Bi-fold doors and sliding doors are popular types of modern glazed doors homeowners choose to install in their property, to maximise natural light. However, it can be challenging to select the most suitable door for your home as both types of doors offer different features, practical uses and aesthetics.
To ensure you have made the right decision, read our guide on choosing the perfect glazed doors for your home.
Size of garden
For smaller properties like semi-detached or terraced houses, bi-fold doors are most suitable, especially for homes with a normal-sized garden. Likewise, if you want to upgrade your old French doors, replacing them with bi-fold doors is a great option. However, if your property has a larger outdoor space and amazing views such as skylines, coastlines and open countryside; sliding doors would be ideal.
– Bi-fold doors
Bi-fold doors usually have six panels that fold neatly together, which slide open inwards or outwards. It allows you to fully open the door and connect the inside with the exterior space. Most people favour outwards opening bi-fold doors as you can open the doors without dripping rainwater inside your property. You also don’t need to be concerned about the furniture inside the room or leaves getting in the way while opening outward bi-fold doors.
– Sliding doors
Sliding doors – usually providing a half, two-thirds and three-quarters opening configurations – open out to the side, with panes located behind one another. In comparison with bi-fold doors which open up about 90% of the entire frame, sliding doors are more limited to 50-65%. When closed, the sliding doors consist of slim frames, bigger panes of glass and wide apertures which offers uninterrupted views of the outside. People generally go for two large glass panels which slide over the other to create two wide apertures. However, if you want to create a complete open wall, hidden pocket versions are available whereby sliding doors are inserted into the wall.
If you’re looking for a door with high versatility, bi-fold doors would be ideal for your project. You can open the doors fully and seamlessly connect your indoor space with the outside, or have the option to open one panel for everyday use.
Sliding doors are worth the investment if you want to prioritise the view as it has the least amount of framing. These doors don’t completely open like bi-fold doors, but instead, sliding doors will give you an inside-outside feel.
Generally, bi-fold doors are less thermally efficient than sliding doors as they have more frames, meaning more heat can escape from the inside. Aluminium is a popular material for bi-fold doors and sliding doors as they are low maintenance, extremely durable and provides a contemporary style. However, aluminium frames are poor thermal insulators and unable to retain the heat. As sliding doors tend to have fewer frames and more glass surface area, they are more thermally efficient than installing bi-fold doors in your house.
A level threshold
Both bi-fold doors and sliding doors create a level threshold between outdoor and indoor. A level threshold is achieved when the top of the floor track is flush with the floor, and internal and external floor are the same height. As such, it is suitable for wheelchair users who have mobility issues and young children as there’s less space restriction. Children can run inside and outside the house without constantly tripping up or falling.
You need to factor in the cost of installing bi-fold or sliding doors as the frame material and dimensions will alter the overall price. Aluminium is the most expensive material from the selection, so if you’re on a budget, uPVC is your best choice as it’s the cheapest. Also, panel sizes affect the overall cost, whereby larger sizes of glass will cost more – which means that sliding doors may be significantly more expensive than bi-fold doors.
Builders would typically start installing the doors at the start of the morning. They would need to complete the outer frame of the system before proceeding to the track installation and doors fitting. The last stage will require the builders to test and adjust the system if necessary – to ensure the doors are working correctly.
In most cases, a bi-fold door of up to six panels would take a single team of builders a day to complete. But larger projects with bigger glass panes may take multiple builders two or three days to finish.