Bifold doors are expensive but well worth the investment if you are considering renovations. Your house opens up to the garden and creates an amazing aesthetic when these doors are installed. It pays to exercise caution and care in a selection of the doors and consider various factors.
Price is not everything
The cheapest is not the best and the most expensive also is not necessarily the best. A Bifold door is not just panels put together; it is an entire system where design, engineering precision and choice of hardware plays an important in the door’s looks and performance just as much as the bifold door installation does. Buying a well known international brand with local support is a good option.
Material of door
Bifolds can have wood, steel, uPVC or aluminum section frames. Wood can obstruct the view and be heavy. uPVC material can flex and distort which will affect the working of the door and there is a size limitation as well. Steel can be heavy. Aluminum is the best material for sections. It is relatively stable and does not tend to distort with temperature variations. From the maintenance point too aluminum scores because powder coated or natural anodized aluminum does not need frequent paint or maintenance.
Top hung or bottom rolling?
Bifold doors are available as top hung or bottom rolling types. If a strong enough beam is present then the top hung type is best because it does not collect leaves and debris and the frame conceals the mechanism from view.
Hardware and installation
Hardware is complex with bifold doors and must be precision engineered from quality materials besides being fitted just right during installation. Improper alignment can affect performance and cause stress on frames besides making the door hard to open and close. Quality systems have wheels that run on flat tracks and pivoted end doors for smooth movement even when the jamb does not allow much adjustment. Bifold door installation is important too when it comes to getting the threshold right to prevent rain seepage and yet creating a smooth transition that does not cause one to stub one’s toes. Rain penetration is an important matter especially if the door is exposed. This is where the expertise of installer comes into play to provide a perfectly rebated rain-proof threshold. Security is another aspect to consider in the matter of bifold door hardware and a typical secure door would have multipoint locking system with shoot bolt for intermediate panels.
Single or double glazing
Energy conservation is important so double glazing is recommended. It will also provide some degree of acoustic insulation. Quality manufacturers provide U-values of 1.8w/sqmK or lower for such energy efficient bifold doors.
There are times when one may want an unimpeded view and there are times when one may want to shut out the light. Curtains are good but can impede the view. Venetian blinds that roll up all the way to the top may be ideal. If you choose a double glazed door then the blinds may be incorporated into the panels but at the cost of impeding the view. It is best to coordinate with the installer and clear this point as well before ordering a bifold door.