Let us help you choose the best bifold doors for your home and what the different options will cost.
Bifold doors are emerging as one of the most popular types of door among UK homeowners. However, with so many options at your disposal, choosing a new exterior door for your property is not a simple decision. Bifold doors can be a superb investment over alternatives like French doors or more conventional sliding doors options. Read on to learn all you need to know about them.
What are bifold doors?
A bifold door is a door that slides open. It is composed of a series of panels that cleverly fold up towards the wall – think of the way a concertina works. Conventional doors are still common in many modern homes, but bifold doors can be a convenient alternative that helps make the most of the space in your home.
Bifold doors are aesthetically-pleasing and very robust, pulling open from the centre to provide a full view and instant access to what’s on the other side in a single, swift motion. Their design means they don’t suffer from that annoying ‘shuddering’ that sometimes happens with sliding doors, and they can be installed as internal doors or external ones that lead to the garden or conservatory. They are a flexible solution that will enhance the sense of space in any environment.
How do bifold doors work?
Bifold doors move along a track that runs along the panels, connected on a train. When you open your bifold doors, they fold in on themselves whilst gliding smoothly along the track system thanks to a series of wheels. The motion is very smooth and quiet and it takes minimal effort to achieve.
Bifold doors usually come in pairs, with the two doors folding to a single side. Larger systems use four or more doors that part at the centre, folding away to both sides. You will get your bifold doors with all the tracking and fittings in place, and they will fold either inwards or outwards (the choice is yours). Flexibility is one of the best features of bifold doors for the discerning modern homeowner.
Bifold doors typically have between two and seven panels, each of which is connected via hinges attached to the roller track at the top and/or bottom of the panels. Operation is very easy, though it is recommended to not open them with excessive force as they could end up getting pulled out of the tracking system.
Do they open from both sides?
This depends on the door you choose. A two-panel door will only open to one side, but a door with four or more panels will open to both sides. These larger bifold doors open from the centre, with the panels folding away to both the left and the right to open up a large space.
Is planning permission required for bifold doors?
Generally speaking, it is rare to have to apply for planning permission for installing exterior bifold doors in an existing opening in your home. This type of installation is typically considered a ‘permitted development’, particularly if you are not adding an extension.
If permission is required, it will usually be granted as long as the alteration has no impact on the principal elevations of the building.
Are bifold doors safe?
Most bifold doors are fitted with a Multi-Point Locking System and include a hidden, inline tracking system. This makes it virtually impossible for an intruder to lift the doors out of their runners to break in.
As they are a substantial access point into your home, bifolds are required to conform to the latest security standards and the lead door is required to use a Multi-Point Locking System. If you want maximum security, invest in a lock that features an anti-pick/drill cylinder in adherence to Police Preferred ‘Secured by Design’ security standards. If there are young children in your household, request finger-safe gaskets so that the doors cannot slam on little hands.
Are they weatherproof?
All bifold doors are extensively tested for weather tightness, so no door will make it to market if it fails on these tests.
Will my room feel cold?
The answer to this question depends on the doors you get. With high-quality, well-fitted bifold doors, the cold weather will be well-and-truly shut outside. They type of glass in the doors is key to their thermal efficiency. You can choose between energy-efficient glass that has an R-value of 4.0 or higher, or you can use a special lining to maximise thermal efficiency.
Even if you don’t want to go the extra mile on this front, there should be no need to worry about your bifold doors letting the weather in. They are built to completely seal your home from the outdoors, and they do so just as effectively as any conventional door. Plus, the larger windows are excellent at letting the sunlight in to warm your home, and you can trap that heat inside at night with some curtains or blinds.
Different sliding door frames have different properties. Timber is usually engineered for maximum thermal insulation, while aluminium bifold doors include a thermal break to reduce heat transfer.
What are the door configuration options?
Bifold door frames can be made from a range of materials. At Bifold Doors UK, we specialise in aluminium products as well believe these are the highest-quality products for modern homes.
Aluminium bi fold doors are lightweight and highly durable, with slim aluminium profiles and a polyamide thermal break. They are offered with superb weather rated thresholds and state-of-the-art multi-point locks for maximum security. The premium tracks and wheel assemblies guarantee smooth and easy operation of the doors. There are various colour options to fit seamlessly with your home, and our products and installation always exceed Building Regulations requirements to ensure you get nothing but the best from us.
The other door configurations you might find include:
- Timber: Known for high-strength and a unique look, timber bifold doors can be an attractive option with various security and thermal efficiency features, but they are often very expensive and vulnerable to certain types of damage.
- uPVC: This is a popular material for many door and window types, as it is durable and affordable. However, they are vulnerable to warping or damage from adverse weather, and thermal efficiency is not the best.
- Composite: Composite doors can get the best of two or more worlds but come with a high price tag.
The minimum recommended size for aluminium panels is a three-panel set with each panel measuring 600mm in width. However, panel width typically range from 800mm to 1200mm, so a more accurate reflection of the smallest opening for bifold doors would be 2400mm.
Standard aluminium panels can be double or triple glazed with dimensions of 1000mm by 2800mm.
Specialist wooden doors are available up to 1100mm by 4000mm and can hold up to 16 panels in a single frame. This depends on the manufacture and tolerance of the system.
What glazing should I choose?
We offer a range of glazing options to choose from. Our standard double-glazed units feature toughened Low-E safety glass sealed units filled with 90% argon gas with a warm edge spacer-bar. The U-value is 1.2 W/M²K. Other options include:
- StayCool Solar Glazing: This helps keep out the extreme heat of the sun and reflects glare whilst also providing a 1.1 U-value in winter to retain heat well.
- Triple glazing: Get maximum thermal efficiency and soundproofing with triple glazed doors that also offer tremendous security benefits.
- Krypton glass: Units with krypton gas, instead of argon, provide greater thermal efficiency but come at a higher cost.
What finishes are available?
Aluminium bifold doors are finished with a polyester powder-coat paint that is baked onto the aluminium. This ensures a smooth look with the durability to last for many years – we offer a 10-year guarantee on the finish. You can choose a white finish or any option from our extensive colour range, and we offer various textured and structural finishes like wood, metallic and silver anodised.
In total, there are 200+ finishes to choose from, and we can even offer a dual-colour option so that the interior colour is different from the exterior one.
What door and frame sizes and thicknesses do I need?
Bifold Doors UK will carry out a complete survey by a qualified, experienced expert to assess the door and frame sizes/thicknesses you will need. We will also be able to recommend products that meet your aims, your concerns, your budget and your preferences. It is very important to get accurate measurements of the aperture in which the doors will be installed, and things like fitting tolerance need to be considered.
If you are not a building professional, it is not recommended to carry out the measuring process yourself. Let an expert come in to make sure everything is 100% accurate.
How to choose a reputable company and fitter
Every bifold door company will promise exceptional customer service and assurances about the quality of their work. A trustworthy company will combine a passion for bifold doors with a focus on customer care, and we have a comprehensive policy to get this right.
Look for accreditations and a strong portfolio of successful projects. Speak to team members and ask them questions about the work they do. Read customer reviews on independent platforms like Trustpilot. We are confident that Bifold Doors UK will tick every one of these boxes so we welcome you to look for evidence of the quality of our service.
What are the U values on bifold doors?
Both the glass and the frame have a U value. For the glass, this is the value of insulation provided at the centre of the pane, and for the frame, it is the overall insulation value for the glass and the frame together. The U value of the glass will always be better than the frame, so there will usually be some difference between the two values.
The lower the U value, the better the insulation of the bifold doors, so if thermal efficiency is important you should look for the lowest possible U value you can afford.
What guarantees and service levels come after the doors are installed?
With our bifold doors, you get a ten-year guarantee that covers everything from the continuing performance of the doors to the finish. Additionally, you get certified security and weather performance assurances in the form of Secured by Design and PAS24. We are confident in the quality of our products and installations, so we offer generous guarantees to give you the peace of mind you deserve.
What are the costs?
Naturally, everyone has a budget for any project in their home. Our aim is to be as transparent as possible about costs so that customers can choose the right product for their needs and plan accordingly. The table below breaks down the costs of our range of bifold door options to give you a guide as to what will be possible with your budget.
Are bifold doors a good investment?
Bifold doors can be an excellent investment as an alternative to traditional sliding doors or French doors. Here are some of the key benefits of bifold doors that provide real value for your money:
- They are incredibly durable, lasting for decades due to the robust nature of aluminium and the efficient mechanisms of the products. Did you know that aluminium can easily last as long as 45 years before you start to see any deterioration?
- They add value to your home, as they are a highly desirable feature that opens up spaces and allows maximum light in whilst offering superb thermal efficiency and weather protection.
- Maintenance is minimal, as the efficient system is designed to keep working flawlessly for many years.
- They are a superior investment to wooden or uPVC sliding doors because they add more value to the home, last longer and enhance your quality of life to a great degree.
Get in touch
If you have questions about our bifold doors or would like to get a quote, please don’t hesitate to contact Bifold Doors UK today. One of our friendly team will be on hand to assist, and you won’t get bombarded with sales pressure or tied into any obligations. It is important to us that you feel comfortable and satisfied at all times, so get in touch for a friendly chat by calling 020 3105 0402 or filling out our contact form.