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When extending your home, a large patio door, is high on your list, bringing lots of daylight into your new kitchen or living room and open plan area. Both bifolding or sliding doors provide security, weather protection and lots of advantages, but they look and work differently. We give you our tips and advice to help you choose the best product for you.

Understanding how bifolding or sliding doors work.

bifolding or sliding doors

Bifolding doors consist of two or more panels hinged together to fold and slide along their track. When fully open, bifolding doors stack on one or two sides, outside or inside your room.

Bifolding doors are generally the same when it comes to how they open with all the leaves connected together. Alternatively, our own frameless slide and stack doors have independent panels, working in an altogether different way to bifolding doors.

Sliding doors work within a frame with one, two or more tracks with the panels sliding in one or two directions. When open these don’t take up any space outside or inside the room.

The opening method of sliding doors comes in two types. Inline is the familiar method where you unlock the door and slide where you need it to go. Lift and slide doors offer the latest operating method.

Lift and slide doors work with a multi-functional door handle. To open the door, you rotate the handle and the panel lifts off the track ready to slide. The main benefit of lift and slide is it lets you secure the door in the open position. Slide the door partially open, rotate the handle the other way, and the door sets back down on the track and stays in place – ideal for partial ventilation without anyone opening the door from outside.

For new extensions, both bifolding and sliding doors come with the open corner design. The Origin OB-72 model is one of the best open corner bifolds on the market. We also have a range of sliding doors also available with the open corner design, but remember the building work needs to take the weight of the roof, not the doors.

Reasons to choose a bifolding door

Bifolding doors have the advantage of fully opening with about 95% clear opening. Therefore, if you want to open up the entire wall, a bifold will give you this functionality.

The other benefit of bifolding doors is you can configure them to open in or open out, slide to the left or to the right. This will also depend on the number of panels. Generally speaking an even number of door panels can only open and fold in one direction. Odd numbers have more flexibility.

If a bifold is the only back door in your home or you need regular all-year-round garden access for taking out the washing or letting out a pet, consider having a traffic door. A traffic door is one leaf, working just like a hinged door, enabling easy entry and exit without having to fold all the panels back every time.

The other advantage to having a bifold is matching the door profiles to other new single or French doors in the home. With most brands, we can create side doors or double doors with the same look as your bifolds – something you can match with a sliding door.

bifolding or sliding doors

Reasons to choose a sliding door.

A sliding door is all about the larger glass panels and reduced visible aluminium. Some doors like the Dutemann Glide S go up to 6.4m wide with just two panels.

Sliding doors give you the best possible views too. So if you’re in the Kent, Surrey or Sussex countryside or have a coastal property, even a large garden, there’s no better door to enjoy the views.

It’s also worth considering that you’ll only ever get half or two thirds opening as the doors need to rest on one side, stacked together. Generally this isn’t a major issue although in new extensions you can get doors that slide into the wall pocket, disappearing from sight.

Common features of both bifolding and sliding doors

If you want level floors with external decking or slabs, this is possible with both types of doors.

Bifolding doors come with a standard or low threshold option, although the latter is more for internal use such as room dividers. Sliding door low thresholds are also achievable. We work with your builder or architect ensuring the drainage and door aperture are correct for the perfect end result.

For security, you’ll find both door types with multi-point locks, high security cylinders, internal glazing beads and other protection features. Weather performance is also excellent with products tested to the latest performance standards, protecting your home all year round.

And of course, being aluminium you get the full range of over 150 different colour giving you exactly the look and feel you want in your home.

Planning a new extension? Talk to us today

At FGC Bespoke aluminium we use the best systems from Origin, Dutemann, Smart Systems and other brands giving you some of the best sliding and bifolding doors with excellent security, energy efficiency and weather protection.

Above all our doors offer the perfect solution for your new extension or if you’re thinking of replacing your dated patio doors. Get in touch with us to discuss your requirements or visit our Kent Showroom.