If you’re thinking of installing new external glass doors into their home, your first decision will often come down to whether or not your new view is securely protected by a set of sliding or bi-folding doors.
To help with making your decision, we always recommend heading down to one of our showrooms and speaking with our experts. However, in the meantime, we’ve created this in-depth bi-fold door buying guide to cover everything you need to know.
Although bi-fold doors and sliding doors share numerous similarities, it should come as no surprise that they’re mainly differentiated by the way they open. As the names imply, sliding doors slide, while bi-fold doors fold.
And by fold, we mean that a set of bi-folding doors has the ability to stack each separate pane on top of each other in an accordion-like manner, allowing you to swing the door to one side once fully folded to provide you with an unbroken view and exit to the outdoors.
While simple in principle, there’s more that goes into enabling this type of door to fold in on each other than you might think.
First and foremost, the frame of each door pane is joined by a set of durable hinges, designed to take the weight of either adjoining frame once it’s removed from its holdings.
But that’s not the only weight-distributing feature. Like doors that slide, bi-folds are still connected by a set of runners, ensuring they’re supported properly when fully open.
As with any type of bespoke window or door, the frames of bi-folding doors can be constructed using a variety of materials that cater to different aesthetics. The following are the most common:
All of these have their pros and cons as construction materials. However, it’s important to note that, here at Express, we exclusively produce our frames from aluminium in order to give our customers a product that’s long-lasting and flexible when being styled.
In most cases, Aluminium is considered to be one of the best materials for constructing bi-folding doors, mainly due to its versatility and strength. Aluminium bi-folding doors allow for beautiful, slender frames that widen your window space, and are durable enough to support large panes of glass that provide truly panoramic views.
With its classic, rustic feel, it’s clear why timber is another favourite for those interested in getting bi-folds. And if the wood is used alongside aluminium, it can help to reinforce the strength of the doors themselves, meaning they will ultimately last longer.
However, timber tends to require more maintenance than other materials to avoid warping, but if properly made by a specialist company, timber bi-folds can provide a stylish alternative to aluminium.
PVC might be the cheapest material option, but it’s also perhaps the least practical. PVC often expands and contracts as a result of temperature change, making opening and closing doors more difficult, and it may become a security issue if improperly closed.
PVC is also much weaker than other materials and is less able to hold large panes of glass as a result.
For something that seamlessly combines a traditional appearance with the practicality and performance of aluminium, composite bi-folds are sometimes a popular choice.
Offering a traditional timber-clad finish with all the benefits of an aluminium door, composite is a strong candidate for period properties where homeowners don’t want a modern aluminium aesthetic.
One of the biggest parts of making any set of bi-folds is the glass that’s used. Making your home look that much lighter, warmer, and inviting, it’s no wonder why so many people take their glazing so seriously.
There is a large range of options available to homeowners when it comes to door glazing, but determining what type is right for your home depends entirely on the purpose you envision your bi-fold doors performing.
To give you an idea of the type of glazing available, here are a few of the glazing options you can choose from:
Naturally, there is much more to each glazing type, so be sure to get in touch with our experts to find out more about each option
As you might expect, there are plenty of benefits of bi-fold doors. Not only do they provide a real wow factor to your home, but they can provide a huge source of natural light throughout the year.
The following are just some of the major benefits associated with bi-folds:
However, these great benefits also come with some drawbacks, of which the main ones include:
More frames – although the frames of folding doors are slim, the nature of their construction does mean that they include more frames than sliding doors, breaking up your view to a larger degree.
Space – depending on how your new folding doors need to be installed, they may very well take up more space than desired once fully open, making them less than ideal for small homes.
To ensure you get all the information you need to help make your decision on purchasing bi-folding doors, the following are our most frequently asked questions. Be sure to reach out to our team if your question isn’t answered below.
At Express, we take security very seriously. All of our bi-folding doors are made using a multi-point locking system designed to provide several points of contact within the frame. This prevents intruders from lifting the door or prying it open.
All our doors also feature anti-snap and half-lock cylinders to maximise lock security, and our sturdy double-gazing prevents panes from being easily breached.
For those still unsure how to open bi-fold doors, the process is very simple. Once unlocked, you only need to gently lift the door up, allowing you to effortlessly fold the door panes in on each other. Once folded, you need only swing the door to one side so it’s out of the way
Like with every aspect of your home, we know you’ll want it to complement your personal tastes with your new doors. And when it comes to the aesthetical extras for bi-folds, there are many options to choose from with Express
For both our doors and aluminium windows, we provide over 200 RAL colour options, as well as metallic and textured finishes, each of which uses a powder-coat paint that is baked onto the frames to prevent peeling and fading for up to 10 years.
The price of your folding doors will depend on several factors, including how many panes you want to install, the type of glazing you choose, and the size of the doors themselves. For an idea of how much your new set of doors might cost, it’s best to get in touch with us for a quote.
We know that there’s a lot to take into consideration when making any modifications to your home, but we hope that the information provided in this buying guide gives you a better idea as to whether or not bi-folding doors will suit your home.
Of course, if you want to learn more about your bi-folding door options, then you can always request a brochure from us. And to see each of our doors in person, it’s always a good idea to head down to your nearest showroom. Finally, don’t forget to visit our blog for more detailed articles and buying guides like this one!