Bi-Fold vs Sliding

BI Folding Doors to a small extension in London

When you are creating a new rear extension or building a new home a standard modern additional to these spaces is a large elevation of glass to the rear of the property facing the garden.

These ‘patio doors’ have come a long way since old fashioned uPVC doors were popular years ago. Now these glass elevations and openings can have flush base track, can reach massive sizes and heights and maintain thermal performance required when creating a modern inviting living space.

But the dilemma that most projects face is: Do I have sliding doors or bi fold doors?

Both options have their inherent pros and cons and each suit spaces depending on what the home owners plan to use their space for, what the internal and external furniture placement will be and what overall aesthetic is wanted for the design.

These sliding glass doors have a framing profile of 21m

The main differences between a bi folding door option and sliding are the frame sizes you will see when the doors are closed and the amount of open area to the door you get when opened.

Bi fold doors allow you to open up to 90% of the aperture; this is great if you have an external eating or kitchen area with living space at the back of the house. The near full opening allows a neat and easy flow between the inside and the outside of the house when the doors are open. Bi Folding door panels can be designed to be up to 3m high with each panel being 1.2m wide for very large opening sections. However when bi fold doors are closed you are left with a minimum of 120mm framing between each bi fold panel, this can add up to a lot of framework.

The sliding doors slide into hidden pockets in the walls

If slim framing is a principle of your design then sliding doors will afford you a much slimmer sightline. High end sliding glass doors can achieve vertical framing sightlines of 21mm with the surrounding of the sliding door frameless. The amount of openable space achievable with a sliding door system will depend on the number of sliding panels you have in your configuration but with these sliding panels available in sizes of up to 12m2 a 3 panel sliding system is popular which allows over two thirds of the rear face openable. Though this is smaller than a bi folding door system siding doors can offer flush floor tracks across the base for step free, easy merging of inside to out.

What happens if you want both a full opening and slim framing?

Use a pocket door. Sliding doors as pictured can be designed to slide into cavity pockets within insulated walls. This allows you to open up the entire aperture but when we want the door closed (which, if we are honest, is the majority of the year in the UK) you will only be left with the slim 21mm vertical frames of the sliding doors.

You can view all three configurations and door options above at the Courtyard Showroom m in Amersham, the largest architectural glass showroom in the UK

The Courtyard, Sky House, Raans Road, Amersham, Bucks, HP6 6JQ

Contact IQ Glass to learn more about the difference between sliding and bi fold doors

01494 722 880 | |


About the Author

Gary Davis