Bi fold Doors

by Scott Edwards

Bi-fold or folding/sliding doors have been around for quite a while now, and are extremely popular in countries where the climate encourages outdoor living. Here in the UK we can’t exactly say that our climate is favourable, rather “Unpredictable” would be a much closer assessment. However, this doesn’t seem to have discouraged us from embracing the concept and bi-fold doors are certainly one of the products set to be a growth item as we pull away from the recession.

Gone are the days of having as many different rooms as possible. Open plan living is what we’re all now seeking in both renovations and new-build projects. Architects and interior designers are actively using products that are environmentally friendly, multi purpose and afford as much usable space as possible. Turn on any house build or home improvement show and you will likely find a bi-folding system being installed. The same can be said for cafes, trendy bars and restaurants that you may visit.

So what are the considerations when thinking of having a bi-fold door system installed? First of all you need to choose the material. The doors and frame can be constructed in upvc, wood or aluminium with a choice of finishes from each. Timber doors give the greatest choice as they can be spray finished in any colour or lacquered to enhance the character of your species choice. Upvc will either be finished white or with some sort of timber imitation, and aluminium can be powder coated to any colour. The next consideration is what mechanism? It’s advisable to use a simple mechanism with proven strength and durability, as the more complex the system, the more can go wrong with it. Different suppliers will use different mechanisms, so make sure you pay as much attention to the hardware that moves your doors as you do to the doors themselves. Finally, are you buying an off-the-shelf package or one that’s made to measure? If it’s off the shelf then your opening will need to be able to accommodate what your buying or you’ll have to make structural changes so that it does. Made to measure will be a little more expensive but at least a portion of this cost will be offset by removing the structural changes and you can also have more choice on design.

So what are the advantages?...... Well, there are quite a few; Bi-folding doors are a modern product that will enhance the value of any property and certainly be a selling point for the foreseeable future. They are multi purpose and can open as little or as much space as you require. The majority of doors are “full glass” so the natural light penetration into any area is greatly increased. The span of area they can cover is almost limitless and there are systems that can cover up to 16metres or 53ft without the need for supporting columns. Most importantly, the level of security is of no concern as all good mechanisms have numerous locking points at the top and bottom of each door.

Who can have a bi-folding door system? Absolutely anyone who wants one can have a system installed. They can be designed into your build or renovation project, fitted in place of your old patio or French doors, or you can remove a window and the brickwork below to floor level and accommodate the system.

Time and stress saving hints 1) Cost effective/self assembly systems may cost you more in the long run2) Pay as much attention to the mechanism as you do to the doors themselves3) Make sure your installer is experienced with the materials he’s fitting4) All of your glazing “Must” be toughened or other compliant safety glass 5) Try to get one company to do the whole job or at least pre assemble your system6) The opening for your system has to be square and the supporting joist perfectly level

For further information on quality bi-folding timber doors go to

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