Bi-fold vs sliding doors – which are better and why?

Bi-fold vs sliding doors – which are better and why?

Bi-Folding Door Installation in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, by Dortech Architectural Systems Ltd

Bi-fold vs sliding doors – which are better and why?

Believe it or not, there’s a big debate about door types. Both the bi-fold and sliding varieties are highly sought after – not just because of their modern appearance, but because they allow homeowners and business owners alike to maximise space, views and natural light.

When contemplating whether to invest in one or the other, it’s not just the aesthetic you need to think about, but also practicality and whether they’re the right choice for the environment in which they’re being placed.

Our team of maintenance professionals are a dab-hand at installing and servicing both door varieties, and when asking them which they think is ‘best’, they didn’t have one outright preference. Instead, they explained that suitability is on a case-by-case basis.

So, the answer to the above question is that it really depends on where you’re going to put them – because space is a crucial determining factor.

The lowdown on sliding doors

The clue’s in the name with this one – this kind of door opens sideways, with the glass panels gliding behind one another. But what does this mean in terms of whether it’s the right choice for you? Well, space-saving is the main advantage that springs to mind!

Due to their sleek design, sliding installations are best for apartments or small offices – where square footage is limited and there isn’t enough room for bi-folds.

Automated sliding door installation by Dortech Architectural Systems Ltd

One crucial point to also bear in mind is that sliding doors don’t allow for a fully open aperture – you can typically expect them to expose just under 50% of the space, depending on the style and configuration.

However, if views are of pivotal importance to you, one of the key benefits with these units, when closed is they let in more natural light – and the vista is less fragmented – than using bi-fold doors with individual framed glass panels. In essence, sliding doors feature larger expanses of glass and the scenery is less compromised.

Sliding Patio Door Installation at Kings Dock Mill, Liverpool, by Dortech Architectural Systems Ltd

But what about bi-folds?

The popularity of bi-folds has greatly increased over the past few years – mainly because the concertinaed glass panels offer a real wow-factor in large, open environments. And, the great thing is that you can choose whether they open inwardly or outwardly – meaning there’s less restriction when it comes to manoeuvring around a home or office furniture.

However, consideration must be given to the floor space taken up by the door leaves when in a fully open position, as this can cause problems when it comes to positioning larger items of furniture – such as tables and chairs. Ideally, these fixtures should be situated a door-width away from the face of the bi-folding door – especially in instances where the doors have inward-facing hinges.

Aluminium Bi-Folding Door installation, at Oswestry Leisure Centre, by Dortech Architectural Systems Ltd

Reiterating the importance of space, these types of doors are best for extensions or larger offices, because you can have up to seven different panels spanning the room. However, it’s worth raising that this kind of unit requires more maintenance than its sliding counterpart – simply due to the greater volume of moving parts involved.

In reality, both style variations offer an attractive, safe and robust door option. But, it’s important to appreciate that while aluminium doors rarely fail, their functionality is often taken for granted – with few people thinking about their maintenance. No matter which one you’re leaning towards, this should always be a crucial component in ensuring your door’s longevity!

Aluminium Bi-Folding Door and glazed rooflight installation by Dortech Architectural Systems Ltd

If you’d like to find out more about the door installation and maintenance services we offer, take a look on our website or contact our friendly team on 01484 451177.