With more & more homeowners looking to maximise use of light & space when looking at having a set of picture windows or doors, bi-fold patio doors are quickly becoming a firm favourite. The ability of the panels to be easily moved to the sides and create an almost fully clear opening is a very attractive feature, really opening up the interior of the home to the outside world.
For the material used to manufacture the doors you can select softwoods, hardwoods, wood veneers, aluminium or UPVC. Each material offering a different look, feel and price range.
Wooden bi-fold doors would typically need the most looking after due to keep them in good shape (including veneered doors), whereas aluminium and UPVC have both have proven track records of low maintenance & longevity.
Glazing is also an important feature having impact on both energy efficiency and safety.
Single glazed exterior bi-fold doors are not the way to go, at the very least you should opt for double glazed sealed glass units.
The benefits of double paned glazing are obviously that it can reduce the loss of heat from the home and cut down on UV rays coming in, but with toughened or laminated panes they are far more difficult to break than you would think.
This safety element from double or triple glazing is especially important, not only to protect from unwanted visitors but also because the glass reaches floor level and therefore can be more susceptible to accidental impacts.
For added energy efficiency, low-e glass and inert gas filled units can be used.
There is an awful lot of choice here, with RAL powder coated aluminium bi-fold doors offering 100’s of different shades. UPVC can be found in at least a dozen or more colours, not including the wood-grain effect surface options.
Wood can obviously be pre-painted or stained to any colour you want.
Handles, hinges, bolts, locks all can be selected from different materials. Chrome and brass are commonplace, but you can also find door furniture in other colours.
The threshold for the door is an area that these days can be flush fitting, allowing for ease of access and just as effective as a raised threshold for keeping out bad weather.
The number of panels from a typical installer will range from 2 panels up to 6, but there are some that will build a set with 8 panels.
The way they open can be varied depending on what suits your home best such as:
There are also bespoke configurations which can be fitted to the corners of a room, which opens up a huge clear area and dramatically alters the aspect of the room they are fitted to.