How to plan for installing bi fold doors

Expert advice on what to consider before installing folding sliding doors in your home

TODO alt text

Suitable for both contemporary and period properties, folding-sliding doors (FSDs) can replace solid walls, standard doors or windows to create a seamless link between your living space and garden.

Hiring an architect

Working with an architect who can bring your ideas to life and help with design by getting the size, proportion and scale of the build right will help you get the extension you really want. Architects will also be up to date on all the latest building regulations and other legal requirements for building an extension so will keep you on the right side of the planning permissions.

Do I need planning permission before the doors can be fitted?

Changing or adding doors and windows to a property is usually classed as permitted development (PD), so permission is not normally necessary for folding sliding doors. However, PD rights can be removed or restricted by the local authority, especially in a conservation area and other designated areas such as National Parks. Flats do not have PD rights, so planning permission will be required. Any material alteration to a listed building will need listed building consent.

Where permission is required, it will usually be granted if the alteration does not affect the principal elevations of the house – usually the front. Some local authorities may require the doors to be made from timber in a conservation area.

In all instances, the responsibility is yours as the homeowner, so check with your local authority whether or not permission is required.

How long will it take to fit new doors?

Project timings can hinge on the installation of features such as bi-folding doors. Lead times are varied. Some suppliers offer four to six weeks, while others say it will be 10-12, but the quotation should advise this so that you know what to expect.

Installation time should be around one day for a standard set of doors, but again, this is highly dependent on the complexity of the system.

Doors should be installed by a professional, and it is always beneficial for them to be fitted by the supplier, as then there is no conflict on responsibility should there be any operational issues.

Always discuss timings at the start of your project and aim to stick to them religiously to ensure that you don’t go over your schedule or budget.

Consider thermal performance

Make sure your doors have the certified thermal performance rating to meet all current UK building regulations. To reduce heat loss, opt for triple glazing with a 1.3 U-Value for superior energy efficiency.

Featured image: Choose the colour of your window frames carefully. While white frames might seem a more obvious choice, darker colours can be unobtrusive, allowing the eye to travel past them to the garden beyond. Sliding doors, from £1,500 per m; roof glass, from £950 per m², Sunparadise.