Bifold doors used to be a novel, custom made luxury not so long ago. Fortunately, these days installing them at home is easy and not that expensive. Now, why would you do that? Here are the top five reasons for installing bifold doors in your house:
- Bifold doors may provide a vast door opening spanning several meters, unlike the rigid-frame French or patio doors;
- Bifold doors may be used in small areas where there is not enough room for the swing of a standard door;
- Bifold doors strongly enhance the luxury charm of any house. This is especially true for aluminium bifold doors;
- Bifold doors are the unbeatable solution for creating a seamless inside-outside atmosphere;
- Bifold doors provide remarkable U values, which is important for keeping the inside of your home well-conditioned and your electricity bills reasonable;
- Bifold doors offer the maximum possible natural light to enter your home, yet they are more compact compared to sliding doors;
- Brokers indicate that bifold doors in Sydney may increase the price of your property by as much as 10%, making it more desirable, more easily sold, and yes …. more expensive.
You are probably convinced that bifold doors are for you. Be careful, however. There are some things that you need to consider, prior to making the purchase. Only then will you be able to truly enjoy the full benefits of these doors.
Here is your buyer guide and what you need to check:
1. Insulation Performance
This will depend on the material of your door (aluminium, PVC or wood), the glass used, as well as the locking system. Thermal performance should be in compliance with your local building regulations. Hence you need to check that the bifold door, which you are about to buy lives up to your local standards.
Erroneously people think that bifold doors are easier on burglars. Actually, it is quite the opposite. Normally these doors will have a high-security locking system. However, there are yet some bifold doors offered on the market, which still use the old hinge system. The latter is a security threat, as the hinges may be removed from the outside.
Just be careful, and check the locking system. You need a high-security system where all hinges and the gearing system are fully concealed.
3. Glass Sightlines
The glass sightline is the window frame, which is visible when you look at the closed bi-fold window. Another way of saying it will be the thickness of the frame. This is important, as it will limit or not your visibility with the doors closed.
Most bifold doors will use special profiles aimed to reduce the sightlines. This is more easily achieved with aluminium doors. Timber and PVC tend to use more chunky material, which eventually will reduce the sightline.
What is also important to consider is that the sightlines on opposite panes are equal. This will provide for your home a balanced and proportionate appearance.
Whatever the case, just consider it and make an informed decision.
4. Hung Or Rolling
All bifold doors will have a mechanism on wheels to be utilised when the doors open or close. The possible alternatives for this are bottom rollers or hanging from the top.
The bifold doors with bottom rollers are better priced and hence a bit more popular. The lower price comes from the fact that the doors’ weight is rolling on the ground. This is more easily organised and cheaper to build.
The top hung bifold doors are suspended from the ceiling. As the door does carry some weight, this option may require strengthening of the lintel in order to carry the weight.
Normally buyers aim at flush thresholds. In this way, the inside-outside transition is much more seamless. As artistic as flush thresholds are, they may present a practical challenge in certain cases. This is especially true with dust and debris that can easily build up near the wheels of your bifold door. This may cause wind and rain leaks, as the door does not seal properly.
On the other side of the spectrum are PVC bifold doors which require a threshold topping 125 mm. These high step-over thresholds may prove to be an accessibility issue for kids or the disabled.
As always aim for a middle ground. Thresholds of 50 mm and below should provide the better of both worlds.
Today there is a wide selection of colours for bifold doors – browns, whites, blacks and stylish greys. However, be aware that the colours on your screen (if you are online shopping) or on the pages of the brochure, will never match the real thing. This may prove challenging upon installation. Make sure that you evaluate the actual colour of your bifold door to your home interior. This will prevent dissatisfaction or additional work later on.
Bifold doors are reasonably durable. Aluminium bifold doors carry are expected to have a life of 45 years. PWC doors have a slightly lower life expectancy of 25-35 years. Timber bifold doors will have an even shorter life or may require additional maintenance and varnish. Should longevity be high on your door agenda, aim for the aluminium.
8. One Setback
The bifold doors are a wonderful architectural decision for your space. However, there is one setback, which you need to be aware of. All brands of bifold doors acknowledge that they do not seal as well as sliding doors or stacked doors. What this means is that you need to evade mounting bifold doors in locations that are open to driven rain and strong winds.
Now you have it. You know the benefits of bi-folding doors. You also know what to look for, what to consider and what to evade. They are great for opening up wide spaces (up to 6 meters across). But they are also suitable for small spaces, where there may not be the option of allowing for the swing of a standard door. Either way, bi-folding doors are a great design attribute to your home.