We explore the benefits of installing bifold doors within new developments and refurbishments.

Bifolding doors are the contemporary link between the inside and outside of your home meeting the 21st century “Inspirational Living “ concept and enhanced “lifestyle” that so many of us are looking to create.

The exterior wall to the garden as bifolding doors becomes a flexible and valuable feature that creates a number home lifestyle opportunities . If placed and installed correctly bifilding doors will meet that “wow” factor give that home style edge.

The bifold door market in the UK has seen considerable growth in recent years and this growth is predicted to continue. Bifolding doors are now a realistic alternative to patio sliding doors and French doors. More and more enquiries are now being received for bifolding doors to replace the more traditional patio sliding doors or French doors included in home estate developments.

With the anticipated continued popularity and growth within the consumer market property developers who choose bifolding doors over the more traditional sliding patio doors or French doors will immediately create that much sought after contemporary life style and edge . Furthermore with the guarantees given with the bifolding doors, particularly 20 years , it is accepted that real value is added to the build. The number of enquiries being received to replace the traditional patio sliding doors or French doors from householders living in developments built over the last 5 years supports the widely held view that consumers are aspiring to the flexible living that bifolding doors creates.

Bifolding Doors can be made from UPVC, Timber and Aluminium. However Aluminium bifolding doors are becoming the preferred consumer choice as accessibility to these doors has increased and todays household consumer is aware of the importance of reliability over a longer period.

Aluminium has greater strength like-for-like than UPVC and is lighter than Timber which enables a greater width and height opening for the doors and a wider glass door leaf. One UK designed, engineered and manufactured aluminium bifold door profile is able to fit a maximum opening of 9.6 metres, a maximum door leaf of 1.2 metres and offer the consumer a 20 year manufacturer’s warranty for real peace of mind.

As the market continues to grow delivery lead in times have significantly reduced with the manufacturers acknowledging the need to correctly service the requirements of their customers including their trade customers. Days of 6-8 weeks delivery lead in times are fading fast as lead in times continue to be drastically reduced. Manufacturing times on stock RAL colours and now as short as one day which in turn enables delivery within 3-5 working days. This significantly reduces the risk to the consumer and well as the installer as surveys can be undertaken when the opening is made and therefore the measurements can be exact and there is also a much smaller gap to cover the cost of manufacture prior to installation.

Consumers and trade (builders, window companies, installation etc) have different priorities and manufacturers have to continue to meet these separate priorities. Trade customers are primarily looking at delivery lead in times and ease of installation. Delivery lead times are reducing and manufacturers are constantly looking at ways to make installation easier and for the installation to be right to ensure faultless operation. This is being obtained by making available video instruction through “You Tube” and offering assist fits whereby a representative is present on site to guide the installation. With the ease of installation one “assist fit” should be enough!

Consumers are looking for the exterior wall to be replaced predominantly by glass so really bringing the outdoors in. Door configuration is vital and a consideration for this is door leaf width. There are aluminium bifolding doors in the market place that can take a maximum door width of 1.2 metres which means there will be circumstances where less doors are required than UPVC or Timber and therefore more glass. The most popular door configurations are 3, 4 and 5 door with the 3 and 5 doors folding one way with the first door being the traffic door.

Whilst thermal requirements as set under the current building regulations L1 and L2 are met manufacturers are striving to surpass these requirements. The best performance of aluminium bifolding doors with double glazing units is a certified U value of 1.67 and with Triple glazing a certified U value of 1.3.

Security is a vital consideration particularly given the stipulated requirements from the home insurance industry . You should have at least a 5 point multi-point locking system as well anti drill cylinders

There is a wide choice of colours and again with Aluminium bifolding doors you can choice from the entire RAL colour range – 300 colours. In addition wood structure or woodgrain colours are also offered. However our experience is that the white, black and grey shades and woodgrain are the most popular.

Manufacturer Guarantees are available and you should expect at least 10 years although one UK manufacturer currently offers 20 years on their aluminium bifold door profile.

Recent installations have been within extensions where the wall to the garden is effectively being a set of bifolding doors. The doors are viewed as a feature. We have also been approached to replace existing French doors with a set of bifolding doors which will involve increasing the aperture so enabling our customer to watch the Olympics from the garden!

The scope for bi folding doors is endless and we are currently in discussions with a company that builds garden rooms to be used in private houses as well as commercial ventures.

This article originally appeared in housebuilder & developer.

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