origin bi folding doors Experts in London
Aluminium is a fabulous, highly durable, low maintenance material. It is available in a vast range of colours, wood effect and metallic finishes. It needs only to be washed occasionally to keep it clean and looking new.
Aluminium is less expensive than timber options, but some London properties – especially period and listed properties where existing fenestration is traditional – may not be entirely suited to aluminium or even meet planning guidelines.
PVCu is the least expensive option. It is available in a range of colours and finishes, but responsible bifold door manufacturers would not recommend anything other than a standard white PVCu finish. This is because colour and finishes can cause instability to this material when in conjunction with the movement of the bifolding door.
PVCu is easy to maintain, does not last as long as aluminium, but will still look beautiful after several years. Good quality, modern PVCu can complement white timber windows and doors very well.
Timber bifolding doors in London can be built in hardwood or in laminated (engineered) timber. Engineered timber is designed to outlast other timber products as it is formed from layer upon layer of hardwood, preventing water from becoming trapped within the wood where it can causing twisting and shrinking and eventual damage. The fold and slide nature of bifolding doors means that they are highly sensitive to any alteration of shape and weight distribution and this will result in stress on the gearing, poor performance and eventual breakdown.
In South facing, exposed or coastal areas laminated timber is recommended over hardwood for this reason. All timber bifold doors can be factory painted in an infinite range of colours and this should assure a guarantee of long durability of the finish and low maintenance.
BIOFOLD Opening Configurations
A flexible supplier of bespoke doors in London will be able to offer all possible configuration options to suit your aperture, but there will be technical limitations. Each panel has to be attached to the track, which affects which doors can be free one side to open. Options can include a single opening door at either end or anywhere it makes physical sense along the track. It is possible to use two of the doors as french doors in the conventional way whilst the remainder of the panels are closed as long as there are enough panels.
Size and Number of Bifolding Panels
Panel size is dictated by material and is essentially weight related. Once glazed, these doors are very heavy and too much weight can affect their performance. If narrow, the panels will become too bulky to fold and slide and will be cumbersome when stacked away.
The standard maximum width of an aluminium bifold door is 1000mm and there are height restrictions which, if exceeded, may cause issues and customers will be expected to sign a disclaimer. PVCu may be lighter than aluminium, but because it is not as strong, a good bifolding door company will ensure that all of its PVCu bifolds are reinforced with steel, thus making it heavier.
The number of panels a door comprises should be flexible if custom built. Generally, however, fewer panels in a door makes for better visibility. In addition, the price per square metre increases in line with the number of panels owing to the additional material, engineering, hinges, security and thermal requirements.
Gearing quality is critical to door durability and performance. Unfortunately, it is also the feature you may not be able to qualify yourself. For this reason, if you do not know of a bifold door specialist, it is recommended that you use either a reputable company experienced in supplying bifold doors or a reliable builder or architect to specify the door. Choosing a product on price frequently leads to disappointment.
All bifold doors are most weatherproof when incorporating a normal threshold – no matter what manufacturers say to the contrary. By its very nature, a low threshold bi-folding door is subject to some water and draught ingres in severe conditions. Low thresholds are fabulous for disabled access and level access to, for example, a garden, but consider your property’s aspect, your geographical location and local weather patterns before making a decision. And as an extra precaution, lay water resistant flooring immediately inside a low threshold.
Bifold Doors Glazing
Glazing should be 28mm K glass or equivalent and is always double glazed. It can be obscured if required, self-cleaning and have heat resistant film applied if in direct sunlight. Increasingly popular are internal blinds which are very attractive, but which are new on the market and have no history on which to stake their durability.
What Are Bi-Fold Doors?
As with most reasonably large property expenditure, a bifold door normally a one-off purchase. The technical detail is likely to leave the average consumer confused, so what is involved in choosing a bifold door that will allow you to enjoy your home more, will be versatile, and will look and function beautifully for many, many years?
Below are some tips on what to consider, but we suggest you look for a bi folding door specialist to supply and fit your door who will perform a survey before building your door and give you any advice you need. Should you decide to use your builder or a professional fitter, they should take responsibility for the precise measurements and ancillary requirements for the door. In unskilled hands, these doors are likely to produce problems so an experienced installer should be used. However, you may well prefer to perform your own research and we hope that these tips prove useful.
Essential Considerations • Which material - aluminium, PVCu or timber products • Configuration options - how should it fold and open • Size and number of panels • Glazing - for thermal, privacy and appearance • Threshold Options - for accessibility and weatherproofing • Trickle Vents - for ventilation and to meet building standards • Gearing - for smooth operation and high performance • Cill and Drainage - are they necessary for your project
Overview - Clearly bifolding doors are not a cheap alternative to the traditional sliding door, but what are the real gains in making the extra investment. The most apparent is the fact that folding sliding doors are fully retractable. The commonly known French door is just a permutation of a bifolding door and most bifolding door manufacturers will be able to make their system into a french door. A French door is a double pane system which opens in the middle so the both leafs are fully open and set at right angles to the track. They have been very popular over the years and can allow for an elegant opening mechanism with great clear glass views. Please find the strengths and weaknesses of the bifolding door below.
Bifolding Door - Strengths
Fully retractable door panels
Choice of Aluminium and UPVC frames
Up to 10 metres wide
Add value to any home
Choice of over 400 RAL colours (Aluminium frames)
Up to 40 opening options
Well tested and regulated products
Bifolding Door - Weaknesses
More expensive than traditional alternative
UPVC frames can contract due to weather conditions
Must be installed with precision
UPVC frames are weak and are not capable of reaching widths more than 6 metres
Bi-Folding Doors - The Benefits of Using Them
Bifold doors have much greater flexibility than sliding patio doors or French doors. They can be fully opened, completely closed, or partially opened depending on the amount of space required. Their ability to connect the inside to the outside is unsurpassed. For example they allow the whole of the back wall of a house to open out onto the garden.
Doors are available in a range of materials including PVCU, aluminum, timber and aluminum-clad timber. The latter, although expensive, allows hardwearing aluminum on the outside and an attractive wooden finish on the inside. PVCU doors are usually the cheapest option but are limited in colours (white). Aluminum doors can be powder coated so are available in almost any colour or finish. Timber doors are usually made of hardwood or laminated timber. The latter is essential if the door were in a South facing, exposed or coastal position. In that location environmental extremes would cause hardwood doors to warp and malfunction. Any reputable bi fold door manufacturer will advise you of the best choice for your situation.
When choosing bifolding patio doors it is essential that you select ones that are constructed to the latest regulations. They must be completely weather proof in even the harshest conditions. The glazing must also be optimised to give the best thermal insulation. Other considerations are the size and number of panels, how these panels can be configured, the type of door threshold and the location of trickle vents. Quality gearing is also essential if you want smooth and durable door performance.
These kinds of doors are becoming more and more widely shown in the media. They are often seen in home renovation or remodelling TV shows to provide that elusive wow factor. Their versatility in configuration and availability in various materials make Bifold doors a tempting option for anyone considering installing or upgrading a traditional patio door.