Aluminium Bifold Doors vs Sliding Doors [Which to choose?]
Over the past years, our homes have become our cinemas, gyms, restaurants, spas, and parks. The time spent indoors has made us realise how important it is to create a healthy and happy environment right within our homes - and to let natural light, fresh air, and nature indoors is the most important aspect of it.
Did the pandemic finally encourage you to take the plunge and invest in that much-desired home extension? Make sure you are making the right choice between aluminium bi-fold doors and aluminium sliding doors.
While bifold doors have been loved for many decades, sliding doors have become increasingly popular over the last years. Both are exceptional options to open up your home's space and flood your living environment with light. But one type might be better than the other for your specific needs. Learn all you need to make the best choice below.
Aluminium Bifold Doors: Perfect To Open Up Your Space
Over the past 15 years, bi-fold doors have always been the go-to choice for homeowners looking to expand their living space. This is because bi-fold doors were the only ones able to accommodate the needs of larger apertures (hole in your wall).
But, today, bi-fold doors are no longer a synonym for chunky glass panels and heavy-looking PVC sightlines. Instead, they have become a unique and stylish design element that merges functionality, aesthetics, and convenience.
What Are Aluminium Bifold Doors?
Sometimes called folding patio doors or folding sliding doors, bi-fold doors are doors that open by folding in or out of your property. They come in various materials and sizes, but aluminium sightlines and triple glazed glass panels make for the best type of bi-fold doors. Being able to open up to 90% of the aperture (hole in your wall), aluminium bifold doors are the best choice to add value to small and large spaces.
Benefits of Aluminum Bifold Doors
Aluminium bifold doors have unique benefits to keep in mind. Here is a rundown:
- They can truly enhance your room's potential - since they can open up to 90% of the aperture, no space will go to waste. They are also suitable for smaller doors or openings.
- They add a unique light signature to your home - the entire atmosphere of your home can change by changing its lighting. Bifold doors can help you benefit from more natural light.
- They allow you to bring the outdoors in - since they can open entirely, bifold doors can seamlessly merge the indoors and outdoors and create a wider open space. In summer, this is perfect to enjoy uninterrupted BBQs and parties, cook while socialising with your guests sitting outdoors, and create the ultimate playground for your little ones!
- They help you regulate your home’s indoor temperature - bifold doors are extremely versatile. You can open it entirely to merge the indoor and outdoor area and let in the cooling breeze in the summer. Or, you can just open one of the panels to freshen up the indoor air without letting your whole home go too cold.
- They are easy to install and maintain - you can install bi-fold doors as bottom rolling or top hung configurations. Once in, all you will need to do is ensure that leaves and dirt don't accumulate in the rolling mechanism.
- They are highly versatile - you can decide to open just one of the panels or designate a master door, so you won't need to open the entire folding door to let in just a little fresh air!
Drawbacks of Aluminum Bifold Doors
Aluminium bi-fold doors are so popular for many reasons. However, it is important also to be aware of their drawbacks.
- They require several frames or sightlines - compared to sliding doors, bi-fold doors require frames for each glass panel. When they are folded, this can cause a not-so-appealing design on one side of the aperture. You can minimise this effect by picking slender or thinner frames for your glass panels.
- They lack a threshold - bifold doors can close the gap between your home's interior and exterior areas. However, with a flush threshold, there is less protection against water or moisture. You can prevent issues by installing a drainage system or a step.
- You need space to stack them - when the bi-fold door is open, you will need some room to house the stacked panels. These can rest inside or outside your home, depending on convenience. However, this isn’t really a drawback considering the opening the bifold doors achieve.
Who Are Aluminium Bifold Doors For?
When selecting the best aluminium doors for your home extension, your personal preferences will play an important role. However, space's characteristics might also offer you important hints.
Bi-fold doors are particularly suitable for smaller apertures because they can open up almost entirely. At the same time, they might be a more convenient option if you need to cover larger openings. This is because you can opt for several smaller glass panels instead of a single large one - which can be expensive!
Aluminium Bifold Doors: FAQs
Here is a collection of our customers' main questions across South-West England and South-East Wales answered by our Bristol Bifold designers.
Are Aluminium Bifold Doors Cold?
The thermal performance of aluminium bi-fold doors is generally similar to sliding doors when you opt for a high-quality model.
To make sure that your home's temperature won't be affected, as for the U-value of your windows, as well as thermal and weather testing reports. High-quality, double-glazing or triple-glazing bifold doors should guarantee you a U-value rating of 1.2-1.4 - or even lower!
Are Aluminium Bifold Doors Better Than uPVC?
Aluminium sightlines and frames offer many benefits in comparison with uPVC.
- They are strong but lightweight
- They better suit the style of modern and contemporary homes
- They offer more slender or thinner sightlines, which create clearer views
- They are easy to install and maintain
- They last longer than uPVC
How Much Do Aluminium Bifold Doors Cost?
The cost of Aluminum bifold doors can vary depending on several factors, including the type of glass panel, installation costs, delivery, and VAT. However, generally, you will be looking to spend around £1,200 per linear meter.
Are Bifold Doors Worth the Money?
Bi-fold doors are a great investment. Since they are long-lasting and require minimal investment, they are worth the money!
Should Bi-Fold Doors Open In or Out?
Whether a bi-fold door should open in or out mainly depends on your home's design, and there are pros and cons of each. A bi-fold door that opens towards your home's interior will require some space to stack, which means that you will need to leave a corner free of furniture.
Your designer at Bristol Bifold will be able to recommend the best solution for your home.
Aluminium Sliding Doors: Ideal for a Cleaner Design
Aluminium sliding doors have become increasingly popular for designs that are clearer, more streamlined, or minimalist. Just like bi-fold doors, sliding doors can help you open up a room, expand your living space, and improve your home's lighting.
However, these doors are unique in the way that they provide undisturbed and clear views, thanks to their minimal sightlines and large expanses of glass.
What Are Aluminium Sliding Doors?
Aluminium sliding doors boast extensive glass panels, completely uninterrupted by frames or sightlines. Sliding doors usually mount much larger glass panels, up to 6 square meters, and much thinner frames. When opening your sliding doors, the two glass panels will overlap each other, minimising how much metal you will see when they are open.
If you invested in a home with a panoramic view over a garden, lake, mountains, or the sea, these doors are the optimal choice to enjoy these breathtaking views. There is no better design element that would allow you to enjoy your morning coffee or an evening drink with uninterrupted views of the outdoors.
Benefits of Aluminum Sliding Doors
Aluminium sliding doors are an excellent alternative to bi-fold doors. They allow you to reduce the boundaries between the indoors and outdoors spaces of your home. And, they are great to regulate your home’s temperature, air quality, and amount of sunlight.
Your designer at Bristol Bifold will guide you through the many other unique characteristics of these panels. However, here is a rundown for your convenience:
- Offer uninterrupted panoramic views - One of the greatest benefits of aluminium sliding doors is their minimal sightlines. They allow you to look out onto your garden or patio without the inconvenience of metal frames in the way. If you have dedicated time and effort towards creating a dreamy garden, patio, or lawn, these doors are perfect to enjoy gratifying views.
- Easy to open and close - the modern operating system will make for smooth opening and closing operations.
- They can flood your home with natural light - there is nothing quite like a frameless glass door to enjoy the magic of natural light indoors. With sliding doors, you can add a distinctive light signature to your home and enhance its interior design.
- They minimise boundaries between your home’s inside and outside areas - substituting a wall or cumbersome window with an aluminium sliding door can work wonders to create a seamless space. So, you can let your little ones run free, create an open cooking area, or merge your indoor living room and your garden - the perfect summer paradise!
- They are long-lasting - aluminium sliding doors are extremely resistant to the elements and represent a long-lasting investment. While uPVC windows have a life expectancy of 25-35 years, aluminium frames can last up to 50 years.
- They can make your home more energy-efficient - aluminium sliding panels can also insulate your home while allowing more natural light in. This is great to cut down on bills and create a healthier atmosphere inside your home.
Drawbacks of Aluminum Sliding Doors
The benefits of an aluminium sliding door largely outweigh the disadvantages. However, it is worth being aware of them when making this such an investment.
- One of the panels won't open - whether you have opted for double or triple track sliding doors, there will always be one fixed panel that won't open. This means that you can't entirely open up a room.
- The track can take up space - depending on your doors' design and build; the track can be quite wide.
- You might need extra support - if you are installing a particularly large sliding door, the panel might require an extra support frame which can impact the door's aesthetics.
Who Are Aluminium Sliding Doors For?
Aluminium sliding doors are the best design elements if you wish to truly open up a room and enjoy uninterrupted views over your patio, garden, or landscape. Since the presence of metal is reduced to a minimum, the amount of natural light flooding your room is unrivalled.
However, you should keep in mind that, because of that fixed panel, the aluminium sliding door will only leave around 65% of the aperture free. Additionally, finding and installing a single large glass panel can be expensive.
Aluminium Sliding Doors: FAQs
If you plan to add an extension to your home, Bifold Bristol designers across Bristol, Bath, Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Cardiff, Gloucestershire, and Wales are ready to help you find the best option. And, you can ask them all the questions that come to mind. These are the most common ones to put some of your doubts to rest.
Are Sliding Doors Expensive?
The cost of aluminium sliding doors varies depending on how big the opening is and how wide your desired sightlines will be. However, what makes sliding doors more expensive is the size of the glass panel. Large single-piece glass panels can be expensive.
How Much Do Aluminium Sliding Doors Cost?
Aluminium sliding doors are not generally much more expensive than bifold doors. However, the larger the glass panels are, the more they might cost.
Are Aluminium Sliding Doors Worth the Money?
When compared to uPVC frames, aluminium sliding doors can be expensive. However, their life expectancy can be double the one of uPVC, making them worth the money and a smart investment for your home. The visual appeal is second to none.
Aluminium Bifold Doors vs Sliding Doors: The Ultimate Showdown
Now that you know everything about aluminium bifold doors and sliding doors, it is time to decide on the best option for your needs. Unfortunately, when designing your dream home extension, there is no "one-size-fits-all" formula that you can follow. Nonetheless, our designers at Bifold Bristol can help you make the best choice for your needs. The sections below might make things easier!
Which Is Better Bi-Fold or Sliding Doors?
It is impossible to determine whether bi-fold or sliding doors are universally better. The first option might be more affordable and suitable or smaller apertures, while the second one offers unparalleled views and a modern design.
If it is the views that you are after, sliding doors are an excellent choice thanks to their minimal sightlines and wide glass expanses.
At the same time, bi-fold doors can open up to almost 90% of the aperture and offer unbroken views when the glass panels are open.
Your home's structure, lifestyle and budget can help you choose between the two options.
Which Is Cheaper Bi-Fold or Sliding Doors?
The price per linear meter of the two aluminium doors is roughly the same. The factors that will influence their price include the type of glass you have selected and the sightlines' width. One aspect that makes sliding doors more expensive is that they usually mount larger glass units, which can be very costly.
Are Aluminium Doors Better Than uPVC?
Aluminium doors are of much higher quality compared to uPVC. It can withstand any weather condition without warping, provide better insulation, and last longer. Aluminium frames are also stronger, which means that you can opt for a thinner structure that minimises the visible amount of metal.
Are Aluminium Doors More Expensive Than uPVC?
Aluminium doors are generally more expensive than uPVC. However, since they last between 20 and 30 years longer than uPVC doors, they are a much better investment for your home.
Will Bifold Doors or Sliding Doors Add Value To Your House?
Independently on whether you have opted for aluminium bi-fold or sliding doors, you can rest assured that they will add value to your home.
Homeowners and homebuyers are increasingly more concerned with creating healthy, airy, open, and luminous living spaces - all of which can be achieved with sliding or bi-fold doors. So, you can increase your property's value and make it a much more desirable option for potential buyers.
Find The Perfect Aluminium Door For Your Home Today
Here at Bristol Bifold, our expert team of designers have over 15 years of experience in bi-fold and sliding doors. We understand that each home is unique, and what works for someone might not be the best option for your lifestyle. That is why we are committed to offering a stress-free, tailored experience to help you find the best aluminium bi-fold and sliding doors for your home.
If you are ready to discover the hidden potential of your home, get in touch with us at 0117 992 3101 or email us to consult one of our friendly advisors, get all of your questions answered, and find out whether you should opt for aluminium sliding doors or bifolds.