What Are Bifolding Doors?
Although sliding doors and conventional single leaf doors are common in the vast majority modern homes, they are generally quite ugly and boring, and can be incredibly inconvenient. Bifolding doors are a far more elegant and interesting solution. A more elegant, concise answer to the question posed above would be something akin to; “a simple way to bring the outside into your home, save space and bring your home bang up to date,” but here, we’ll be offering something a little more in-depth. These are doors that will make your home sing in ways you wouldn’t have thought possible and will offer far more than a bog-standard single leaf door ever could, especially in terms of aesthetics and convenience. They are also incredibly sturdy compared to their sliding brethren, and there are far more options available when it comes to customisation.
What is a Bifolding Door?
Bifolding doors, often otherwise known as bi-fold doors or simply folding doors, are a set of doors that can be used for both external and internal openings, which slide open an closed along a track that sits either above or below the doors themselves, and fold in or out on one another in order to open up a space. In external applications they are generally used in kitchens, living rooms or conservatories to lead into a garden or patio area, and act as a more natural gateway to the outdoors. This is due to the use of glazing, with most bi-fold doors made up primarily of double-glazed glass, which is set in a number of oak, aluminium or UPVC frames.
How do Bifolding Doors Work?
In the simplest terms possible, bi-folding doors are referred to as such because of the way they fold in on themselves. They use a simple tracking system, which can either be bottom hung or top hung. Top hung systems might be more desirable because they are less prone to being clogged with debris, though they also require a greater structural integrity in order to function properly. There are also configurations with both top and bottom tracks. In all cases, the doors, which generally come in pairs and either fold to one side or part in the middle and fold to both sides, glide along the system with the help of a series of wheels. The doors themselves are connected with hinges and attached to the top or bottom track and are operated when you pull open or close the main traffic door, which pulls all the other doors along with it. They are generally perceived as being smoother and more secure than sliding doors, because of the three point locking systems available and the increased sturdiness of the doors themselves.
Benefits of External Bifolding Doors
Whilst this will depend very much on your garden (or patio area), the main benefit of an external bifolding door setup is the view it will give those sitting inside. If you’ve spent hundreds of pounds and hours prettying up your garden, then surely you want to actually spend time admiring it? This is easier said than one in Britain, where the winters are long and harsh and the summers are lukewarm at best. It’s something of a cliché, perhaps, to say that bifolding doors really “bring the outside in,” but as far as we’re concerned, it’s a cliché for a reason! The other major advantage, that is often overlooked, is the increased security offered by decent bifolding doors. It’s a sad fact that most home invaders will access your home from the rear, so it’s paramount that any rear entrance to your home is as secure as possible. Bi-fold doors can be fitted with a multi-point locking system and reinforced glass, so they are much more difficult to break into than conventional single leaf doors or sliding doors. The flexibility is also a big boon, as they are manufactured in various sizes and can even be built to a bespoke size, and they are easy to clean, especially UPVC and aluminium doors. This might be an even more valid benefit if you live in an area that sees a lot of harsh weather. Finally, bi-folding doors can be installed flush with your floor, which means less chance of tripping, so they are great for families with small children and accident prone adults!
Benefits of Internal Bifolding Doors
For smaller homes where space is at a premium, internal bifolding doors can be a great solution for connecting smaller rooms or separating larger rooms or for smaller spaces such as pantries, laundry rooms or en suite bathrooms. Perhaps the most common use for interior bi-fold doors, however, is in wardrobes as their design means that you’ll be able to access the entire wardrobe at once, without having to walk into it or squeeze around an uncomfortable corner.
Colours and Finishes
With wooden bi-fold doors, you might desire to maintain that natural look by opting for a varnish instead of a paint job. When you’re discussing external bifold doors though, remember that you’ll want to include some form of weatherproofing, otherwise the finish won’t last. Aluminium is a perfect choice for your frame if you are worried about the weather, or you could go for a composite material, which essentially gives you the best of both worlds. Similarly, you could also opt for a wooden frame with an aluminium core.
Thermal Efficiency and Security
It’s understandable that you might assume exterior bi-fold doors might let in a little more of the cold than their more conventional brethren, but as long as they are fitted well, and are flush with the frame, they can provide the best of both worlds; an easy way to let the air in on a hot day, and enough protection from the cold on a winter’s night. Double glazing is a given in most modern bi-fold doors, but you might want to take it a step further and install extra energy efficient glass. Also, remember that the larger surface area of glass means that, as long as you leave the curtains or drapes open during the day, you’re home will capture more of the sun, which will leave it toasty once the sun sets.
Bi-fold doors are gorgeous, but you won’t be able to fully appreciate them until you’ve lived with them for a few months and had an opportunity to really soak in the benefits. As such, we recommend talking to any friends or relatives who already have a set installed is you’re having second thoughts. We are almost certain they’ll have nothing but positive things to report!