Bifolding Doors: FAQs
If you’re reading this then it’s likely that you’ve decided on, or have at least considered, installing bifolding doors in your home. Good choice. Not only will a set of bifolding doors lend an added element of uniqueness and class to your home, but they should bring more light and warmth into it, and might even improve your home’s overall energy efficiency. If you’re making the upgrade from conventional single leaf doors, sliding doors or french doors, however, you might have a few questions. Here we’ll do our best to answer some of the more common ones and in the process, hopefully we’ll be able to help you cement your decision.
“Are Bifold Patio Doors Secure?”
If your bifold doors are external (leading from the rear of your home into your kitchen, living room, dining room or conservatory) then this is probably going to be towards the top of your list of concerns. One of the main reasons many homeowners opt for bifolding doors over other solutions, however, is that they can be one of the most secure options available, if you make the right choices. The amount of glass used in most bi-fold doors is obviously the major reasons why many might assume they are not as secure as more conventional patio doors, but as long as the glass is double glazed and reinforced in some way, the glass will actually be much harder to break than a bog standard wooden door. This is because of the multi-point locking systems that lock at various points on the tracks beneath or above your doors. Many other doors will only have one locking point to break, but a bi-fold door will typically have several.
How secure you want your bifold doors to be will obviously depend on your own unique circumstances. Some tips you might want to consider to make your doors as secure as they possibly can be is to consider an aluminium frame instead of a wooden one, install a security screen to add another layer of protection to your home, or install a home security system. You don’t necessarily need to go all out with the system either. You could simply purchase a magnetic window or door alarm to scare off potential intruders and alert your home and its residents of any ill intent.
“How Many Doors Can I Have?”
If you opt for a bespoke design, then you can effectively have as many doors as you like, though even numbered doors are more common, as bi-fold doors tend to come in pairs. With odd numbers of doors you would usually have a “traffic door” or “lead door” that operates independently of the other doors and also acts as the doors that the others follow. How many bi-fold doors you can have in your situation will depend on the size of the opening, the weight of the doors and the structural integrity of your home in general. These are all things you should discuss with the manufacturer or builders before going ahead with the install. Bi-fold doors are easily the option that offer the most flexibility in terms of available configurations because they can have any number of door leaves and can be designed to all open in one direction, to open in the middle or in multiple other configurations to suit your preference. They can also be designed to fold back inside or outside the home, depending on the space you have available.
“Are Bifolding Doors Energy Efficient?”
This obviously only relates to exterior bifold doors, and as long as they are installed properly, they should be very energy efficient indeed. Wooden frames (FSC-certified wood is a must) are especially great at holding thermal energy and as long as your doors are sealed properly. This is something you can actually rectify yourself with relative ease, and there are hundreds of sources online that should be able to help you understand how to adjust your bifold doors in order to make sure they are as tight as possible. You can also install seals made from either rubber or brush, which can be placed between the bottom of your bi-fold doors and the threshold. A tight seal here will not only keep out water and wind, but will also reduce heat loss from your home
In terms of being able to actually measure how energy efficient your bi-fold doors are, that will depend on your U-Value. A lower U-Value means your home is more energy efficient, with a decent U-Value typically sitting at around 1.3 or 1.4. A structure’s U-Value is calculated by measuring the rate at which heat is transferred through it and dividing it by the difference in temperature throughout your home. To achieve a lower U-Value you’ll want to make sure your doors are air tight and that you use toughened glass, which will naturally have a lower U-Value.
“Are Bifold Doors Expensive?”
As with anything in this world, there are expensive bifold doors, affordable bifold doors and bifold doors that sit somewhere in the middle. It’s really a case of shopping around. Certain configurations will be more expensive than others though. If you’re on a budget, you could opt for UPVC frames instead of more traditional wood or aluminium frames, though these will not last as long and are generally considered to be less aesthetically pleasing. Obviously, the more doors and the wider opening you need to fill, the more expensive your bifold doors will be.
“Do Bifold Doors Let the Cold and the Weather in?”
When it comes to keeping the cold out, the glazing you opt for will be one of the most important factors to consider. Any glazing, however, will help retain heat in areas that get a lot of sunlight, as, even when the doors are completely closed during the day, the sunlight will still get through. Even if you’re not blessed with a home that basks in glorious sunlight for 80% of the year, however, then a decent set of bi-fold doors should keep the cold at bay. For one thing, they are low threshold which means they sit lower towards the floor than other doors. There are also more treatment options available for glazing than there is for wood and aluminium is not (contrary to popular belief) cold to the touch when exposed to the cold, as long as your frames have been thermally broken in order to avoid cold bridging.
Whilst the cold is generally easy to keep out (as long as you remember to close your doors that is), if you live in an area that experiences heavy bouts of rain on a regular basis then you might want to think about further weatherproofing options. For wooden frames, weatherproof paints are a must, and you can also invest in weatherproof seals designed to block rain water from getting into the home. You could also use silicone caulk to seal any gaps beneath your bifolding doors if it gets that far. Do be aware, however, that extreme weather can lead to condensation and misting between the panes of glass in your bi-fold doors, and if this is the case, they will need to be replaced.
“How Do I Clean my External Bifold Doors?”
Another major bonus of bi-fold doors is that they are generally really easy to clean. For the glass, a simple combination of soap and water is all you’ll need, as well as a microfibre cloth in order to achieve a streak-free finish. The frames, meanwhile, can be cleaned by a cloth or sponge soaked in water and some mild detergent. For particularly stubborn stains, meanwhile, consider using an ink rubber. Wooden frames can also be spruced up easily with a quick coat of varnish. Frames, finally, can be cleared regularly using the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner. You’ll want to clean out your tracks regularly in order to maintain consistently smooth operation.
There’s no reason why anyone should count out the idea of installing bi-fold doors in their home, and hopefully here we’ve been able to help you all come to the same conclusion. Any more specific questions, meanwhile, will doubtlessly have their answers online somewhere.