to look out for when evaluating double vs triple glazing is to look at the U-value as this is the measure of the heat insulating properties of the glazing and choosing a door with a lower U-rating will provide better insulating performance.

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Security Features to Look For

The weakest area of any locking system on doors is most often the cylinder so when deciding which doors to buy try to make sure that the locks have at least a five-lever key cylinder provided as standard as these are generally more resistant to drilling, picking, bumping or snapping and where at all possible try to choose a bi-fold door manufacturer that supplies insurance recognised and security accredited locks. Another important security factor to consider in the design of bi-fold or sliding doors is the quality of the hinges so that you can make sure when installing the frame that it is firmly and securely fixed to the walls.