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Types of Bifold Doors

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Bifold doors have become increasingly popular in recent years, with countless new designs appearing on the market as more and more homeowners decide to choose them.

When installed correctly, they can be a fantastic addition to any home and something well worth the asking price.

As a professional bi-folding doors installation company, we understand how to deliver the right installation for every space. We work closely with our clients to give them bifold doors that perfectly meet their needs, no matter how specific.

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Best Bifold Doors Materials

Bifold doors come in a range of materials, each of which can provide some unique benefits over others. Different types of bifold doors offer different strengths and weaknesses, making the choice of bifold door material very important.

Remember that internal bifold doors and external bifold doors are going to be exposed to different conditions.

A material that suits protected internal bifold doors will not necessarily be a good fit for external bifold doors that are exposed to the elements or meant to endure rainstorms.

We can provide a range of material options for the bifold doors we supply, as well as the expertise to suggest the right option for each customer’s needs. Choosing the right door type is important, especially if you are installing a bifold door in a major part of your home.

Aluminium Bifold Doors

Aluminium bifold doors are lightweight and very durable, providing a good level of protection without being bulky or hard to install.

Most aluminium doors are designed to look modern, with sleek door panels and big window panes that make them a great fit for many modern homes.

However, aluminium doors can also be very expensive compared to some other materials – something that is offset by how long it can last.

Well-maintained aluminium bi-fold doors can be costly to install but will not cost much in terms of repairs and replacements if you take good care of them.

Most aluminium bifold doors are finished in lighter colours like white or grey as part of their modern aesthetic.

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uPVC Bifold Doors

uPVC bifold doors cost a lot less than most other options and are very easy to maintain, making them an affordable option all around.

These are often considered the best bifold doors if you are on a very tight budget and need folding doors that you can afford alongside other home improvement work.

The biggest downside of uPVC is that it does not look as stylish or bulky as other options, which can make it feel cheaper overall.

This makes it less fitting for a lot of aesthetic styles and means that it might not fit in with rustic or highly modern styles quite as easily.

uPVC bifold doors cost very little, but that comes at the cost of style and apparent quality – even if the doors themselves are fantastic.

Glass Bifold Doors

While all bifold doors use glass window panels, some are built entirely around glass panels with minimal other materials. These are very attractive and allow a lot of natural light to pass through, but they are also understandably very hard to install without the proper equipment and expertise.

Although vulnerable to being broken, these kinds of bifold doors can look fantastic in the right situations and are often able to be reinforced and protected in a number of ways. These glass doors are best used as internal doors since they may not be strong enough for external use.

If you need more natural light in a space, these can be a good choice, especially if you use the right glazing options and reinforce the glass itself.

Best Bifold Doors Materials

Timber Bifold Doors

Timber bifold doors are often considered the most popular type. As a material, timber is very sturdy and can stand up to bad weather conditions extremely well, making timber bifold doors a very common choice for external doors that need to endure bad weather.

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Timber can be very heavy and quite expensive depending on the exact design you choose, which makes this another option that can be costly. However, the strength of timber means that most timber bifold doors will not wear out fast, allowing them to withstand a lot more punishment.

Timber is also naturally insulated, meaning a stronger barrier between hot and cold spaces – whether that is to keep your home cool in summer or warm in winter.

Composite Bifold Doors

Composite bifold doors use a mixture of timber and aluminium to provide a good balance of style and strength.

These are aluminium frames placed over a timber structure, providing the best of both worlds in the same configuration as any other bifolding door.

The combination of two strong and reliable materials means that composite bifold doors can offer excellent noise reduction and thermal efficiency, as well as good levels of weather resistance and durability. They are also quite low-maintenance and can easily be secured with a good lock.

However, the mixture of two materials also means higher costs than just using aluminium alone, meaning that these strong and visually appealing doors are not always cheap.

Bifold Door Window Materials

A bifold door is made with at least two panels of glass, often a lot more. These fold onto each other as the bifold door opens and serve as the windows between the two spaces when the door is closed.

While all windows are going to offer natural light and a good level of visibility, they are still panels of glass that can come in a range of styles and types.

Our experts are able to suggest the right window types and additional options to get your door in the perfect state for incoming weather.

Regular Panels

Regular, non-insulated glass window panels are ideal for internal doors where something cheap and lightweight is best.

These still allow natural light through without unnecessary extra costs, although it is often a good idea to reinforce the glass panes just to prevent easy damage.

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Frosted Panels

Frosted glass provides better privacy and some extra style, which can be ideal for patio doors or other outdoor bifold doors that face directly into major rooms.

If you are installing bifold doors at the front of your home somewhere, frosted glass can be a good way to keep things private without needing curtains.

Double and Triple Glazing

Proper glazing can allow glass panes to become much better at staying insulated and managing heat, which is vital for external bifold doors.

This ensures that your new bifold doors can keep your home warm or cool in the right weather conditions when closed rather than leaking heat constantly.

Corner Bifold Doors

It is possible to install bifold doors on a corner, allowing an entire corner of a room to slide open. These work just like conventional bifold doors but are naturally harder-to-install bifold doors due to how they are laid out.

These often need to be created bespoke due to how each sliding door needs to be installed, especially if they are not being placed on a normal 90-degree corner.

This makes them more expensive but also provides a way to have an entirely unique bi-fold door in your home

Internal Bifold Doors

Internal bifold doors are any bifold doors used between two sealed rooms. These could be used between a living room and dining room, for example, replacing the single door or archway that you would otherwise be using.

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Internal bifold doors work in the same way as external ones since the general design idea is the same. While the average internal bifold door size might be smaller, the doors open in the same way and are often just as customisable.

Internal Bifold Doors

What Do Internal Bifold Doors Need?

Like any internal door, an indoor bifold door can be more relaxed in terms of materials.

Things like double-glazing are not always necessary, especially if the bifolding door is being used to split one room into two anyway.

This can often be a high-traffic door that may need to be opened and closed for long periods of time, but the hinged doors themselves do not necessarily need to be secure.

This can lead to a simpler design that does not require as many key features as an outdoor option.

For example, internal bifolding doors generally will not need special locks since it is only being used as an interior door anyway.

External Bifold Doors

External bifold doors are outdoor bifold doors – usually meaning that they have been placed between one sealed room and an outdoor space, such as a porch.

These are often used as an easy way to open up rooms during warmer months, as well as providing good visibility when closed in cooler weather.

They also allow more natural light in and can be a lot longer than traditional French doors when used in bigger rooms.

What Do External Bifold Doors Need?

Like all the doors on the outside of your property, external bifold doors need to be secure. This means a lot more focus on locks and safety measures, as well as the multi-point locking system that a typical bifold door will use.

Since weather is much more of a concern, these doors need to boast proper thermal efficiency through things like triple glazing.

They also need to be protected from weather damage whenever possible, especially if you live in an area where storms are common at certain points of the year.

Like all French doors (or any doors that use panes of glass), it can sometimes be worth considering having them frosted, too. This provides more privacy if your door is in full view of the road or another nearby property.

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What Do Different Types of Bifold Doors Offer?

Bifold doors are designed to fold in on themselves, which makes them very different from a typical door design.

While a standard bifold door may still be fairly similar to your average French doors, they can still offer quite a range of different benefits when used correctly.

From popular brands like Origin bifold doors to custom-made doors built mostly DIY, all of them fall into at least one general “type” that stems from designs like French doors.

However, with the way that each type has built upon that origin, bifold doors can be suited to a range of different purposes depending on how they are built.

Low Cost

uPVC doors are the obvious low-cost option, providing a straightforward and fairly durable easy-access door that does its job well.

A standard four-panels uPVC door will do its job correctly, even if it does not look as nice as some of the material choices on this list.

Aluminium bifold doors are often chosen anyway for how durable and reliable they are, but they cost more, making them less practical as an ultra-cheap budget option.

Even so, they are still often cheaper than timber, especially if you are choosing bifold doors that do not need any major bespoke changes.

If all you need is a practical sliding door, then uPVC bifold doors are the cheapest by far. However, for outdoor bifolds, it might be better to choose aluminium bifolds instead.

High Durability

Composite options are usually the best bifold door choice if you need protection.

While they can be expensive, they offer smooth operation and greater protection, especially when combined with a proper locking and security system.

Of course, when used outdoors, you will also need to improve thermal efficiency. Doors with lower U values (a measurement of thermal efficiency) are going to provide better weather protection but also cost more than if you were to get them with standard panels.

What Do Different Types of Bifold Doors Offer?

Remember that durability and security are two different things. If you want to be sure of maximum security, then look into the locking mechanism to make sure that you get something that can’t easily be broken into.

Natural Lighting

Most bifold doors are great for letting in natural light since they use glass as a core part of their design.

Most have slim sightlines, meaning that there are fewer obstructions between each part of the window, leading to a much clearer view of what is on the other side.

The best bifold door design for maximum natural lighting is usually going to be one with as slim sightlines as possible. The more space the supports and other pieces take up, the less window there is to let the light in.

Remember that there are a number of glass options for doors like this.

For example, laminated glass is great for security, and you may choose to use frosted glass for extra privacy – which is good if you want to let in natural light without giving people a clear view into your home.


How Do Bifold Doors Work?

Bifold doors work by having different panels folding back into each other like a concertina, flattening up against one edge of the frame instead of swinging outwards.

While there are multiple different kinds of bifold doors, most are going to be top or bottom-rolling bifold doors that use a hinged design.

This is meant to reduce the amount of space the doors use when open since it has the panels sliding against the wall instead of pushing outwards.

This is done by having each panel mounted in its own runners and hinged in a way that lets the doors fold up in one specific direction.

Is Double Glazing or Triple Glazing Best for Bifolds?

Glass doors usually need glazing and other forms of insulation if you want to boost thermal efficiency, and that applies to bifolds, too.

Bifold doors are mostly glass, which means that the glass itself needs to be properly installed and treated if you want to maximise the heat it can retain.

Double glazing is a good addition to any glass doors, from bifold doors to a standard French door.

Double glazing is often cheaper and provides a good level of thermal efficiency, while triple glazing costs more but can sometimes provide even greater benefits.

Really, the issue comes down to your budget and whether you want to spend more for maximum energy efficiency with triple glazing. Some people do, some people do not.

What is the Difference Between uPVC and Aluminium Bifold Doors?

Aluminium bifold doors are stronger, lighter, and overall more effective than uPVC in many situations.

While both offer a seamless transition between open and closed, aluminium is often going to work slightly better since the door itself is lighter.

However, the uPVC door is generally far cheaper to install, making it the much cheaper door option if you care more about having functional doors over chasing a particular door style or aesthetic. This makes uPVC doors much cheaper if you will be fitting a lot of glass into the design anyway.

The larger the doors, the cheaper the uPVC door becomes over an aluminium door since more material is needed.

bifolding doors FAQ'S

What are The Best Bifold Doors?

Aluminium bifold doors tend to be the best.

However, the best bifold doors for your property will change depending on what you need and the limits of your budget and physical interior space.

There are some designs and material options that are simply better than others.

Without having to worry about budget, the best option for an external door would be a composite bi-folding door with triple glazing.

For an interior door, having insulation may not be as important, meaning that a lighter bifold door may be just as good. However, this depends heavily on what you are actually looking for.

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What is The Difference Between a Bifold Door and a Folding Door?

The obvious difference between sliding doors and bifold doors is the way that a bifold door works.

While sliding doors slide the door itself sideways (usually over one of the windows beside it or into a gap in the wall), bifold doors fold inwards and slide as a single unit.

This means that bifold doors provide a lot more space, which can make them great as a high-traffic door option.

While the principle is the same, bifold doors are much more versatile and can be folded open just a little bit or fully opened to create a larger gap.

Other differences, such as security and safety, depend on the exact designs. In general, bifold doors are more versatile and have a more interesting opening mechanism, but are still very similar to normal non folding sliding doors.

Are Wooden Bifold Doors Any Good?

Wooden bifold doors offer great protection without needing much maintenance, as long as you treat them properly.

Timber bifold doors can endure a lot of punishment before wearing down and still work well as a high-traffic door if a lot of people need to go through an area quickly.

Properly treated wood can be a very strong and weather-resistant bifold door material, and installing bifold doors made of wood is not really any more difficult than any other bifold door type.

The only real downside is the cost of timber bifold doors, both in terms of materials and the extra treatments.

What Are The Disadvantages of Bifold Doors?

While buying bifold doors is a great option in a huge range of cases, they are not perfect. Choosing bifold doors without being aware of the potential problems – even if they are rare – can be an issue.

A larger bifold door naturally costs more to install, which is similar to most door types. However, since bifold doors have the potential to be very large, this means that it is important to consider how much you are actually installing if you are making a much bigger door.

Beyond that, installing a cheap or poorly-made bifold door can lead to poor thermal efficiency and water leaking in from the rain – but this is not a problem with bifold doors specifically, just doors in general.

Working with experts like us makes it much easier to avoid potential problems with your installation or making choices (such as cheaper materials) that might backfire on you.

Do Bifolds Add Value to Your House?

Bifold doors can add up to 5-10% of your home’s sale value to its total value.

This makes them a great option for people who eventually plan to sell their home or want to ensure that they get more money if they ever get rid of the property.

Even a 5% increase is a significant amount of money, making bifold doors a great investment as well as a stylish addition to a property that you are still using.

How Long Do Bifold Doors Last?

In general, aluminium doors tend to last 40 years, while wooden bifold doors are closer to 30 years.

However, this is only an average estimate, and proper repair and maintenance work will make it easy to keep them in working condition indefinitely.

Bifold doors last varying amounts of time depending on the materials that they are made from and how well they are maintained.


We can suggest a range of bifold door options for any kind of space, taking into account each client’s needs and requirements when pointing them towards a bifold door that might meet their needs.

There is no single “perfect” type of bifold door available on the market that will suit every property, and that makes it important to understand what is on offer and which options might be best for your home (or business).

If you want to know more about the various types of bifold doors, we can offer you, get in touch and talk to our specialists. Our team are always prepared to help another potential client get an understanding of what each door style offers.

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