Bi Folding Doors: Which Material?

Bi folding doors make a great addition to a property. Also known as folding doors, they can fold in or out to open up a space and are a known way to add value to a home. They can be installed within the home, creating a seamless and stylish connection between rooms, but are also ideal as exterior doors leading into the garden.

In fact, bi folding French doors look stunning at the back of a property as they let in masses of light and can be completely pushed to one side, effortlessly connecting your interior and exterior spaces during those long summer days.

bi folding doors

They are designed to come in pairs, with two doors folding to one side or with four doors that split in the centre and have two doors folding back to each side. However, they can also be manufactured with an even or odd number of doors, sometimes referred to as multi-fold doors.

The beauty of bi folding doors lies in their ability to be fully opened, partially opened or totally closed; depending on the amount of space required. This means they can be custom designed to meet individual tastes and specifications.

There’s a big variety of styles available, so you can choose one that matches your existing interior or exterior look – everything from traditional period properties to modern builds. But once you’ve decided on bi-fold doors, how do you decide which material to choose? Here are the main materials and the pros and cons of each one, to help you do just that.

Timber bi folding doors

Top of the list of reasons to choose natural wood is its appearance; timber looks beautiful and can be finished in an extensive array of wood stains and colours.

Not only that, it’s also very practical. The wood used for quality bi-folds tends to be made from “engineered timber”. This means a range of different types of wood have been glued together in layers with polyurethane.

The product of this process is a material that’s less likely to be affected by weathering and general outdoor damage, making it ideal for exterior bi-folds. The polyurethane protects the wood from moisture too which makes it more resilient against the common problem of twisting and swelling due to the climate.

Engineered timber is more expensive but far less prone to common timber-related problems compared to its untreated alternative. Fixing non-engineered bi-fold doors will likely bring about more costly issues that must be tended to.

The biggest drawback when using timber is the higher levels of maintenance required, especially if they’ll be somewhere that receives long periods of intense sunlight. Many buyers see it as a worthy investment though.

Aluminium bi folding doors

The biggest advantage for aluminium is its strength. For bi folding doors, this means even narrow frames are strong enough to support the structure – resulting in very slim sight lines. This leaves maximum window space with very little structural impairment so you can enjoy brilliantly spacious views into your garden or the next room, with high levels of sunlight.

Aluminium is also more resistant to flexing compared to other materials, and is less likely to expand or contract in direct sunlight. Again, very little maintenance is needed.

However there are some drawbacks. Colours are limited to black and white or metallics, although these are stylish and versatile finishes that suit a variety of projects. The easy maintenance of aluminium bi-fold doors means that they can be a good value option in the long term but many prefer the classic design approach of timber.

Finishing touches

Bi-fold door design doesn’t end with your material choice – you’ll need to add complementing bi-fold door parts and these come in a number of styles and materials too.

If you’ve opted for classic timber for a period property, for example, you may want to further the look with traditional style handles in a brass finish.

Or perhaps you’ve decided to channel contemporary cool in which case your sleek aluminium bi-folds can be topped off perfectly with a modern, minimalist handle with a shiny brushed satin chrome finish.

It’s also vital to protect your home with reliable and secure locking systems. It’s possible to find locks that provide access from both inside and out, which is especially useful for configurations with no swing panel/access doors incorporated into the arrangement.

Eva Hines is a blogger who frequently writes on diverse niches like home décor, fashion, and design. You can connect with her on Twitter – @evaphines

Get quotes on the price of adding bi folding doors to your home from trusted carpenters in your area when you post a job in our Builders category.

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8 comments

  1. We are planning to carry out major works like extending the kitchen, loft conversation, new heating , new electrical wiring and other works. The planning consent has been obtained and want ideas about bil fold doors and kitchen.

    1. Hi Naren, we’ve just completed works similiar to what you’ve just described and would be happy to help with new ideals. We could also arrange for you to visit one of our jobs where we have just finished installing an amazing 5 metre wide bi fold door. Kind regards. Jean francois

  2. Just bought some origin bifold doors,fantastic
    What you shoul look for is the u value in the frame as well as the glass.the lower the better ,aluminium is a good choice, Id systems another good company
    And we only get one chance at this so its well worth doing your home work

  3. You have listed the finishes are limited with aluminium, I must disagree. There are over 250 RAL colours to choose from, so it is actually one of aluminium so benefits.

  4. My wife and I have been thinking about getting bifold doors for our back door, and I was curious about how you would choose the right material. I really like that you say that aluminium ones are actually more resistant to flexing! It would be nice to know that you won’t have to worry about the doors being bent because of moving them.

  5. I am wanting to have some bi-fold doors installed, that will lead out to our back deck. But I would like to know which material will be the best for us to use. It’s good to know that if we go with an aluminium material, that it will be something that will be able to support structure. That will be great since we will be able to use narrow frames if we so choose.

  6. I appreciate your information on bi-folding doors here. I like the sound of aluminum doors, since they are so strong. Our doors take a beating with our kids, so strength is super important.

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