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What Are Bifold Doors? Pros, Cons & How They Work Explained


What Are Bifold Doors? Pros, Cons & How They Work Explained

Andy Brame
Written by Andy Brame
Updated on 22nd April 2024
Posted on 27th February 2024

What Are Bifold Doors?

Renovating a home can be stressful and expensive.

But, when it's complete, it can transform the style of your home and increase its value!

When thinking about home renovations, many people focus on the impact furnishings and colour schemes will have.

One thing often overlooked but will play a massive part in how your home looks and flows is doors.

Design your door

Choosing the right doors for your home will impact the overall design. It will also significantly affect how secure and energy-efficient your home is.

2 Black Aluminium Bifold Doors

Bifold doors are an excellent option that can be used to separate internal areas or as external doors.

This article will explore what bifold doors are and how they work. We'll also cover the bifold door options available to homeowners in the UK.

Bifold Doors Explained

Bifold doors are sliding door systems that fold in a concertina fashion. The hinged frames house glass panels that fold back as the doors are slid open.

Bifold doors work on a simple sliding track system similar to traditional ones. The upper lintel and floor tracks keep the panels in place and allow for smooth movement.

Bifold doors separate interior spaces while allowing natural light to flow through the property. They are also used as external doors and can facilitate the flow of light to outdoor areas.

Bifold doors typically use large glazed panels to allow lots of natural light into rooms. The doors' fold can be configured indoors or outdoors (or into a specific room for internal bifold doors), allowing people to make efficient use of their space.

They differ from traditional sliding doors in that they can slide completely open, whereas traditional sliding doors would slide in front of other panels.

Traffic doors can be installed in bifold doors for convenience. This is where a normal door would be built into one of the sliding panels.

With these types of bifold door panels and configurations, it means the entire bifold door structure would not have to be opened or closed for simple access.

How Do Bifold Doors Work?

Bifold doors run on tracks similar to those of sliding doors. These tracks are located on the ground and upper lintel.

The doors are divided into individually glazed sections. As the door is opened, the hinges on each section dictate how the section will fold.

The result of this is a neatly stacked structure. Each section will sit against another when the door is fully open.

It is this compact design that makes them such a popular choice. Other options, like hinged, sliding, or French doors, are very limited and will only open inwards or outwards.

This provides an unlimited entranceway that can open a room to another or your outside space.

The sliding mechanism on internal and external bifold doors is designed to provide a smooth sliding motion. This should allow ease of use and quiet action.

Design your door

Bifold Door Sizes

Bifold doors are relatively flexible in the sizes they can fit. This is because they can comprise several panels, typically up to 7.

This can create an expansive glass wall that can be fully opened.

Bifold patio doors typically incorporate 2 to 7 panels, depending on the size of the project or the homeowner's preference.

The width of the panels will typically vary from 400 mm to 1,200 mm. UK door heights typically average around 2078 mm for internal bifold doors and 2090 mm for external bifold doors.

You can learn more about bifold door sizes in our guide.

Bifold Door Colours

Choosing the colour of your bifold doors will depend on the overall look you are trying to achieve. You can find a wide colour range that suits your window frame choices.

Some popular bifold door colour choices include black, grey and white. The material of the bifold door frames can also dictate the colour.

Bifold Door Materials

The most common bifold door materials include:

  • Aluminum
  • uPVC
  • Wood

The materials of bi-fold doors will determine their appearance and lifespan.

Different materials may also require additional care, so this should be considered when picking a material.

Wooden exterior bifold doors are typically made from longer-lasting hardwood. This is seen as a more environmentally friendly option. It will also give your home an elegant and stylish finish.

The warranty you receive on your bifold doors will typically determine the minimum you can expect when you treat them well.

Well-maintained hardwood bifold doors will typically last as long as 30 years. However, this is only with regular maintenance.

Aluminium is a more expensive option but offers a range of great benefits.

The lightweight material is easy to install, which is a major benefit of fitting bifold doors, and comes in a range of styles.

On average, you could expect external aluminium bifold doors to last as long as 45 years. However, they are not as energy efficient as wood.

uPVC is the cheapest option and is perfect for people renovating on a budget.

While they may not look as high-quality as hardwood or aluminium, uPVC bifold doors are still a good option that can last as long as 25 years.

Design your door

Bifold Door Options

The colour and material of the bifolding doors will make a big difference to the look of your finished project.

Numerous configurations are available for bifold doors, so you can customise them to your own desires.

Bespoke configurations include installing a traffic door or choosing between a full glass panel or a section of panels. An 'urban status' door style includes multiple beams crossing the full panel. This results in a multi-window type style.

You will typically be able to choose between triple or double glazing.

This will also affect the overall cost of the project. However, triple or double-glazing offers greater energy efficiency, which can help reduce energy bills over time.

You will also have to consider fixtures such as door handles and locks. This will impact the finish and how secure your property is.

How Secure Are Bifold Doors?

Security should be a priority for anyone installing new exterior doors. Security fears about patio doors are, in many cases, well justified. This is why it's important you choose the correct locking mechanism for your exterior bifold doors.

3-Panel Black Aluminium Bifolding Door

Strengthened glass and multiple locking points will greatly increase the security of your home, and you can read more about bifold door security here in our guide.

Many break-ins are opportunistic. If a criminal spots a potentially easy way to enter a property, they may try their luck.

A high-quality locking mechanism on your door should be part of a wider security system.

An alarm that's easily visible will also deter many opportunists from making an attempt.

Securing your garden by investing in a good fence and gate will also minimise the risk of anyone attempting to enter the property.

Design your door

Are Bifold Doors Efficient?

The material and glass you use for exterior bifold doors will determine their energy efficiency.

They'll be designed to form a seal and protect your home from the elements. However, some materials perform better than others.

A thermal break in aluminium bifold door systems will minimise heat loss. At the same time, traditional hardwood frames are natural insulators.

Choosing Low-E (low emissivity) glass will help to insulate your home even more.

Double and triple glazing is well known for keeping the cold out. They also offer great sound-proofing qualities ideal for homes near high-traffic areas.

Low-e glass uses an ultra-thin, microscopic metal oxide coating, which helps to keep heat in the home.

The U-value of a window or door pane measures the overall heat loss and the heat loss rate. The lower the rate, the better, with the scale going from A (the best) to G (the worst).

The Benefits Of Bifold Doors

Bi-folding doors offer homeowners a range of benefits. Exploring these can help you determine whether they're the right choice for your property.

Bifold door benefits include:


Installing bifold doors in your home can help to increase the natural light. Like patio doors, they offer a vast, expansive window that looks out to your outside area and lets light flood your rooms.

Using internal bifold doors as room dividers is a great way to maintain high light levels while separating different areas.


High-quality bifold door installation will ensure your property is secure. Taking the time to explore different locking mechanisms will provide further peace of mind.

A multi-point locking system is recommended to help keep your bifold doors secure.

Great views

It also lets light in and allows you to look out over your garden. If you are fortunate enough to have great views from your home, this can make a huge difference to your quality of life and the value of your home.


Bi-folding doors look great. You can choose the materials that complement your home and ensure the style matches. They are a great way to make the property feel larger and airier.

Bifold doors work almost like a feature wall. Instead of a colourful paint or wallpaper design, you enjoy the outdoors!

Open plan

Opening internal and external bifold doors lets you enjoy an open-plan living space. This connects you with the outdoors, especially during the summer.

Wide range of configurations

Bespoke bifold door options allow you to create a truly unique living space. Enjoy your dream home by exploring the different materials, colours, and configurations to create the folding sliding doors that you want.

Design your door


Are bifold doors expensive?

Bifold doors can be an expensive option, depending on the material you choose and the number of panels required for the opening they will be fitted into.

However, one way of keeping the bifold door cost down is to ensure that if you have a choice of more or fewer panels, always choose to go with less.

For example, if you can have a 3m bifold door with 2 panels or 3 panels, it will cost you less if you choose the 2 panel option.

Are bifold doors in fashion?

Because bifold doors combine practicality with aesthetics, it is highly unlikely they will ever go out of fashion.

Homeowners can tailor the framework to their own desires. This means they can install bifold doors in a selection of styles or colours to match trends and existing windows.

Are bifold doors easy to install?

Bifold doors are typically straightforward to install. However, it is recommended that external bifold doors be installed by professionals. This is because they must ensure they can withstand the elements.

Internal doors have less at stake, and if you are confident in your abilities, you might want to consider installing them.

If you choose to install bifold doors, you must follow the manufacturers' guidelines and only use the provided parts. Failure to do this may void the warranty.

Can bifold doors be used as exterior doors?

Yes, bifold doors are excellent exterior doors. They seamlessly connect indoor and outdoor living spaces.

Aluminium 4-Panel Bifold DoorThey can also provide excellent energy efficiency and security.

Are bifold doors safe for pets and children?

Bi-folding doors are safe for kids and pets. They are designed using tough safety glass, and they also have child-safe roller mechanisms and hinges to prevent fingers from getting caught.

Do exterior bifold doors fold inside or outside?

External bifolding doors can be configured to open inside or outside. This will depend on the homeowner's preference.

It is more common to find outwards opening bifold doors. This maximises inside space and improves the flow from inside to outside.

This will typically be determined by the available inside or outside space where the doors will be.


Bifold doors are the perfect way to blend the boundaries of your indoor and outdoor living spaces. We sell a lot of bifold doors for extensions across the UK.

They're an excellent option for people hoping to enjoy a stylish and energy-efficient door system in their homes.

Multiple configurations allow you to personalise the style and functionality. You'll also be able to choose whether they fold outwards or inwards.

With such a great range of options and a long list of benefits, bifold doors are an excellent option that should be considered for any home.

Bifold doors cost varying amounts depending on several factors. The size of the project and the materials used will greatly affect the overall cost.

Design your door

Written by
Andy Brame
Andy Brame Senior Technical Manager
Posted on: 27th February 2024
Topic: Advice

Andy Brame is a seasoned senior technical manager with experience leading technical teams and driving innovation in the field. With a strong background in technology and a passion for problem-solving, Andy brings a unique blend of technical expertise and leadership to his role.

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