The Beauty of Bi-Fold Doors
During the last decade the popularity of Bi-Fold Doors has rocketed. This is undoubtedly largely due to the fact that they create a modern, stylish look and also have space-saving functionality. Nothing quite compares to the sleek and incredibly chic look of Bi-Fold doors. Bi-Fold doors are an excellent way to add a modern touch to older properties. And at the same time, the contemporary appearance of newer homes is further enhanced by the addition of Bi-Fold doors. Thus they continue to replace the more traditional Patio or French doors for the rear of many homes in the UK. So, if you’re thinking about having Bi-Fold Doors installed in your property, we hope that this handy guide to ‘all things Bi-Fold’ will help to answer some of your questions regarding this glazing option.
What are Bi-Fold doors and how do they work?
Bi-Fold doors are made up of multiple door ‘leaves’ of glazing which fold back on themselves to one side in order to open up an entire aperture giving you a practically uninterrupted view of your garden, patio, decking, balcony or any other outside space surrounding your home. Think concertina effect and that is exactly how a Bi-Fold door works! They can vary from 2 to 8 leaves according to the space which the Bi-Fold door is designed to fill. The door leaves themselves are fitted to a robust frame of runners which when opened slide and fold simultaneously for ease of operation. This means that not as much space has to be made for a door to swing open as with a normal hinged doors or French doors. Plus installing Bi-Fold doors also means that you don’t have to settle for a smaller entranceway like with traditional sliding doors.
Depending on the design chosen, many Bi-Fold doors feature what is often referred to as a ‘traffic door’. This is a conventional door that is built into the Bi-Fold door system. It sits on a normal hinge and has a standard lever handle. The purpose of the traffic door is to allow quick and easy access through the entrance at times when you don’t want to fold and slide open every single leaf in the Bi-Fold door- a very useful feature for regularly used busy entrances.
What are the benefits of Bi-Fold Doors that make them so popular?
Bi-Fold Doors became popular largely due to the fact that they provide a connection between the inside and the outside. Bi-Fold Doors help to remove the barrier between a garden and a home’s indoor space. When they are closed the huge expanse of glass provides an unhindered view of your outside space, but when opened, they provide a window on the world perfectly blending outside and in. BBQs, garden parties, outdoor dining or any other spring and summer activity is enhanced when the barrier between your home and garden is removed.
Bi-Fold doors also provide an excellent way to bring more natural light into your home. If your home suffers from a small dimly lit space, then the addition of Bi-Fold doors can be an absolute god sends in terms of creating the illusion of more space. In this case, opting for Aluminium Bi-Fold doors means that you’ll be able to maximise the amount of glass in each leaf of the door. This is due to the fact that aluminium is an incredibly strong material which is capable of housing even very large and heavy panes of glass within slim frames. These large expanses of glass will naturally draw the eye beyond the end of the room and into the outdoor area. Slim frames also help to minimise the amount of shadow cast by the frames, again improving light, bringing brightness into this space and so improving the general atmosphere of the room. Additionally, slim frames can help to make areas look far more spacious than traditional French doors, which tend to have bulkier frames. They Can Have Incredibly Slim Frames
As Bi-Fold doors fold back in a concertina effect they take up only a very small amount of space when opened. Therefore for those homes with compact living areas or small gardens, this is a huge benefit as in comparison French doors require a large amount of room around them in order for them to be fully opened.
You can choose if you want your Bi-Fold doors to open inside or out which is the ideal solution in homes where there is a small or awkwardly shaped room. As Bi-Fold doors give you the option to open them outside of your home rather than the inside, this means that the doors won’t encroach on your indoor space whilst open. Plus Bi-Fold doors offer more flexible opening options as you can opt to open up all or juts part of the aperture as you wish. As mentioned previously, including a ‘traffic’ door also means that you can simply open one leaf of the door whenever quick, easy access is needed.
Many high quality Bi-Fold doors will incorporate child-safety features to help to prevent accidents, such as little fingers becoming trapped between leaves when the doors are folded open. This means that Bi-Fold doors can be a very good choice for family homes with young children or also for adults with restricted mobility because these doors open and close much more easily than many other door designs.
Bi-Fold doors offer superior security to your home. Many designs have locking mechanisms that are spread out across various different points on the sliding track on which they run. That means they can be are actually far more secure than French doors or traditional sliding doors, both of which tend to have just one stocking point.
Bi-Fold doors are the ideal solution for creating a flexible open plan living space. They can be used to separate two rooms. For example, between a kitchen and a living room, where you will have the option to open up them up in an instant when needed. They also offer far better soundproofing and insulation than normal room dividers. Blinds can always be added for extra privacy.
When it comes to style, aluminium Bi-Fold doors offer far more choice than timber or uPVC French or sliding door frames. The aluminium is always finished with a powder coating which improves its durability and provides a sleek, stylish finish. Also there are a wide range of colours of powder coating available to choose from so it’s really easy to customise your Bi-Fold doors to suit your individual style.
High quality Bi-Fold doors will last for many years. So whilst the price of aluminium Bi-Fold doors may be higher than that of French or sliding doors, as aluminium is an incredibly robust and durable material, it can last for up to 50 years making Bi-Fold doors a very worthwhile investment.
Are Bi-Fold doors energy efficient?
Due to the fact that external Bi-Fold doors are a lot larger than many standard doors, they have a much larger surface area for heat to dissipate through. This is why it’s extremely important that the Bi-Fold door that you choose is well made and is energy efficient in terms of high thermal performance to keep your heat in and cold out. When considering your new Bi-Fold door the ‘U Value’ is very important. This describes how effective a material is as an insulator, so in the case of Bi-Fold doors it looks at how well they retain heat inside your home, and the cold out to keep your home warm and help you to use less energy, waste less energy and so reduce your overall heating bills. Bi-Fold doors with a lower U-value will be more energy efficient. Aluminium is traditionally regarded as a naturally a poor insulator, therefore many aluminium Bi-fold doors now feature a ‘thermal break’. This is made from a conductive material and improves the energy efficiency of the door.
Are B-Fold doors easy to clean?
In general, Bi-Fold doors are low maintenance. Keeping your external Bi-Fold doors as clean as possible will not only keep them looking great, but will ensure continued smooth operation. We recommend that as well as washing the windows and cleaning the frame of your Bi-Fold door, that to ensure that the door opens and closes with minimal effort, and stays secure, it’s always it’s a good idea to clean the tracks and maintain the lock too. To keep the tracks operating smoothly, it’s important to firstly make sure that the tracks are clean and free from debris. Small stones, pet hair, chewing gum, bits of food etc. can all get caught in the tracks and stop the door from operating smoothly. In our experience, cleaning the track with a thin vacuum cleaner nozzle works well. Simply run it along the length of the track to collect any debris. Afterwards you may wish to lubricate the track with a silicon spray but always consult your Bi-Fold door’s instruction manual before doing this to ensure that you are using the right type of spray. It’s also recommended that you take good care of the locks in a similar way as for the tracks. Use a small amount of lubricating oil to keep the locking mechanism moving smoothly by spraying it into the lock, a little on to the key, and then insert and remove the key a few times. Keeping the lock clean, lubricated and dust free is important for ensuring that it works well in the long term, and light lubricating oil is the best way to achieve this.
As you will clearly see, Bi-Fold doors can make a wonderful investment over French doors or traditional sliding doors. But ultimately, you need to figure out whether they’re right for your property and your individual needs. Here at Welbeck Windows we are happy to offer our expert advice to help you with that decision.