If you are thinking about improving your home, you may be comparing sliding doors with bifold doors and French doors. The right choice of door impacts the space in your home, access inside and out as well as how you use it. Furthermore, if you are renovating your home to sell on, the style and type of door could even affect its value or desirability to prospective buyers.
Comparing sliding doors with other types of patio doors.
In choosing the best door for your home, there are several things to consider between the main types of doors.
- What is the difference between bifolding, sliding and French Doors?
- What are the pros and cons of each door type?
There are many different materials for doors in your home, however for large doors such as sliding doors and bifolds, aluminium is the preferred choice. Aluminium enables slimmer doors with no loss of strength or structural integrity. For French doors, aluminium again enables bigger doors removing the need to reduced doors with side panels and top panels in larger openings.
What type of doors offer the best views?
The latest trend in home renovations and extensions is maximising light and maximising the view. With this in mind, it is common to see modern extensions featuring large glazed areas on one or more sides. Often doors combine with a lantern roof or skylights to bring even more light into the home. Doors can also play a part in how much light they let into your home and the views provided.
- French doors are typically just two doors. Some French doors can accommodate structural openings of 2.4m x2.4m without side or top panels. This is typically the biggest size possible with French Doors. You can design your doors to open in or out. Low thresholds are also available.
- Bi-folding doors can span 8 metres or more. Bifolding doors features multiple panels that slide and fold back to one or both sides, completely opening up the aperture. Bifolding doors can be as big as 1.2m wide up to 3m in height, per door panel. Bifolding doors are desirable because they open up virtually the entire structural opening.
- Sliding doors are available from two up to six sliding panels. How sliding doors open the aperture depend on the configuration and number of tracks. The biggest doors can be up to 9m2 per panel. Some sliding doors slide apart, others side behind each other to then side. You can expect a half or two thirds opening with most sliding door styles. Sliding doors are desirable for their very large glass panels giving great views when closed.
What type of doors provide the best views?
- Bifolding doors. The best views with the doors open.
- Sliding doors. The best views with the doors closed.
- French doors. Great for smaller structural openings.
French doors, sliding doors and folding doors will be better than windows for maximising the view. However bifolding and sliding doors will offer the best view outdoors.
Bifolding doors. Pros and Cons.
Bifolding doors are ideal for opening up your home in the summer, enabling a glorious open aspect and barrier free entry to your garden. They are very much an extension of your inside space giving you the best views when open.
In the closed position a bifolding door will break up your view because of the many panels closed together. While most bifolding doors are slimline, you will get an appearance of vertical mullions when looking out through your doors. Despite this, bifolding doors are hugely popular with homeowners.
Another great feature of bifolding doors is the ‘traffic door’. A traffic door works as an independent hinged panel. It opens and closes just like a normal door. Therefore you get in and out through the doors without having to fold the panels back every time.
Sliding doors. Pros and cons.
Sliding doors provide great engineering, being very advanced products today. Sliding doors give you a fantastic glass wall in your home. In the closed position nothing beats a sliding door for the best views. Sliding door panels can be up to 3 times the width and over 50% taller than bifolding doors.
When you want to open your sliding doors they won’t open up the entire wall like a bifold. So with a sliding door you will always lose a portion of your available opening for the doors to slide to. There are ways around this. If you are building a new extension it is perfectly possible for sliding doors to feature extended tracks and frames enabling each sliding panel to disappear into the walls, albeit more complicated and more expensive than a standard installation.
Other than less available space with fully open doors, sliding doors also have other considerations. Large sliding doors may need specialist handling and transportation and especially if these are required about ground floor level. Talk to us and we can advise you further on how we fit large glass doors. Finally, sliding doors don’t offer the convenience of the traffic door found in a bifold. However, modern engineering and sophisticated components mean that even the biggest heaviest doors are effortless to slide.
French Doors. Pros and Cons.
If you are restricted by property style, French doors are popular. They are ideal for cottages, terraced houses or to blend in with traditional features. French doors come fully glazed, with decorative bars, midrails and other options in their design.
French doors will be the cheapest option but can only open up the opening as far as the doors, and their hinges will allow.
How much space do aluminium doors take up?
It is essential to understand that the hinged, sliding or folding action of French doors, sliding doors and folding doors take up different amounts of space in the home.
French doors hinge and will take up space outside if they open out or inside if they open in. How far French doors open will depend on how you fix the doors to the brickwork and the capacity of the door hinges. You can expect a typical French door to open just beyond 90 degrees.
Sliding doors take up the least amount of space because they have no hinges. This makes them ideal for smaller patios, balconies or as a solution where you don’t want to lose any space with a fully open door.
Bifolding doors will take up the most amount of space, however the folding action of these doors means space is taken up on one part of the overall opening. It is important to consider the width of your door panels when configuring your doors. The wider the panel, the more space it takes up when folded back. Contact us and we can advise you further on what is the best panel size for your bifolding doors.
Low threshold options with aluminium doors.
In deciding on the best type of door, it is worth thinking about threshold levels and their relationship with your inside flooring or carpet and outside decking or slabs.
The threshold detail varies significantly on French, sliding and folding doors. French doors are the simplest as the doors are hinged and sit above the threshold rather than resting on it. French doors will have the same threshold as the rest of the frame. Some doors are available with a ramp type low threshold too.
Sliding doors are not available with low thresholds but can sit lower in the floor. Contact us and we will explain what is involved.
Bifolding doors offer the biggest choice of threshold options with standard, low and ultra-low thresholds available, all with different levels of weathering. The low threshold capability of bifolding doors also makes them ideal as interior folding room dividers as well.
The best range of aluminium doors available at Open Living.
At Open Living we have the finest range of doors including sliding, folding and French Doors. With top brands from Origin and Schuco as well as brand new slimline sliding doors, we are confident of transforming your home with exactly the right door.
Contact us today for further information or visit our showroom.