Top Ten Tips for Buying Bi folding Doors

What should you consider before you buy new bi folding doors? The purchase of bifolding doors need not be a complicated or stressful process.  At The London Glazing Group, we give you our manufacturing and installation experience to help you choose the very best folding doors for your home. Here are our ten tips for buying bi-folding doors.

10 tips for choosing the best bifolding doors

1.  Choose the right bifolding door configuration.

The bifolding door configuration is essential in ensuring you install a bifolding door in your home that will provide you with the functionality and comfort all year round. Also noteworthy is how many door panels and whether they are to fold to the inside or outside of your property.

When thinking about the bifolding door configuration, every bifolding door system is different.  Some door brands have limitations on the width and heights of panels.  For example, your structural opening may dictate that you need four doors with one system whereby with another, three doors are possible.  The fewer doors, the bigger the glass and better the views. You may find fewer panels results in a lower price too.

2. Consider the bifolding door sightlines.

Bifolding door sightlines are more and more important to homeowners looking for slimline bifolding doors.  The bifolding door sight line is measured either from the edge of the door frame to the glass line on the door edges. The more common bifolding door sight line is the visible aluminium you see when the doors are closed.

Our Schuco bifolidng door is one of the slimmest on the market with a sight line of just 121mm.  Schuco bifolding doors are narrower than other brands on the market that give you thicker sight lines of over 150mm.  Sightlines are a consideration if you need a two, three or four panel bifold.  The thinner the sight line, the more glass and light coming into your home.  Slim bifolding door sight lines also mean a better looking, less bulky bifold.

3.  Threshold options on bifolding doors.

The bifolding door threshold needs careful consideration to ensure you get the design and visual aesthetic you desire as well as the functional benefit.  Many bifolding door brands offer the choice of a low threshold, but often this comes with no weather rating. It may also come with a stipulation that low threshold doors are intended for internal use only.

There are only a handful of bifolding doors on the market with a weathered threshold of which Schuco doors are one.  Most doors rely on an upstand or rebate to ensure the weather resistance on the bifolding door threshold.  Schuco doors come with a choice of four different threshold options meaning we have a threshold design to meet your property type and requirements.

It is also possible to have a standard threshold recessed to give a virtually flush appearance enabling your inside floors and outside decking or slabs to be nearly level. To achieve the aesthetically pleasing small step from the inside to the outside we sink the bifolding door threshold into the floor.  We can work with your builder to ensure that the structural opening is constructed to receive the right type of door and level threshold.

4.  Drainage considerations on bifolding doors.

Subject to the threshold layout there are some options in how water drains away from your bifolding doors.  It is important to know that bifolding doors come with inbuilt drainage to ensure any water can drain to the outside as intended.  There is the option of bifolding door cills, acco drains, concealed drainage, face drainage and special drainage arrangements to suit the property.

Some bifolding door installers choose only to offer a standard method of drainage to the outside.  At The London Glazing Group we work with you and your builder to ensure that the doors drain correctly to the outside and work with the outside details such as decking or slabs.

5.  Bifolding door security.

With the vast majority of bifolding doors fitted at the rear of the property, security is paramount.  Ask to see the testing applicable to the bifolding door system.

There are minimum security requirements applicable to bifolding doors.  A standard bifolding door will meet these criteria; a quality door will exceed them.  Look at how many locking points are offered, how the intermediate panels lock and the security rating of the door cylinder.

Another area around bifolding door security is the glass.  As standard, you can expect toughened safety glass.  Safety glass is a legal requirement.  If you wish to add an extra layer of security, talk to us about laminated safety glass and how it can enhance the already excellent security of your new bifolding doors.

6.  Which way will the doors slide and fold?

Opening options on bifolding doors can vary.  Typically a bifolding door has a minimum of two panels.  A two panel door has both doors sliding and folding together to the left or the right.

When you move up to three panels or more, the bifolding door can be configured virtually precisely as you want it.  You can have some doors folding one way, other doors another or even have independently hinged doors, called Traffic Doors or Access Leaves. We recommend a Traffic Door mainly if the bifold is your only rear door to your garden.  A Traffic door enables you to open just one panel like a regular door without having to fold the remaining doors back; ideal for taking washing or rubbish or out letting out a pet.

7.  What is best? Opening in or opening out bifolding doors?

One crucial factor in designing your bifolding doors is whether they are to open in or out.  The opening direction of your bifolding doors will depend on your property  A large patio or garden area makes sense to have the doors opening and folding outwards.  Balcony doors are better opening inwards maximising the outside space.  We can help you choose the right opening direction depending upon your home and your requirements. Both offer their advantages in the house.

8.  What is the best material for bifolding doors? Pvcu or Aluminium?

A PVCu bifolding door is the cheapest on the market, but it comes with several compromises.  If you are on a budget, it may be tempting to opt for the PVCu alternative, but in our experience, these are not the best long-term investment.

PVCu bifolding doors are thicker than aluminium bifolding doors meaning you look at the bulky profile and less glass.  Aluminium bifolding doors are slimmer, stronger and more reliable.  PVCu is prone to more thermal expansion than aluminium.  If your bifolding doors are south facing, hot weather will see your plastic doors judder as they fold along the track because of the thermal expansion.  And because PVCu is a weaker material, it will require thicker door hinges, giving an inconsistent appearance inside and out.

All bifolding door professionals agree that when it comes to bifolding doors, aluminium is the best material.

9.  What is the best colour for bifolding doors?

The choice of bifolding door colour is entirely up to you.  Your bifolding doors are intended to remain in your home for many years to come so choose the colour wisely.  White has always been a favourite colour, but grey doors now outsell white because of its contemporary tone and how it blends well with most property types and colour schemes.

Aluminium bifolding doors give you more colour choice than PVCu or timber with over 200 different colours to choose from.  If you seek the ultimate in modern doors, our Schuco ASS70 bifolding doors come in the latest metallic or anodised finishes as well.

A different colour inside and out is also possible and works well with traditional properties. Some customers choose a brown or black to match the colour scheme of the older style house and a white or other colour on the inside.  If you are thinking about a dual colour door, think about whether you will change the interior decor of your home in the future.

10. Bifolding doors must be professionally installed.

You may be tempted to look at options for saving money on the bifolding door installation.  We recommend that the company providing your bifolding doors also installs them. Bifolding doors need precise fitting,  glazing and adjustment.  Many of the problems homeowners encounter with their bifolding doors are down to bad installation.

Your builder may have fitted a lot of bifolding doors but may not have received the training and accreditation.  We are trained and accredited by Schuco and AluK in the manufacture and installation of their bifolding doors.  A certified installer is your peace of mind of a 10-year guarantee as well.

Bifolding door specialists for Buckinghamshire and London.

Contact us today with all your bifolding door questions, and we will help you.  Or why not book a free quotation and no-obligation home survey.