Whether to choose bifold doors or sliding doors is one of the most common questions we get asked at IDSystems.
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Image: Closed Bifold doors
With price and thermal performance offering very little difference between our systems, the start of our answer is always the same -“it is personal choice and it depends on your project.”
The biggest advantage of bifold doors is their ability to create a complete opening, bringing the outside inside – so if this is an important factor then these should be seriously considered.
The maximum panel width for bifold doors is 1100mm, with an overall opening width of 25m achievable.
Many people embarking on a project wish to include a single access door within their opening for everyday use and choosing bifold doors with configuration containing an odd number of panels allows you to achieve this. If you have an even number and need a single access door then this can also be achieved by splitting the doors into odd number so a four panel opening becomes a three and one configuration.
Image: Open Bi-fold doors
Bifold doors can be installed with a choice of flush or weathered tracks. Flush tracks provide a level threshold between outside and inside, while weathered tracks offer enhanced protection from the elements and are perfect for exposed locations and where you require a step down to the outside.
The compromise with bifold doors though is the appearance when closed, with significantly more profile visible when compared to the large expanses of glass that can be achieved with sliding doors.
The big advantage of sliding doors is that they provide wide panels with large expanses of glass. In aluminium the individual door panels can be up to 3000mm wide and when combined with sight-lines starting from just 24mm you can glaze an opening with a minimal amount of vertical frame.
Image: Close sliding doors
Sliding doors are usually preferred where a customer’s priority is maximising either an external view from the property, or the amount of natural light reaching the interior of the house.
Typical configurations of sliding doors provide a half, two-thirds or three-quarter opening and with the large panes of glass possible are perfect for larger openings. Openings of up to 24m can be achieved with three panels sliding each way behind a fourth fixed pane. Like bifold doors, sliding doors can have a level or weathered track.
The compromise compared to bifold doors comes from the fact that they do not usually provide a 100% opening unless they slide into a pocket, leaving you with at least one-quarter of your opening glazed even when the doors are fully open – although with larger amounts of glass and narrower profiles this isn’t always a significant disadvantage.
Image: Open sliding doors
The general rule that we talk to our customers about is the larger the opening the more often customers choose sliding doors, but having installed bifold doors as wide as 25m and sliding doors as narrow as 2m even this isn’t always the case – after all it is personal choice and it depends on your project!