When it comes to buying bifold doors, most of the folding sliding door products on the market promise the essentials – security, good weather performance and fully opening up on warmer days to your patio or garden. In this guide to buying bifold doors, we explain some of the essentials but also help you with other aspects around folding sliding doors, helping you make a better buying decision, and getting a more superior product for your new extension or property renovation project.
The advantages of higher quality bifolding doors explained
Any bifolding door provides a visually appealing patio door in your new extension or as a replacement for your dated patio doors. You’ll get a brighter room with excellent views out to your garden.
Open up your doors in the spring or summer and you’ll enjoy a seamless link from inside to out – an extension of your kitchen or living area. Even better with a bifold is their flexible configuration with your panels sliding in one or two directions.
A well-designed bifold can also come with a lower or flush threshold connecting your inner floors to your outside decking or slabs, but with full weather and water protection.
Configure your new bifolding doors correctly and you can also enjoy similar functionality to regular doors making quick garden access or ventilation easy, without having to fold the panels back every time.
The only disadvantage to bifolding doors is understanding the sheer choice when all materials and many brands seem to offer the same benefits. So let’s start giving you the tools you need to buy better doors without breaking the bank.
Why aluminium is best when buying bifold doors
Aluminium is by far the best material when buying bifolding doors. You’ll get similar security, weather protection and function with aluminium, PVCu or timber. However, compared with PVCu and timber doors, aluminium is always slimmer and provides larger glass sizes. The larger glass sizes matter a lot in your choice of bifolding door.
The larger glass sizes from slimmer bifolding doors give you more light, better views and a more pleasing outlook, especially when the doors are closed. And remember, our bifolding doors are closed most of the year.
Another reason why aluminium is best when buying bifolding doors is larger bifold panel sizes. Most PVCu doors typically go up to around 900mm per panel. Aluminium bifolds go up to 1200mm wide with most brands and even up to 1500mm wide with a Schuco-branded folding sliding door. The same applies to bifolding door heights with aluminium exceeding other materials in how high your doors go up to.
Why does this matter? Aluminium bifolding doors give you fewer panels than other materials across the same size opening. Fewer panels again mean larger glass sizes, fewer visible mullions and altogether better bifolding doors in situ.
Colour is yet another reason why aluminium is better when buying bifold doors. There’s no other material offering not just a choice of shades but also different textures. Aluminium bifolds give you over 200 different colours. Better than PVCu or timber bifolds are colours with texture. Or you can choose an authentic woodgrain finish if your property needs it without the maintenance of wood doors. When you want ultra-modern, metallic colours deliver an altogether different look and feel to your new folding sliding doors.
Why sightlines matter on bifolding doors
The less visual bulk in your doors, the better they look. So look for bifolding doors with slimmer sightlines when all the panels are closed. Many bifolding doors on the market offer mullion sightlines of around 135mm to 154mm or more. The good news is there are slimmer models on the market.
What’s the benefit of slimmer bifolds? Apart from more pleasing lines, it’s another reason for getting larger glass panels and a more spacious feel in your room.
The Origin slimline bifold has sightlines of only 110mm, making it one of the thinnest premium quality bifolds on the market. Even better with this door is getting matching single or double doors with the same neat proportions. Our Solarlux product is the slimmest, with 99mm mullions and you’ll be hard pushed to find a thinner product on the market. Or for something in the middle, Schuco has the most popular and desirable aesthetic at 120mm.
So our advice for getting the best looking bifolding door is to look for those with thinner sightlines.
How better hardware matters when buying bifold doors
One of the best ways of understanding what makes a better bifolding door over and above what you get with any bifold is the quality of the hardware.
The lighter, quieter, smoother and effortless a bifold is to fully fold is your best clue to the quality of the hardware and the product. For the best operation, nothing beats the German-designed or made bifolding doors like Solarlux or Schuco. Don’t just take our word for it. We’ve got three brands in our showroom and you can come and see this for yourself.
Then it’s the quality of the hardware itself. Most lower-priced bifolding doors come with the same style of handle you get on cheaper doors where you see one handle combined with the key cylinder.
A higher-end bifold comes with more luxurious handles that simply look and feel better at first glance. Another feature of a quality bifold is those with a separate handle to the cylinder. Not only does it look better but the handles are significantly more premium with marine-grade metals that are thicker. Locking and opening the doors feels simply better. Of course, these types of handles last longer and are less prone to the dropping and sagging you get with cheaper handles.
The quality of the hardware also extends to critical components like the door seals. Origin bifolds are unique in giving you gaskets colour matched to seven different colour combinations. There’s nothing better than a white bifold with white gaskets or a grey modern finish with the seals in a similar colour. It’s another quality indicator when buying bifold doors.
One of the characteristics of any bifold is how much of the hardware is visible. So what better way to make these visible door rollers and guides look better than choosing what colour they come in? It’s another great quality clue when buying bifold doors and our range gives you these options.
Why low thresholds are not all the same when buying bifold doors
Want the low and flush threshold on your folding doors? Here’s another area where the upper-tier bifold surpasses a standard door on the market. Most regular bifolds only give you two threshold options – the standard and a low version. The problem with the low version on many brands is it’s only intended for internal use. So many brands work on setting the standard threshold lower giving you the flush look. And in most cases, this is just fine. We also offer this option.
Better bifolding doors give you more than two options and some of our doors come with up to five different threshold solutions. If you want a low threshold for its styling any bifold will meet your needs. If you need a low threshold for better accessibility and weather performance, perhaps you have a relative with a wheelchair or mobility issues. Better bifolding doors give you more options at the threshold and again, our product range meets most requirements. It’s another consideration when buying bifold doors.
Understanding what are the best bifolding doors sizes
The size of your existing or new door opening determines most bifolding doors sizes and indeed whether your opening suits bifolds or whether French doors may be more suitable in a smaller doorway.
Generally, openings of more than 2.2m wide are suitable for a three panel bifold right up to larger folding glass walls with multiple door panels spanning up to 8 or more metres.
Another consideration is the number of panels. Going for wider door panels could also mean fewer of them. We have bifolds providing solutions with three panel designs where many other brands need four panels across the same size of opening. Contact us and we can help you design the best bifolding door at the most suitable sizes for your use and your property type.
Overall, when buying bifold doors, consider larger panels combined with slimmer bifolding door profiles that give the best look overall, for maximum light, reduced aluminium lines and better bifolding doors.
The UK’s best bifolding door brands by aluhome
At aluhome, we’ve got the UK’s most desirable bifolding door brands, made by the finest manufacturers. Every one of our brands promises more features, design benefits, functionality and customisation than most on the market.
Our Origin range gives you a choice of models with two sightlines and one of the UK’s best known brands. Schuco bifolds deliver the finest in design and engineering with contemporary styling and spectacular slide and fold action.
Solarlux bifolding doors are our top of the range Made in Germany high-end solution when you want a bifolding door like no other.
Contact us today or visit our Aluminium Studio in Stamford where you can view these in full-size models alongside matching aluminium windows, front doors, residential doors, sliding doors and more.