We recently came across an article from The Times where they suggested bifold doors have reached the end of their life – pulls a sad face – and as a supplier and installer of bifold doors, we thought we should respond to this and confirm…bifold doors are still, in fact, very much alive!
How popular are bifold doors?
This year (2021) sales of our bifold doors have been the highest for 3 years and we have sold double the number of bifold doors compared to sliding doors (which are an equally great option!), and to a whole host of different residential homes as well. We’ve supplied and installed bifold doors for home extensions, self-builds and more, and of small, big and in-between sizes too. So we’d definitely have to disagree, bifold doors are still extremely popular and for good reason!
Why are bifold doors so popular?
We understand bifold doors might not be for everyone and for every home but we find they are so popular because of a few reasons, including…
- When open, they offer the most gorgeous uninterrupted views of your outdoor space
- They open up to a 90% aperture which is more than any other patio door
- They stack neatly to one side, either on the inside or outside of your home
- The size of the panels can be tailored to fit the space you have for stacking
- There are a wide variety of configurations – 2 or 3-panel bifolds are great for smaller spaces and 5 or 7-panel bifolds are great for larger spaces
There are also some more specific benefits to our bespoke bifold doors including…
- They can be fitted with solar control glass which helps to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer when you have them closed – let’s face it though, they’d be open all day every day in the warmer weather, wouldn’t they?
- All of our bifold doors are fitted with weather tight seals, have been vigorously tested, have Pascal ratings for airtightness and have been calculated for U-values. This means they can achieve a 1.2W/m2k U-value (super low!) and are extremely energy-efficient, helping to keep your heating bills low
- They meet the PART Q of the building regulations and are fitted with a multi-point locking mechanism which means they are highly secure and will resist ‘unauthorised access’
- They are available in FSC certified engineered timber and thermally broken aluminium which means they won’t warp or shrink and will pass building regulations for insulation too – they’re also very eco-friendly!
- They’re available in a wide range of RAL colours and wood stains and can be dual coloured so you can match the inside and outside of your home perfectly. Our multi-coat, microporous paint system also ensures a very low-maintenance finish which will not require repainting for a very long time
- They can be fitted with glazing bars to change the overall look and feel of your bifold door too – very versatile!
Why The Times thought bifolds were dead
We can imagine you are wondering why The Times wrote their article considering all the benefits we have listed so let’s look in more detail at this.
Eco-efficiency and the impact on owners heating bills
The Times suggested, “the number of frames in a typical bifold door means more potential for thermal bridging, leading to energy loss” but as you can see from the above, bifold doors are in fact rather energy-efficient, and this is not just our bifold doors either. All aluminium bifold doors must have a thermal break, for instance, otherwise, they wouldn’t pass the building regulations for insulation.
Too hot in summer and too cold in winter
The Times also suggested that bifold doors are either too hot in summer or too cold in winter and, again, we wouldn’t agree (surprise, surprise!). As mentioned, solar glass can help with this especially for homes that have a south-facing garden but, standard double and triple glazing is engineered to such a high quality nowadays that the too hot, too cold argument isn’t really valid – sorry, The Times.
Another of their concerns was privacy and how you may be more exposed to neighbours with bifold doors but we would have to say this isn’t a concern specific to bifold doors. Sliding, French, Pivot, in fact, all patio doors have a high glass ratio so no matter what style you choose, it could be argued you will always be somewhat exposed to neighbours. In fact, depending on your neighbours and how nosey they are, you could be exposed to them with just a window – we know some of our neighbours love to have a sneaky look through ours!
Practicality and space
Lastly, The Times suggested bifold doors take up “a lot of space indoors and out” and we can somewhat understand where they are coming from as they do need to stack together when opened. However, we would say the ‘stack’ can be as small or as big as needed because, as above, the panels can be made to the required size to help with this and as you can normally pick from a number of panels (2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7) which will also determine the amount of space needed for stacking too. Just take a look at these ‘smaller’ bifold doors. They fit great in this more modest space.
It is also worth noting that typically, pivot doors require space both inside and out, and sometimes quite a bit more in comparison depending on their size. French doors also require more space especially as they have to open on both sides whereas, as we say, bifolds can be stacked to one side. The only patio door style that does truly take up less space is a sliding patio door but, as you can’t open up the aperture to the same amount as bifolds, we would say they have other disadvantages that bifolds don’t. Although, they are definitely making a comeback and are a lot more stylish and popular compared to many moons ago.
What should you consider when choosing your patio doors?
As you can see, there are many benefits to bifold doors and ultimately the decision as to what patio doors are best depends on what style you prefer. There is certainly not one style that outperforms another and no style is really dead.
When deciding what patio door to pick you should think about how you are going to use your space more than anything else. For example, if you want a free-flowing space between indoors and out, bifold doors are great for this.
If you’d like to keep some of your space blocked off but still want incredible views of your outdoor area, sliding doors are likely to suit your needs best, and so on.
What would you pick?
It’s a tough decision to make, isn’t it?
Our expert team are also happy to answer any questions you have and if you’d like to know more about our patio doors in particular, feel free to contact our team by calling 01487 740044 or emailing us at email@example.com.