While bifold doors offer an elegant and functional solution for merging your internal living space and the outside world, providing the maximum open area and the most light, there are also some disadvantages: when internally locked you can’t get in from the outside; and you might not wish to open up the door in cold or inclement weather. These problems can be avoided, however, by designing in a traffic door.
A traffic door is similar to a conventional door but is built as an element within your bifold door. It opens and locks completely independently from the rest of the system, so you can open it without opening up the whole door. The purpose is to provide easy convenient access between your internal and external spaces. Generally, traffic doors have a lever handle and key cylinder that operate a hook bolt lock.
There are several design options. It may be hinged to the door frame, in which case it is completely independent from the rest of the bifold door system, or alternatively it may be part of the bifold system. In the latter case it could be the last door in a system comprised of an odd number of door leaves, or a door incorporated within one of the central leaves in a system consisting of either an even or odd number of leaves.
When the weather is warm you will really enjoy the benefits of your bifold door, extending your living space into the outside world, but when the weather chills the last thing you are likely to want to do is open up your home to the cold, though even in cold weather your bifold door will provide the best possible view while its high standard of insulation will keep you warm and cosy inside.
A traffic door means that you can access your garden without the need to open up the bifold, which can be a big advantage. Furthermore, it provides access from the outside even when your bifold door is locked internally, as it must do for security reasons. All bifold doors lock from the inside, otherwise they would introduce a weak point in your home security system.
Not all external bifold doors require a traffic door. If you have an alternative way of getting into your garden and accessing your house from the outside, for instance a kitchen door, then a traffic door isn’t really necessary.
However, even when you have alternative access you might still decide to include a traffic door in the design. Certainly it adds to the convenience and overall experience of using you bifold doors.
As already mentioned there are various options regarding how to design in a traffic door. The design depends to a large extent on the number of panels your system includes and whether this is an even or odd number. For instance, if you have just three panels then the final panel can be a traffic door as you can include an external handle; this isn’t the case with an even number of panels as the external face of the end panel folds inwards. A traffic door should add only a little to the total cost of your system.