Your Bi-fold door questions, answered
Here we answer your questions about one of the biggest open plan living trends, Bi-fold doors.
What are Bi-fold doors?
Bi-fold doors are one of the biggest trends to come out of the open plan living style that we have seen develop and grow over the past ten years.
Creating a seamless transition between the outside and your living space, they are glass folding/sliding doors – and can sometimes be used as internal room dividers. They simply concertina creating an open space in your home.
Bringing the outside in, bi-fold doors open up your living space and when they are closed they provide a depth of glazing allowing light to flood into your home.
Are bi-fold doors expensive?
There are a huge range of options available for bi-fold doors – and with that comes a range of investment options. The choice of materials, glazing options – and even the operating systems that manage the opening and closing can all add onto the budget. The cost varies on size, material – and the quality of the door.
Within the cost you will need to factor in installation costs and possibly delivery. A three panel, average height door could cost between £3,000 - £5,000, while the budget for a bi-fold door starts from £1,000 per linear metre, dependent on material.
The cost of course changes as you change your spec so the best advice is to visit local showrooms and see what is available and then get at least three quotes on your agreed spec.
What material should you use? u-PVC, Timber or Aluminium?
u-PVC will provide the best thermal insulation. Energy-efficient Bi-fold Doors ‘concertina’ back upon themselves to create a stunning entranceway that lets the best of the outdoors in, and can be installed so that the doors sit inside or outside the property when folded back.
It’s worth noting that Bi-fold Doors which stack outside the property leave you with more space internally for furniture and entertaining. u-PVC bi-folds are manufactured in a range of colours and woodgrain finishes to match your existing windows. A very on-trend choice is to have white windows paired with an anthracite grey Bi-fold Door.
u-PVC will provide all the low maintenance properties and superb durability you would expect.
Natural woods and materials have adorned the interiors pages of all magazines this season showcasing the return to nature and the desire to ensure we use as many sustainable products as possible.
Timber bi-folds blend in beautifully with a more traditional or period property but you do need to look at the different timber options as engineered timbers have more dimensional stability that their solid timber sisters. Softwood is less expensive than hardwood – however could warp over time when exposed to the elements which could cause problems for closing and opening your doors. Timber doors also require ongoing maintenance.
Aluminium doors appeal to a more urban environment and are often slimmer. They need less after care and can often be the better option if you are looking at unusual sizes and spaces as they can be made wider than timber doors but they can be more pricey and tend to fare less well when it comes to efficiency.
Are they secure?
Security shouldn’t be an issue with your bi-folds. All doors should come with an accredited locking system – ask about the police preferred ‘Secured By Design’ standard which shows that the product has been designed with reducing crime in mind.
Most manufacturers and installers will include accredited, insurance-recognised locks (at least a five lever key cylinder) and good quality products should have integrated multipoint locking systems.
The quality of your doors and hinges is an important factor in ensuring safety and security. All bi-fold doors must be double glazed with toughened or safety glass and this will make them harder to break for burglars.
Bi-fold doors are brilliant but there will often be a dreary day when you won’t want to let the outside in so ensure your unit is also fitted with an access door so you don’t have to open the entire system every time the cat wants to play out.