Nowadays, two of the most popular patio door options are bifold doors and sliding doors. If you’re looking for ways to bring in more light to your home and improve access to an outdoor space like a patio, then both of these doors are good options. Here we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of Bifold vs. Sliding doors. We’ll describe what they are exactly and how you choose the best option for your home.
WHAT IS A BIFOLD DOOR?
Similar to the way an accordion works, bifold doors fold in on themselves as you open them. When you slide them open, the door panels fold in. They are installed on a track, and they involve multiple glass panes. There are other names for bifold doors. People call them glass walls, folding glass doors, and accordion doors. The size of the opening where they are installed defines the number of glass panes required.
WHAT IS A SLIDING DOOR?
When opening sliding doors, one panel slides behind the other to allow for access instead of the separate panels folding in on themselves. Sliding doors are often called gliding patio doors, and the sliding doors are also installed on a track.
Let’s see how they compare.
If you have a large wall and you would like to convert it to an outdoor opening, then bifolds are an excellent option. With bifold doors, you will be able to improve traffic flow between your indoor and outdoor areas and create a wide access point to your outside space. Bifold doors bring a lot of light into your home, allow for a more open feel and also create dramatic views of the outside.
Generally, sliding doors are cheaper than bifold doors. Door frames, a series of glass panels, a sliding track, and other factors contribute to the price. There are multiple materials needed to install bifold doors, and the installation process is relatively complex. The size of the opening you’re filling will also determine the total price of bifold doors. The average bifold door panel can be anywhere from 9-to-18 feet wide, so a complete bifold door system can get quite pricy.
Sliding doors generally do a much better job at keeping unwanted heat or cold from entering the home or escaping it. Bifold doors are also designed to protect against the elements, but there is a greater chance of heat and cold entering and escaping since bifold doors are comprised of several folding panels.
Both bifold doors and sliding doors will generally complement a more contemporary style home because they feature a modern look. With a stronger use of things like farmhouse handles and wooden frames, and with some additional cost, both types of doors can be custom-designed to align with more traditional homes as well.
When it comes to how you want to configure them, bifold doors can be very flexible and versatile. You can select which direction the doors open (in or out), get multiple panels, and choose from a variety of door frame materials. The design options include uPVC, aluminum, or wood frames. Some bifold door manufacturers will allow you to opt for integrated blinds and other built-in window treatments.
Imagine if you are not restricted by your budget; rather than operating them manually, you can even opt for motorized bifold doors that you can open and close remotely.
Bifold doors can be designed where the top of the track rests level with the floor, making for a seamless transition. This is the best option if you’d like or require an even transition from inside to outside. For homes and spaces where you don’t need to travel over a threshold bifold may be your best option. However, a no-threshold design is recommended for covered areas because water can more easily enter your home if the exterior isn’t sloped away. So in case you want to take water draining into account, then consider utilizing a threshold. It will involve a small step but will provide more protection against the elements.
Depending on door size, sliding doors can offer expansive views and good access between inside and outside. But you still may end up with a more solid wall within the room than you have with bifolds. That’s because sometimes, when the sliding doors are open, their configuration can obstruct views. Once the sliding door is open, the central frame will obscure the view a bit since sliding doors work by having one glass panel slide behind or in front of the other.
However, don’t forget that due to the different panel sections, bifold doors have obstructed views when closed, so you will need to analyze what works best for your home and decide which one better meets your needs.
Typically, bifold doors will cost more than sliding doors. There are many sliding door styles that are available to purchase without needing any customization. However, you will get the best results with the custom-ordered sliding doors. The size of the doors, where it is being installed and the frame material will determine the cost of the sliding doors.
Sliding doors consist of overlapping panels that form a solid barrier when closed, so compared to the bifold doors, they will do a better job of keeping the heat in your home. Bifold doors, by design, have more openings and so more potential for air to leak in and out.
Any type of home will look good with a brand new sliding patio door. It can be effortless for the sliding doors to meld themselves into the background of your home because they generally take up less visual space than bifolds. Sliding doors usually come in white vinyl, but if you choose, you can make them your own with aluminum, wood, or fiberglass.
Sliding door configurations limit your options compared to bifolds. You pretty much have two choices: both doors can slide out from the center over fixed panels, or one door can slide over the other.
It is not possible to make sliding doors with a seamless threshold like bifold doors. You will need to step over at least a small lip that is a required track for the doors. But that can be an advantage because the lip can help protect against things like water seeping into your home during heavy rains and other elements.
Are you thinking about doing a home remodel and aren’t sure where to start? We’re happy to discuss your project. Simply schedule a conversation with Family Home Improvements! Contact us today, call (562) 464-0684.