Anyone lucky enough to have a garden knows just how exciting it can be when the summer months come around and you want to make the most of the sunny weather. Naturally, one of the best ways to do this is by installing a set of exterior windowed doors so you can enjoy those all-day rays.
But that begs the difficult question – just which type of doors do you choose for your home? Having compared French Doors and External Sliding Doors, we’re now going to do the same with bi-folds and French doors.
Sharing many of the same qualities, you may think that choosing between bi-folds or French doors would be simpler. But despite their similar opening style, there are still plenty of things that differentiate the two.
So, here are the main advantages and disadvantages to know when deciding between bi-fold or French Doors, to help you pick the right style for your home.
While French doors are made up of two separate doors locked in the middle, either of which can be opened separately when desired, bi-fold doors are formed of multiple separate door panels laid out on a track system.
When opened, the panes of your bi-fold door fold outward to stack neatly on top of one another, allowing you to essentially slot the door away at the end of the track to create an entirely open exit into your garden.
Naturally, this lends a set of bi-fold doors a few advantages over their French counterparts, namely that they usually take up less space when open – especially if you stack them internally against an empty wall. Though walls with in-built architecture can get in the way of this.
Their wider construction also makes them ideal for opening up large walls to the outside, and like sliding doors, they are well-suited for installation in a rear kitchen or lounge.
However, this is not to say that bi-folds have all the advantages over French doors. This type of traditional door is absolutely perfect for smaller areas you want to connect to your garden, or as a replacement for a current rear-external door that you want to upgrade.
In many cases, when installed correctly, French doors take up as little room as bi-folds, and thanks to their simple hinge opening mechanism, are often considered easier to operate. That said bi-fold door offer added flexibility in how they open and are able to offer a single opening door, a French door within them, plus the option to fold panels away to one or either side.
As with dedicating time to any big upgrade project, aesthetics will naturally play just as important a role as functionality when deciding between bi-fold doors or French doors. Seen as much more of a classical design, French doors are certainly the preferred option for anyone looking to open up a home with a more traditional aesthetic, as their timeless but simple style won’t feel overbearing against old-school layouts, and their varied material options make it easier to find a design that fits your home.
Bi-folds, on the other hand, are the go-to modern option and exemplify this through their slim sightlines, minimal frame designs, and flush threshold finish that provides a seamless external transition. Their multiple configuration options also allow them flexibility in size and installation, and their powder paint coating provides you with plenty of colour options to match the exterior of your property.
Of course, no discussion comparing French doors vs bi-fold doors would be complete without touching on the views they can provide to your home, and as with sliding doors, bi-folds really do have the edge in this department.
Although there is an argument to be made that the frames used to separate the individual panes can cause the view to be broken up, each is still big enough to provide excellent sightlines on their own – often being just as large a single French door pane.
And once fully open, there is no competition between the two types. French doors are often too small to match the wider views offered by bi-folds, which can let you see your whole garden without even leaving the inside of your house.
As with sliding doors, you have three material options you can choose from when installing bi-folds or French doors.
For French doors, wood and uPVC are likely going to be your primary options, and these can certainly deliver on the aesthetic front. With bi-folds, however, your go-to choice should be aluminium.
This is for a multitude of reasons. For example, while wood and uPVC are hard-wearing and look stunning when installed correctly, their high maintenance cost means that you’ll likely need to spend a lot of time dealing with rot, mould, and algae build-up.
Aluminium frames, on the other hand, are both weather and corrosion-resistant, minimising the amount of dirt that clings to your doors and requiring only bi-annual cleaning. Combine this with excellent thermal efficiency thanks to their tighter seal, and your bi-fold doors will keep you warm all year round.
While there has been stiff competition between bi-fold and French doors in the previous areas, when it comes to improving home security, both of these door types are on equal footing, offering safe and secure entrances to your home.
Built using toughened glass and multi-point locking systems, these doors are incredibly difficult to be removed from their frames, and if their locks are removed, they still won’t be openable. As a result, these sorts of doors are often a deterrent to would-be intruders.
Finally, let’s touch on the price difference between these two door types, and it’s here that French doors outshine bi-folds. Thanks to their simplicity and tried-and-tested construction, it is very easy to find well-made French doors at a great price. Whereas bi-folds, due to their more complex structure, will often be more expensive to install.
And there you have it – you should hopefully have everything you need to decide whether or not bi-fold doors or French doors are right for your home. Of course, if you’ve already made your mind up, or want to replace your French doors with bi-fold doors as soon as possible, then why not visit one of our showrooms to see our doors in person?
With over a decade of experience making bespoke aluminium windows and external doors, our team of experts will be happy to help you get your project underway. And don’t forget that you can visit our blog as well for more insightful articles like this one.