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All You Need to Know About Folding Doors

To all homeowners who are thinking of renovating old houses or buying new ones, you might be mulling over which type of door to choose for the interiors. The folding door is one type with multiple advantages for which you may consider.

A folding door comprises a number of panels which the user can fold or unfold to open or close the door. The door is also dubbed ‘bi-fold door’ or ‘Concertina door’, in relevance to the musical instrument. However, naming it Bi-fold door is not quite accurate as it usually encompasses 2, 4, or more panels. The panels move along a track with the aid of rollers, and the user can pull them back to one side using a knob.

Bifold doors allow natural light to flow into internal spaces and create seamless transitions between outside and in (Image credit: IQ Glass)

From room separators to kitchen entrances, bi-fold doors are surely handy. They are suitable for separating any two spaces and can extend over a considerable width, thus gaining an advantage over traditional doors with regard to both accessibility and visibility.

In this article, we will help you know more about folding doors and see if they are  suitable for your place.

These dark industrial-inspired doors could be included in both contemporary or traditional homes (Image credit: Posh Door Company)

Now, let’s get started with the materials, shall we?

There are 3 kinds of folding doors:

1-Aluminium

These blackout blinds from DotcomBlinds offer privacy and complete darkness once the sun goes down. (Image credit: DotCom Blind)

Many people opt for aluminum due to its strength and durability; this is why it is ideal for external bi-fold doors. Moreover, the strength of aluminum results in a frame: glass ratio that is greater than any other material; hence, increasing visibility. The strong material tolerates the sun very well and protects the door from bending. In addition to coming in a variety of colors, aluminum bi-fold doors live long and look good at the same time. Their main disadvantage is that they are expensive, but considering all its advantages, it sure is an investment.

2-UPVC (Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride)

This is a much cheaper option than aluminum, but it loses its good looks more quickly. In addition to longevity and bending problems, the door might gain a yellow discoloration over the years. As said before, aluminum bi-fold doors can be considered as an investment, since UPVC would probably cost you more for maintenance.

3–Wood

Great natural looks are of course the main advantage of wooden bi-fold doors. Moreover, manufacturers sometimes use engineered wood, which results from binding layers of wood with an adhesive, for producing this kind of doors. Although engineered wood lives longer than natural wood, its internal moisture will eventually lead to bending. Regarding maintenance, engineered wood stands between aluminum and UPVC on that scale, meaning that it needs less maintenance than UPVC but still more than aluminum.

What are the advantages of folding doors?

1) Leave more space

Your living room can look brighter and more spacious with folding doors; rather than with ordinary ones. Folding the door will open up the space that the ordinary door would have occupied.

This kitchen extension opens out fully to a patio dining space thanks to the swathe of bifold doors. (Image credit: Brayer Design)

2) Safe for kids

Bi-fold doors with glass panels provide more visibility. This will enable you to watch your kids play outside, in the garden for example, while continuing your work inside the house.

3) Better ventilation

An ordinary door can make your rooms stuffy due to poor aeration. On the other hand, a folding door provides good ventilation and air circulation, therefore it can be very handy in the summer.

Bifold doors can increase the sense of space in a room — as the bifolds from Thames Valley Window Company demonstrate. (Image credit: Thames Valley Window Company)

4) Saves up on bills

Wide folding doors let in plenty of air and daylight. This could reduce the need for AC and artificial lighting.

5) Great aesthetics

The doors look absolutely amazing. They have the potential to transform the look of an interior space.

Do they have any disadvantages?

1) Lack a threshold

Lacking a threshold could be an advantage in many situations. However, if water gets into a room with a wooden floor, the damage can be severe. You can avoid this by sloping the ground a little at the doorway.

2) Expensive

The price tag of a folding door is no joke as its installation is not easy and includes a lot of frames and glass.

What about sliding doors?

This kitchen side-return extension features bifold doors from IQ Glass, opening it out to the terrace beyond and flooring the new space with light (Image credit: IQ Glass)

Another closely-related kind of doors you may encounter is the sliding type. So, if you can’t decide on whether to get a folding door or a sliding one? Here is the low-down:

– Sliding doors offer a higher glass: frame ratio when compared to folding doors, which means that the sliding door has more glass than a folding one.

– Unfoldable as they are, sliding doors cannot be completely opened, opposed to bi-fold doors.
– Big panes of glass do not come cheap. the bigger the sliding door is, the more expensive it gets.

What to do and what not to do when deciding on a folding door?

Dos

1) Thoroughly inspect the folding door you will buy at the retail shop so as to know exactly what you are dealing with.
2) Warranty is important.
3) Purchase doors that construction regulations allow.
4) Buy your doors from a reputable company or shop.

Don’ts

1) Don’t base your judgment on the price tag. Invest in an expensive door that will last for years.
2) Don’t pay the contractor until they finish the installation. If you pay them beforehand, it will be quite difficult to change anything you are not satisfied with.

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