5 things to know about Bifold Patio Doors – and a guide to what they cost.
Patio doors are considered to be a key feature in homes, providing security and easy access while flooding the house with natural light and a great view. Patio doors refer to all kinds of doors that in general open up to patios, gardens or terrace areas and are predominantly seen at the back of a property.
Whilst, traditionally, patio doors were limited to French or sliding doors, the market has evolved to include bifold doors – sometimes called bi-fold, bi-folding or multi-folding doors.
Depending on the size of the opening, bifold patio doors can be the ideal addition to a home.
The aim of the following article is to help those who may not know much about them to gain a fuller appreciation of just how versatile & appealing Bifold patio doors are by reviewing:
- Features & Benefits of Bifold Patio Doors.
- How much do different types of Bifold Doors cost.
Features & Benefits of Bi-fold Patio Doors
Available types of material for bi-folding doors
Your choice of material for domestic installations comes down to three types:
- Timber – 3 main choices between hard, soft or reconstituted timber. Hardwood veneers over engineered wood frames can be found.
- Aluminium – can also be aluminium clad over a timber frame.
Timber Bi-fold doors have the “natural look” and are primarily appreciated for this feature. Timber products come in softwood with hardwood veneers, Hardwoods and engineered wood. Keep in mind that low quality timber doors can warp, shrink, expand or flex.
Veneered timber bifold patio doors are built from softwood, but have a very thin layer of hardwood applied to the surfaces so that they look like hardwood and can be quite cost effective. Hardwood versions are a bit pricier, but after all, it’s hardwood.
Engineered wood is very stable and does not suffer the same levels of expansion and contraction as natural woods. It is also “green” as it is sustainable and fully recyclable. You can paint it or stain it to any colour you like.
uPVC Versions are the “mid-ground” in terms of cost, not as cheap as softwood, but not as costly as aluminium or some hardwood versions. They are very hard wearing, don’t take much looking after and you can have them in different colours.
Aluminium bifold doors are slim & sleek. The paint finish on them looks great and can even offer a surface finish that is “grained”. They are not cheap but they are very strong, lightweight and last a long time.
How bifold doors function
Bifold doors are doors that slide open, where the moving panels fold together side by side and neatly stack up against the wall.
While Bifolds can look like regular patio doors when shut, the folding of the doors to the sides creates large and dramatic openings. These doors have the ability to fit into openings in a manner that creates a living space that transitions seamlessly from the indoors to out. This breakdown of barriers between inside and outside expands the living space and caters to optimum utility.
However, in order for bi-folding doors to be completely effective, it’s better to fit them to larger openings. When it comes to small openings such as around 2 metres or less, bifold doors won’t provide any more excess access space than, say, French doors would provide.
In order to optimise the efficiency of bifolds, it is worthwhile to consider key elements such as the threshold transition, stacking of the doors (in/out – left/right), which way the doors will be hung (top or bottom) before you go ahead and order some.
The key feature of a set of bi-fold doors for your patio is, as we outlined above, the way the doors complete fold to the sides and create big space to transition from inside the of your home to the outside.
The threshold of the door set is something that can make or break this continuity of space. A high raised threshold can be ugly and annoying. In some cases, it can even represent a hazard (tripping) or a barrier to infirm persons or wheelchair users.
So using a low level or flush threshold is an available solution. Bifold doors move on top & bottom tracks, either by the top or the bottom track taking the weight. Top hung doors need a good overhead structure to take the weight of the unit but because of this the threshold on the floor can easily be a flush version.
Very low level, flush or recessed thresholds need to be able to cope with bad weather. They need to be able to drain water effectively and be windproof. Ensure the design on offer has been thoroughly tested for this and won’t let water or wind into your home when the doors are closed.
Modern Bifold doors are slimline and less conspicuous than regular doors. Their slim profile has the ability to maximise visibility without having to compromise on the strength of the door.
However, for set with very wide individual panes, you should be wary of low quality uPVC profiles that may flex or distort if they are too slim and not reinforced. In a case like that, aluminium would probably be a better material to use.
Security is well taken care of, but is also unobtrusive. Strong hinges and anti-jemmy / anti-lift tracking systems keep the doors in place, whilst shoot bolts and multi-point locks make sure the doors are secure once closed.
Safety is also a high priority, because any glazing that reaches the floor will always be tempered, toughened glass. The inherent difficulty of breaking a sealed double glazed unit also helps. For those who want to go one step further, you can opt for laminated glass panels.
Options and Average Cost of Bifold Doors
Bifold patio doors are made up from individual glazed panels or “leaves” and the size of the opening that you are going to fit them to will determine the number of leaves in the door set.
Working best with 3 or more doors, you can opt to have one panel fitted as a traffic door. This panel will be able to open & close just like a normal door. Allowing entry or exit without having to slide the whole unit to get in and out.
Average Price Guide to Bi-fold Patio Doors
How much do wood veneer bifold doors cost?
|3 panel bifold door size in millimeters||Basic Specification||Average Price Guide supply only|
|1800 x 2100||slim, white, double glazed toughened glass||£1,400 to £1,600|
|1800 x 2100||slim, grey, double glazed toughened glass||£1,400 to £1,600|
|1800 x 2100||slim Oak veneer, double glazed, toughened glass||£1,600 to £1,700|
|4 panel bifold door size in millimeters||Basic Specification||Average Price Guide supply only|
|3000 x 2100||slim, white, double glazed toughened glass||£2,400 to £2,500|
|3000 x 2100||slim, grey, double glazed toughened glass||£2,400 to £2,500|
|3000 x 2100||slim Oak veneer, double glazed, toughened glass||£2,600 to £2,700|
How much do Aluminium bifold doors cost?
|3 panel bifold door size in millimeters||Basic Specification||Price Guide (ex VAT) supply only|
|1900 x 2100||up to 100 RAL powder coat colours / double glazed||£1,700 to £1,900|
|2500 x 2100||up to 100 RAL powder coat colours / double glazed||£1,900 to £2,200|
|3000 x 2100||up to 100 RAL powder coat colours / double glazed||£2,000 to £2,500|
How much do UPVC bifold doors cost?
|3 panel bifold door size in millimeters||Basic Specification||Price Guide (inc VAT) supply only|
|2700 x 2100||white uPVC/ double glazed||£1,200 to £1,400|
|2700 x 2100||2 colour white & oak uPVC/ double glazed||£1,500 to £1,700|
|2700 x 2100||1 color Grey uPVC / double glazed||£1,700 to £1,950|
The thermal efficiency of the whole installation will be determined by the WER (door or window energy rating) which runs from A to G (G being the lowest). As you may have guessed, higher rated doors will cost a little more than lower rated ones.
For uPVC models, you can expect to pay more for coloured versions than a white version.
What about the cost of other types of patio doors?
How much do French patio doors cost?
|door width in millimeters||Basic Specification||Price Guide (inc VAT) supply only|
|1100 to 1200– no side panels||white uPVC/ double glazed||£400 to £500|
|2900 to 30oo – with side panels||white uPVC/ double glazed||£800 to £1,000|
|2500 to 2600 – top & side panels||white uPVC/ double glazed||£800 to £1,000|
How much do sliding patio doors cost?
|Inline sliding patio door size in millimeters||Basic Specification||Price Guide (inc VAT) supply only|
|2 panel inline sliding 1600 x 2100||white uPVC/ double glazed||£600 to £700|
|3 panel inline sliding 2400 x 2100||white uPVC/ double glazed||£800 to £1,000|
|4 panel inline sliding 3000 x 2100||white uPVC/ double glazed||£1,100 to £1,300|