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Bifold Doors Vs Sliding Doors – 2024 Guide

Homeowners seeking to enhance their living space, increase property value, and elevate their homes’ quality often find themselves deliberating between bi-fold and sliding doors. If you have a particular style preference, there might be a straightforward solution!

These contemporary glazing options are favoured for their ability to introduce a modern, expansive ambiance. However, it’s essential to weigh all the advantages and disadvantages before reaching a decision.

Differences Between Bi-Fold and Sliding Doors

It’s important to understand that these expansive glazing options operate differently, each with its own set of strengths and weaknesses.

Bi-Fold Doors

Bi-fold doors offer the advantage of opening flush with the wall, creating a seamless connection between the indoors and outdoors.

If desired, you can include an access door, allowing for quick access to the garden without needing to fully slide back all the doors.

These doors operate on a track system located at the top and bottom of the frame, with each panel linked to the next via hinges.

Bifold Doors

Sliding Doors

Sliding doors consist of two or more large glass panels that slide horizontally behind each other, typically to one side of the opening.

Unlike bi-fold doors, sliding doors don’t offer a completely clear space because one panel needs to slide behind the other, leaving at least one pane of glass stationary.

However, the benefit of sliding doors is their space-saving design; they require minimal room to open since they don’t operate on a folding mechanism like bi-fold doors, making them suitable for tight spaces.

Pros and Cons of Bi-Fold Doors

As previously noted, the key advantage of bi-fold doors is their ability to fully open up the space, providing maximum room, excellent ventilation, and ample natural light into your property.

The inclusion of traffic doors offers added convenience, allowing easy access to and from your garden without having to open all the bi-fold panels, particularly useful during inclement weather.

Other benefits of bi-fold doors include:

  • They offer low threshold design options, making them ideal for creating a seamless entranceway from your garden without any steps.
  • Bi-fold doors come with customisable designs suitable for both large and small openings, offering various configuration options to suit your style preferences.
  • These doors can open inwards or outwards, providing flexibility depending on the available space to accommodate the folding edges of the panels.
  • Aluminium frames used in bi-fold doors are lightweight yet sturdy, potentially enhancing the market value of your home.

However, bi-fold doors require some storage space for the folded panels when opened, either inside or outside the property.

For an uninterrupted view, consider opting for a bi-fold door with fewer frames to avoid disrupting the sightline with multiple frames between each glass pane.

Pro’s & Con’s of Sliding Doors

Sliding doors offer a solution to space limitations, especially when there’s no extra room inside or outside your property to accommodate folded window panels.

However, due to the sliding mechanism where one pane moves behind the next, a portion of the entranceway is always obstructed by a static panel. Nonetheless, sliding doors have minimal space requirements since the window doesn’t protrude on either side.

Professionally crafted sliding doors typically feature durable yet lightweight aluminium construction, ensuring easy operation while offering an unobstructed view through large, clear glass panes.

However, there are some potential drawbacks to consider when opting for sliding doors:

  • Reduced accessibility compared to bi-fold doors, especially if a traffic door is not incorporated.
  • Higher cost compared to bi-fold doors, depending on the chosen system.
  • Inability to create a flush floor track, although sinking it at floor level can help avoid a steep step-up.

Ultimately, these advantages and disadvantages are subjective, and both bi-fold and sliding doors can enhance the aesthetics of your space. It’s essential to weigh all the factors that may influence your decision.

Sliding Doors

Things to Keep in Mind When Deciding Between Bi-Fold and Sliding Doors

When properly installed, upgrading to a set of expansive windows can significantly enhance your living environment, offering thermally efficient glazing, a modern aesthetic, and space-saving benefits compared to traditional external doors.

We’ve outlined each factor we suggest you consider, providing you with more insights into the various aspects to weigh in your decision-making process.

Cost

Bi-fold and sliding doors of the same configuration and with the same type of glazing cost a relatively similar amount – but if you have a very wide opening or require expansive glass panels, you may find that sliding doors become prohibitively expensive.

That is because the larger sliding panels (rather than several smaller panes folding into a concertina) are more difficult to source and can be extremely costly.

If you’re unsure of the cost comparison, please get in touch with Bi-Fold Doors UK, and we’ll be happy to provide some indicative cost estimates.

Energy Efficiency

The glass in both sliding and bi-fold doors is thermally efficient, with the aluminium frame being the least insulating component of the door.

Sliding doors tend to offer slightly better energy savings due to their reduced aluminium framing and thicker glass, which helps retain warmth.

However, it’s worth noting that we provide customization options for both bi-fold and sliding doors, including various energy-conservation treatments or films. This allows you to enhance the U-value and ensure your new doors are as efficient as possible.

User-Friendliness

Both types of doors feature lightweight construction and utilise modern materials, ensuring smooth sliding or folding action for anyone.
Aluminium is a preferred material due to its durability compared to UPVC frames. However, alternatives like timber are also available, though they may not offer the same level of ease in operation.

Aesthetic Appeal

Choosing between a bi-fold and sliding door largely depends on your personal taste and the style you envision for your property.
Both door types allow ample natural light into your space.

However, bi-fold doors, with their wider opening, feature more vertical frames, which can break up the glass area.

On the other hand, sliding doors offer a larger expanse of glass, providing a panoramic view of the surroundings.

Accessibility

We’ve discussed the importance of low-threshold steps, particularly for families and homeowners aiming to enhance their glazing while ensuring an accessible entrance for wheelchairs, children, pushchairs, and individuals with mobility limitations.

Bi-fold doors can be installed flush with the ground level of your patio or garden, offering easy access.

If you choose a sliding door, you can request a low-threshold design, typically at least 12 mm tall as the lowest aluminium strip. Another option is to recess the sliding door mechanism into the floor, although this may entail additional expenses depending on the extent of the required work.

Bi-Fold Doors vs Sliding Doors – Which Option Is Right for You?

Choosing between bi-fold and sliding doors ultimately depends on your specific preferences and needs. Each option has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to weigh them carefully.

We hope this comparison has provided valuable insights into the pros and cons of both bi-fold and sliding doors, helping you make an informed decision that suits your home, family, and lifestyle.

For more information on these options, feel free to explore our Bi-Fold Doors and Sliding Doors pages, where you can find details of previous projects and specifications.

Alternatively, reach out to us, and we’ll gladly assist you in designing a customised solution that meets all your requirements.