When choosing whether to have a sliding patio door or a bifold door, there are a number of factors that you may wish to consider.
Here at Ruislip Windows we believe in offering our customers a choice. That’s why we install bifolding doors and sliding patio doors from top manufacturers such as Crown Sapa, Aluk and our premium range from Raynaers Aluminium. Bifold doors literally exploded onto the market a few years ago and saw a huge surge in popularity. And now the latest sliding patio doors are a far cry from the sliding doors of old, offering much wider, contemporary profiles, so the question is, which door do you go for – bifold or patio?
The main advantage of bifold doors is that they allow for whole walls of glass to be opened up completely. However, they can be quite frame-heavy, meaning less glazing, and the stacked door panels when open can provide quite an obstacle to the more modest-sized patio or kitchen.
Sliding patio doors are shaking off their somewhat less than trendy associations of the past and are now a hugely popular choice in contemporary homes. They provide lots of light thanks to narrow frames and wider expanses of glass. Having no door sections to fold back, they save on space and provide visually “cleaner” lines.
Bifold doors remain a hugely popular choice but industry experts now feel that an increasing number of homeowners are opting for the new contemporary style sliding patio doors.
Both our bifolding and sliding door systems have superb aesthetics and excellent performance:
- Bifold doors can open up about 90% of the aperture, really opening up the room to the garden. Sliding doors by comparison will typically open up between 50% and 65% of the aperture.
- For ventilation purposes, the sliding door offers the most flexible solution with the ability to open the door just as far as necessary to make the room comfortable. The bifold door’s flexibility will depend on its design, but often opening a door leaf is the minimum you can do to let some fresh air in.
- If having an uninterrupted view is important, then a sliding door may be a better option. Sliding doors allow larger panel sizes in wider widths, giving a maximised expanse of glazing when closed. The bigger door panels with large panes of glass give more of a panoramic view than a bifold door that has several narrower door panels, each with a frame around them.
- With the bifold door, you can choose to have all the door panels stacking to the left or the right, or you can choose to split them so some stack each side. When making these decisions, it is worth remembering that the doors require some clear space around them in order to open, and you don’t want to be moving furniture or plant pots every time you open the doors.
- The number of door panels will usually be dictated by the size of the opening, but it is worth considering the benefits of choosing a design with a single access “traffic” door. Found on designs with an odd number of door panels, the traffic door is a single door that can be opened without unlocking the rest of the door panels. Operating just like a normal back door, this is convenient for when you just want to nip out into the garden quickly.
THE THRESHOLD QUESTION
Look at the all those lovely marketing photos of bifold doors and you will usually see a door that has a flush threshold – a continuous floor with no step between the inside and outside. In reality, most bifold doors come with a choice of different threshold options, the reason being that there is a trade off between the height of the threshold and the level of weather resistance the door can offer. So whilst a flush threshold can be achieved, it is not usually recommended, thanks to the good old British weather! Doors with the best weather ratings will always have a higher threshold to step over. It is certainly worth considering how exposed your door will be to the elements, but rest assured that most people find there is a satisfactory compromise using one of the intermediate thresholds.
Still not sure which to choose? Why not get some expert advice and give us a call on (020) 8868 1133 – we will be more than happy to talk you through all the different options available to you.
We hope to hear from you soon! 🙂