01656 507 323 hello@welshbifolds.co.uk
Bi-folding doors: A buyer’s guide

Bi-folding doors: A buyer’s guide

Bi-folding doors in a modern home Fitting bi-folding doors in your home can achieve stunning results. They’re not only practical and allow for more light and space, but can add value to your property. Considering the amount of planning and research involved when renovating your home, or when building an extension, adding another factor, such as bi-folds, can be a bit daunting. There are a few things to consider, from the type of material and sizes, to arranging for the doors to be fitted. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide – to help you make a more informed decision and to make the process easier.

Would bi-folding doors be right for my home?

It’s no secret that bi-folding doors have become a popular choice among homeowners thanks to their versatility and design. But, before you commit to any decisions, you need to think about how, and if, bi-folding doors will benefit you and your home. They can be a relatively big investment, and it makes sense to take some time to explore your options. Ask yourself:

  • Do I want to allow extra light in the room?
  • Do I want to make garden access easier?
  • Do I want to expand a small space?
  • Would their style fit the house?

If the answer to most of these questions is ‘yes’, then you’re headed in the right direction. Bi-folding doors generally work best when installed externally as your garden, pool area or patio seating area, become a natural extension to your home.

Choosing the right material

Generally speaking, there are three different materials to choose from, each has it’s pros and cons. Here’s how they all compare:

PVCu

The good

  • It’s cheaper than timber or aluminium.
  • Require very little maintenance during their lifetime.
  • Type of glass and configuration will determine energy efficiency, but in general they are good insulators.

The bad

  • It’s the weakest material of the three – that’s why PVCu windows and doors need thicker frames to support the glass which gives the opposite effect of the slim aluminium frames.

Timber

The good

  • Unique and beautiful design aesthetics – more suitable for period properties.
  • Wood is naturally a good insulator.
  • Easier to renovate during their lifetime, as timber can be re-varnished or repainted.

The bad

Aluminium

The good

  • The strongest of all three materials, which means bi-folding doors can be manufacturer with a slimmer frame without compromising strength.
  • Has long-lasting colour, and unlike PVCu and timber, it doesn’t discolour, rust or peel.
  • It’s highly eco-friendly as aluminium is highly recyclable.
  • It doesn’t suffer the same expansion problems that can affect PVCu and timber doors.

The bad

  • Older aluminium products had poor insulation, but that’s no longer the case as nowadays they have to pass stringent performance tests and meet British Standard.

Choosing a threshold

The thought of having a smooth transition between your home to the outdoor area is very tempting, but although it is possible, it depends on the external flooring and plan. Generally speaking there are two different types of threshold:

  • Non-weathered threshold – this one offers a completely flat transition between the inside and out. The track isn’t raised which makes it perfect for wheelchair users, prams and children. Since it doesn’t have a solid lip to isolate the frame from the floor, it’s more suitable for internal use or with a sheltered outside area.
  • Weathered threshold – this one is designed to withstand rain and draughts a lot better. Although not completely flat, the lip can be installed very low. All this delivers greater weather performance, which makes weathered thresholds ideal for external bi-folding doors, leading to a garden, for example.

So, when should I order my bi-folding doors?

Ideally, you should order them while the opening is still being built. We can work off plan and install the bi-folding doors at the day when it’s ready, so there’s a minimum waiting time and disruption. Alternatively, you can order after everything is ready, but that way you’ll end up having an uncovered opening, which will just cause you stress.

Other considerations

  • Check planning permission – it’s worth checking if a planning permission is required. And if the installation is for a building in a National Park some restrictions may apply.
  • Choosing the handles – we work with multiple suppliers you’re sure to get the widest variety of handles, to fit different frames, styles and interior design
  • Hassle-free installation day – create as much space as possible for the installation team and free up a parking space outside your house. It’s also a good idea to cover your furniture with dust sheets in case of any debris.

If you need further advice feel free to get in touch. We’re always happy to help, so email us or give us a call on 01656 507 323.

How to measure the opening for your bi-folding doors

How to measure the opening for your bi-folding doors

Bi-folding doors measuring example

No two houses are the same, and different people need different size doors. When it comes to ordering, most bi-folding doors are made-to-measure, so getting the right sizes is essential. And that’s the great thing about them – they’re flexible and can be made truly bespoke.

Actually, measuring the opening for bi-folding doors is very similar to how you’d measure patio doors, but with a few key differences. For example, when surveying you need to consider the tracking hardware at the top and the bottom of each door and the height of the threshold. But on the other hand, measuring bi-folds is the same as measuring sliding doors.

We can carry out the survey to obtain all measurements and other details needed to fit bifolding doors correctly. But if you are confident to do it yourself, or you’re a builder looking to install at a client’s building – you can use our guide.

So, how should you measure accurately before ordering your bi-folding doors?

Step 1: Measure the width outside

Measuring example width

For bi-folding doors to fit properly and work smoothly, it’s very important to have the outer frame installed level and square.

So, the first step is to take measurements outside, starting with the width. Assuming the opening is ready, you’ll need to measure side-to-side, from brickwork to brickwork, in three places. Make a note of all them, but we’ll use the smallest measurements as a base for installing the doors.

Step 2: Measure the height outside

Measuring example height

Next – measure the height and, again, take three measurements and make a note of the shortest one.

It’s important to take into account the height of the threshold you currently have, while keeping in mind what type you’ll be needing. Some bi-folding doors have low, or flush thresholds, which make access to wheelchair users and prams very easy.

Measuring accurately is important because:

  • The step over height may need to be tweaked for outwards opening doors.
  • The level transition from outside to inside is something that can be achieved.
  • Doors opening inwards and level don’t scratch the floor inside.

Step 3: Final calculations

Now you’ve measured the height, the width and have made note of the shortest measurements. The bi-folding doors will be slightly smaller than what you’ve measured, so they can fit more easily and allow clearance.

Things may get complicated here, but as a rule of thumb, ensure you deduct 10mm off the smallest width and height size.

In addition to checking all measurements when surveying, our team will also check if all walls are straight and strong enough to how the bi-folding frames.

Sometimes the opening isn’t perfectly square or rectangular, but that’s easily fixed when fitting. You can check this by measuring the diagonals from corner to corner.

What questions you’ll need to answer when contacting us?

  • Which way will the doors fold – inwards or outwards?
  • Will you want a traffic door?
  • Which way should doors fold to when opening – left, right or out from the middle?
  • What’s the floor level (allow extra space for tiles, carpets, patio slabs etc.)

If you have any questions, or need help with your bi-folding doors, just get in touch and our team will be able to assist.

How safe and secure are bi-folding doors?

How safe and secure are bi-folding doors?

House with a patio and bi-folding doors

Security is a major consideration for every homeowner when it comes to installing new windows or doors. And when it comes to bi-folding doors, it’s no different.

When most bi-folding doors are installed to the rear of a home, you want to make sure the multi-panel doors can keep your family safe should an ill-intended individual try to break in.

If you’re looking to replace old sliding doors, or you’ve nearly finished building an extension but security is a concern, keep on reading – we explain why bi-folding doors are securer than you thought.

1. Bi-folding doors have high-security multi-point locking system

Old systems from 10 years ago had the reputation of having weak points in the folding panels, specifically in the door cylinders and keys. But that hasn’t been the case for a few years, with many manufacturers focusing on improving the security of their panels.

For your own peace of mind, our bi-folding doors have robust secure locking systems that meet the police-recommended ‘Secure by design’ British standards (BS EN 1303:2005, TS007 and BSI certificated). This means the cylinders can’t be snapped, drilled into, or bumped to open the doors.

Each door has a locking bolt at the top and bottom securing each panel individually.

2. Robust frames assembled with heavy-duty hinges

The frames and the hinges of our bi-folding doors are designed to withstand attack from even the most determined burglar. We offer aluminium frames which come with better performance, flexibility, durability and security compared to PVC and timber.

This means the frames are strong, but can also be made smaller. So, the windows fitted in them can be bigger, which leads to more light accessing your home.

Strong frames, without strong hinges are nothing. So, we’ve made sure we only use premium quality hinges which can prevent an intruder from prising the bi-folding doors apart. That sometimes comes at a price, so make sure you get the best for your money.

Hinges can be of concern since they are exposed outside the doors, but we’ve invested a lot in ours to make them strong enough to withstand break in attempts and reduce the risk of levering off the doors from them.

3. Only reinforced high-security glass

The glazing of the bi-folding doors is probably the biggest concern because you’re essentially replacing a brick wall of your house with glass.

There are several option to choose from, but as standard, all our bi-folding doors have reinforced safety glass designed to resist impact. The triple glazed and laminated glass option offers even superior security as the glass doesn’t shatter and holds together.

A good bi-folding set up is also energy efficient with a minimal heat loss during the colder months of the year.

When you have a strong frame, with premium hinges, eight-point locking system and toughened safety glass, you get bi-folding doors that can easily give you a peace of mind.

4. Fitting an alarm for extra security

Alarm sensors can be fitted to any bi-folding door, just like to a traditional door. They are usually quite subtle so, they won’t be obvious to intruders and won’t damage the aesthetic of your home.

Thanks to advancement in technology, you can install remote door alarm which notifies your phone when it’s activated.

And if you need a little extra, you can fit blinds so that your belongings are not on view.

5. Completely family-proof bi-folding doors

An optional feature family might like is the safe cushioning between between each panel, which make joints finger-safe, as there are no open edges or gaps.

Doors also snap together using strong magnets, so they don’t slam in the wind.

All this means you can enjoy your bi-folding doors knowing your family are secure and safe – meaning you can relax and enjoy bringing the outdoors, indoors.

To see all of the above in action, visit our showroom or book a design consultation.