Bi Fold Doors Pros and Cons – and Other Door Options

Aluminium Patio Door 3 Track UKBifoldIf you’re considering Bi Fold Doors for your building project then you may also be thinking about the alternatives to fill that big gaping hole in your back wall!

On the “pros” side – you’ve heard that they can open up large areas of wall?

But on the “cons” side – you wonder if when the time comes to close that hole up again, will Bi Fold Doors be up to the job?

Bi Fold Doors on average can provide you with a 90% clear opening so for instance if you have a 3 metre opening then you can expect to have a clear opening of around 2.7 metres.

No other common type of domestic door can offer this over a large expanse.

But some door options can offer a similar outcome, at least up to a certain width anyway. So let’s explore the options.

Bi Fold Door Width Front To Back = 80mmOpenings Under 2.5 metres

French Doors – These can actually match or better the clear opening to width ratio of Bi Fold Doors with the only drawback being that you are left with an obstruction at either side of the opening!

Sliding Patio Doors – Although still widely used today for many openings the big issue with patios is that at best, the percentage clear opening is always under 50% of the overall width.

Sliding Pocket Doors – These are only really ever used on bespoke designed properties. Usually in warmer climates of the united states where thermal performance and weather ratings are not really an issue. These doors in theory can give almost 100% full clear opening (depending on handle configurations) Hopefully one day some clever Window systems company will create a UK friendly version. But I wouldn’t hold your breath!

Bi Fold Door Top Guide Reynaers CF77Openings over 2.5 metres

Generally speaking when you get above 2.5 metres wide French Doors are no longer an option as you are at the brink of their maximum width.

Even Patio doors when specified for openings over 2.5 metres are forced to add further door panels ie. another door panel to slide in front of the standard 2 panel sliding patio. This in turn increases the front to back measurement of the outer frame to around 200mm. And as there is usually only 100mm of brick before you hit the plaster line your options become MESSY. Who wants to start hacking off plaster lines etc? No thank you!

Width Of Sliding Patio Front to Back = 200mm Bi Fold Door Width Front To Back = 80mm

This is where Bi Folding Doors come in to their own. Because extra panels can be added in a linear fashion (as many as the opening width requires) the outer frame being around 80mm (3 inches in old money) can replace what is generally already there without re-designing your whole house.


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I just built some pretty cool dividers for a flower shop.
I took several old wooden exterior house doors, some with glass and some without. I screwed regular door hinges to both sides and built a bifold / accorian wall.
We painted the windows over and it turned out really neat and the doors were free at the dump.

I'd go with something else but Habitat for Human

Is a great place to look for that, too. Look for louvered shutters or bifold doors that will block some of the wind but still allow for air flow. Glass or plexi can also magnify the suns rays and burn the plants if you aren't careful. Glass, plexi and bug screen also block some of the beneficial UVA/UVB rays.

If you have a fireplace enclosure:

Like the sliding or bifold glass doors to cover it, then personally I would just get a real long duration very hot fire going in there as long as the chimney is clean and good to go. Keep the doors closed, and the side or bottom vents open.
After 2-3 fires if it's not all gone or if it's all flaked up it should come off fairly easy with a putty knife or wire wheel.

French Patio Doors,Folding …
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  3. Bi-Fold Patio Doors