What to consider before buying bi-fold doors

Thinking of investing in new bi-fold doors to create the perfect indoor-outdoor link between your home and garden? Follow this advice from Steve Bromberg, general manager at Express Bi-folding doors to ensure you find the right style to suit your home and style

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Q: What are the key considerations to make to ensure bi-fold doors suit the style of my home?

A: The type of material you choose is the first, and most important consideration and largely depends on the style of house you live in, whether you want a statement or sympathetic look and colour, and your personal design preferences, including the amount of glazing you’d like and how much light you want to introduce to your interior spaces.

The current trend for contemporary-style extensions has seen a rise in demand for aluminium designs because of its strength, aesthetic and low maintenance requirements, but timber can also be used for a more traditional-style finish. However, bear in mind that timber needs more regular maintenance to ensure the wood is kept in good condition and to prevent rot, and as it is not as slender as most aluminium styles, typically timber doors won’t let in as much natural light.

The opening configuration of the doors is also an important consideration, as this needs to work in line with the day-to-day use of the home and garden. If bi-folds are to become the main traffic door from inside to out, consider a design which incorporates a pane that can be opened and closed as a singular unit, as well as part of a full-width opening.

If you are looking to invest in bi-fold doors CLICK HERE to take a look at our buyer’s guide

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Q: Can a contrasting style work well?

A: Definitely. Aluminium is always a considered a modern-looking product ideal for new extensions, with white emulsion complimenting modern open plan homes but some of our best projects have been installations into traditional properties where the doors create a striking feature against a classic backdrop, such as listed stone properties and to the rear of traditional-style Victorian terraced houses.

Blending contemporary with traditional is a contrast of styles that can be really impressive, but make sure you check what is allowed in your area at planningportal.gov.uk, as if you live in a Conservation Area or if your property is listed, there may be certain design restrictions.

architectura bronze casement bi-fold doors with gabled home

Q: What energy-efficiency level should I look for in the newest bi-fold doors?

A: Bi-fold doors tend to be measured on U-values rather than an energy rating. Generally, PVC and timber are more energy efficient than aluminium, but with modern designs, the lower the U-value the better the efficiency. Part L of current Building Regulations specify that for a refurbishment or extension to an existing dwelling, new glazing must achieve a U-value of 1.8W/m²K or lower.

Did you know?

Part L of current Building Regulations specify that for a refurbishment or extension to an existing dwelling, new glazing must achieve a U-value of 1.8W/m²K or lower.

Q: What type of preparatory and installation work is required?

A: Installing a new set of bi-fold doors is straight forward, however, in most cases, an RSJ is required because bi-folding doors cannot bear any weight from above, but an opening can still be created within a day or two. It is simply a case of creating the opening, putting in a structural support such as an RSJ at the head and then a damp proof course membrane at the foot for the doors to sit on. Most bi-fold doors are bottom hung so the RSJ only needs to bear the weight from above.

safechoice pvcu bi-fold doors in light filled kitchen

Safechoice uPVC three-pane double-glazed bi-fold door set costs £3,500 for a set measuring H230xW300cm. With maintenance-free high security locks accredited by Secured By Design, are energy rated at A+ and each window is tailor made to order

What is Secured by Design?

A police initiative to help prevent crimes against your home, the scheme focuses on reducing burglaries by encouraging door, window and security system manufacturers to adhere to a minimum standard of quality of physical security. There are currently around 450 member companies whole products have been awarded Police Preferred Specification status.

Q: What sort of maintenance is required to keep doors looking good and functioning properly?

A: If you’re looking for a design that requires little maintenance, aluminium is the best option and requires almost no upkeep, while timber styles may need to be regularly treated to protect the wood. With all styles, the track needs to be clear of dirt and debris and you can use silicone spray to lubricate the runner and lock.

Q: Will bi-folds add value to a property?

A: They might not necessarily add value to a property but they will definitely make it more desirable. Bi-fold doors are now very much an on-trend addition to a home and can transform a space by improving the link to the outside space and improving the levels of natural light, when both open and closed, making a room look and feel larger.

Q: What security requirements should be included in bi-fold designs?

A: Standard security features on bi-folding doors should include internally glazed panels, a multi-point locking system on master doors with shoot bolt locking on intermediate panels to keep them held tightly together. Without a shoot bolt, an intruder could break in through a window, open the bi-folding door completely and easily remove large items such as TV’s and furniture.

If you are looking to invest in bi-fold doors CLICK HERE to take a look at our buyer’s guide