Bifolding Doors vs Sliding Doors

Bifolding Doors vs Sliding Doors

Whether they are bifolding or sliding, glass doors are some of the most popular features in modern homes and in remodel projects. Manufacturers have taken doors that used to be reserved for commercial spaces and made them small enough, lightweight enough, and strong enough to be used in our homes. Both bifolding and sliding doors have many positive qualities, we'll compare them in this post.

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Bifolding Doors vs Sliding Doors

You can't confuse bifolding doors with sliding doors but we'll describe how they compare in construction and operation in this section.

Bifolding doors fold against themselves like accordions. Hinges connect between two and seven panels, and they move along a track. They're excellent at drawing your attention to your patio's entrance and the scenery outside the doors. Bifold exterior doors are similar to folding closet doors and room dividers but they're bigger and heavier. They also look more refined and are ideal for people who enjoy entertaining guests and want a grand opening between indoor and outdoor spaces.

When you open bifold doors, the panels fold against each other until they collapse at the end of the track. Inswing doors fold to the indoor side of the track, and outswing doors fold and stack outside your home to maximize the amount of indoor space available. Some bifold doors include a standard door at one end to make going in and out easier.

Sliding doors use two or more large panes of glass that slide sideways to the end of a frame. The panes of glass fit behind each other, and they can be larger than the ones in bifold doors, giving you a more unobstructed view.

Sliding and bifold doors cost about the same amount if the panes of glass stay small. However, with larger panes of glass, sliding doors will be more expensive. The frame material you choose influences price as well. For either type of door, you can choose wood, composite or engineered wood made from small pieces glued together, uPVC, or aluminum. Aluminum is usually the most costly, and uPVC is the least expensive.

The Pros and Cons of Bifold Doors

According to Grand Designs Magazine, bifold doors can open up to 90% of the area they cover. This makes them ideal for small spaces as well as larger ones. With many bifold doors, you can open almost an entire wall in your home to the outside. Bifold doors also work better for creating a level threshold, so there’s no lip for guests to trip over. They’re also more convenient for wheelchair users. With a custom design, you can use bifold doors to create impressive curves and even go around corners.

Pros of Bifolding Doors
  • When open, bifold doors offer uninterrupted panoramic views
  • Ideal for properties built for indoor-outdoor living
  • Increasingly popular in traditional properties
  • Becoming more widely available
  • Customizable in color, size, hardware, and operation
Cons of Bifolding Doors
  • When closed, the panels do obstruct the view despite allowing lots of light in
  • High-quality doors are more expensive than sliding doors and french doors
  • Doors need to be installed by trained professionals
  • Some bifolding doors have drainage problems

The Pros and Cons of Sliding Doors

Conventional sliding doors can usually only open about 65% to the left or right. Pocket doors that slide into hidden alcoves within walls can help, but you won’t be able to place as much insulation within those walls.

If you don’t need the doors to fully open or you don’t have the space for bifold doors, sliding doors are a great choice. They’re easy to open and close, and they can work well with a variety of architectural styles. Standard sliding doors have two panels, but three-and four-panel options are available. Sliding doors also give you more flexibility to open them all the way or just a few inches.

Pros of Sliding Doors
  • Sliding doors offer excellent views even when closed
  • 2-panel and 4-panel sliding doors are available in thin frames giving you grander views
  • Available in a wider range of sizes, prices, and customizations
Cons of Sliding Doors
  • Configuration options are more limited than in bifolding doors
  • Unless it's a pocket sliding door, the door panels will always be visible

To learn more about the types of patio doors available and get a free estimate, contact us at Brennan. We carry patio doors from top vendors, and we would love to help you with your project. We’re a family business that’s been open since 1979, and we approach every project with compassion, care, and precision.

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