Make certain you get the right bi-folding door configuration for your property

The clue is in the name, yet so many double glazing customers get into hot water when looking at fitting bi-folding and sliding doors to either an existing opening, new builders opening or to an extension.

The key thing with bi-folding doors is to remember that each “pair” of bi-folds, opens and closes in tandem, so cannot operate as individual sections, they are in-effect one. As these two folding door sections are inextricably linked, no pair of bi-folding doors can therefore accommodate a normal door handle, nor can one of these two sections operate as a travel door without the other opening or closing at the same time. Consequently, if you want to have a single travel door as part of your bi-folding door configuration, you need to have an odd number of sections, namely 3, 5 or 7 panes etc.

Bi-Folding and Sliding Doors, Conservatories and Orangeries On Display in Hazlemere Windows Showroom
Bi-Folding and Sliding Doors, Conservatories and Orangeries On Display in Hazlemere Windows Showroom

Only high quality bi-folding doors will last regular use, as they are highly technical (and yes, expensive!) pieces of kit, so it is vital when purchasing double glazed bi-folding doors, to invest wisely in robust enough products that will still be operational in 10 years time when the guarantee runs out and the homeowner is left to foot the bills for all the call-out charges, parts and labour to get the folding doors operational and secure again.

Consequently, it is worth asking yourself why some established UK independent double glazing manufacturers and installers who supply and fit aluminium and UPVC front doors, back doors, French doors and sliding patio doors in both aluminium and UPVC, refuse to touch UPVC bi-folding doors. Could it be they are not fit for purpose? As a material UPVC flexes, so is not the ideal product to use for bi-folding doors that need to operate rigidly, as one, and not be in any danger of popping out of alignment. High quality double glazed aluminium bi-folding doors not only offer better security than plastic dual folding doors, but tend to have slimmer profiles, so are aesthetically more pleasing and deliver more glass and daylight.

The optimum number of sections for a bi-folding door for each particular property is really determined by the size of the aperture and how often these folding and sliding double glazed doors will be used. If you are looking for all the sections to slide in one direction, then a 3, 5 or 7 section door will deliver a travel door with a normal door handle. The problem with 2, 4 or 6 section bi-folds doors is they cannot have a normal door handle, so are unable to fold up together properly, and therefore are more limited in their operation.

Finally, some bespoke aluminium bi-folding door systems allow for one single section at one end to swing open, allowing say a 3 section sliding and folding door to butt up to this, enabling the property to have a travel door, pair of French door and bi-folding doors all in one configuration of  3 linked sections and one independent swinging open section. Think carefully whether you want your bi-folding doors to a) open to the left or to the right, b) fold inwardly or outwardly and c) have a standard or low threshold. Take your time and ask an expert for a demonstration of whichever bi-folding double glazed product you are considering before committing to a purchase, as not getting it right first time could be a very costly mistake.

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