Bi-folding Doors vs Sliding Doors: Differences and Benefits

Choosing the right door and configuration for your project is essential. Especially if you want to meet client expectations, provide lasting value to a property, and avoid costly mistakes and alterations.

Sliding doors and bi-fold doors both offer many design and functional advantages. From panoramic views to excellent thermal efficiency, they are customisable and enhance a space architecturally.

However, there are some drawbacks to each product, but what are they? What are the pros and cons of each one? Don’t worry, we’ve put a handy guide together with all the information you need.

We take a look at:

Bi-folding Doors Pros and Cons

Pros

Thermal performance

Bi-fold doors offer exceptional levels of thermal performance in comparison to sliding doors of equivalent size. Aluminium bi-fold doors manufactured and fitted by a reputable supplier will achieve U-Values as low as 1.19 W/m2K when calculated as a CEN Standard door. 

In particular, PURe® doors deliver exceptionally high levels of thermal protection. PURe® utilise an integrated thermal break manufactured from expanded polyurethane (PUR). This advanced technology creates a protective layer, preventing any conductive heat loss. 

Bi-fold doors meet current and future building regulations and energy efficiencies standards whilst also providing optimal performance and sleek aesthetics. A double or triple glazed finish is available too. This enhances the thermal and acoustic insulation levels of the door whilst contributing to the excellent performance levels overall.

Versatility and bespoke configurations

Your clients like options – and bespoke configurations are always a good selling point. After all, you want to be able to meet demand, whilst also providing the most accurate and impressive outcome.

Depending on the manufacturer and supplier you choose, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Bi-fold doors are customisable and come in a range of configurations to suit all demands and expectations. 

They can suit a range of setups, preferences, apertures, and colour preferences. Double glazing, triple glazing, dual or singular colourway, threshold customisations and more.

Practicality

Bi-folding doors are compact and offer a crucial advantage to properties that require space-saving solutions without compromising the aesthetic appearance and product performance. 

A bi-fold door slides and folds simultaneously into a concertina compact storage unit. They don’t restrict any entranceway or impact any panoramic views. In fact, they open up a space and provide excellent access to the outdoors.

To improve functionality, some designs include a traffic door. This incorporates a conventional swinging door into a bi-fold configuration. These are used for quick access regularly, without having to move and fold the leaves every time access to the outdoors is needed. 

sliding doors do have limitations. Once opened, they only offer limited access to the outdoors, and they don’t fold away. Some sliding door options only open with half or two-thirds clear opening – restricting access to the outdoors.

Cons

Cost

Precision engineered and high-quality performance, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that bi-fold doors are significantly higher in price than sliding doors.

If you choose a reputable and expert supplier and manufacturer, you’ll get what you pay for. Aluminium bi-fold doors are built to last, and they require minimal maintenance. With that said, it’s worth shopping around and seeing the different prices on offer – even if your clients are operating under a small budget.

Aluminium bi-fold doors are an investment and can increase the overall value of a property. One of the selling points of bi-folds is that they last up to 40 years! This is incredible. So, although the price point is higher, it’s worth outlining the priorities and expectations alongside budgets.

Access and traffic doors

Although it’s not a big flaw in the design, it could still cause significant issues and be a deciding factor in choosing bi-fold doors.

Bi-fold doors can restrict access to the outdoors, letting the elements from the outdoors in. To use the bi-fold door, you have to fold all the leaves together to gain access outside. This allows air in and isn’t ideal in the cooler months.

However, with the addition of a traffic door, this isn’t a problem, and it can allow easy movement in and out. Again, another vital consideration to make which could impact the overall cost.

Sliding Doors Pros and Cons

Pros

Slim sightlines and bespoke configurations

Sliding doors come in a range of configurations, colours and bespoke customisations. No matter the client’s expectations, if you choose a trusted supplier and manufacturer, you’ll be delighted to know that you can achieve a bespoke outcome every time. They are available pre-finished, in an almost unlimited range of colours – both inside and out. 

Sliding doors offer some of the slimmest sightlines, providing uninterrupted views of the outdoors without compromising acoustic and thermal performance. 

They provide panoramic views and an impressive architectural statement whilst remaining safe and secure. High-quality aluminium sliding doors come with built-in protection and excellent multi-point locking systems. Again, these can be customised to suit individual requirements and expectations.

Robust and durable

Sliding doors are typically robust, durable and built to last. Although they do require some maintenance, they are strong and protect against the outdoor elements. 

However, the quality and durability of a sliding door will depend on the manufacturer, supplier and fitter you use. These are essential factors in the longevity of a product and shouldn’t be overlooked in the consideration process.

Sliding doors are fitted with a multi-locking system, operated only from the inside, preventing intruders from lifting the doors of the threshold. 

Space saving

One of the most significant advantages of sliding doors is their excellent space-saving qualities. Some sliding doors operate on one singular threshold, taking up less space than bi-folding doors. No extra space is required, and no door arc is needed. They slide and open one track, each leaf sliding over another. 

If size and space are a priority for your client and they’re still wanting to prioritise quality, panoramic views and architectural beauty – sliding doors can provide just that.

As an example, the PURe® Slide aluminium door range is high-performance, innovative and sleek. The sliding door range meets budget, configuration and aesthetic expectations. Both inline slide and lift and slide configurations are available as a slimline version (PURe® SLIDE SL) and 50mm interlock sightline.

Cons

Traffic limitations

Sliding doors do have their limitations, like bi-folding doors. Sliding doors that operate on a triple track threshold allow the option to open two-thirds of the door only, with one fixed leaf.

Whereas bi-folding doors offer the option of a traffic door, sliding doors don’t provide this luxury. Again, causing restrictions and limited access to the outdoors.

Another consideration that needs to be made – larger sliding doors in exposed areas, may need the addition of a strengthening bar for added support, this can contribute and add thickness to the overall sightlines.

The Verdict

Every door and product on the market will come with its own individual set of advantages and disadvantages. Whereas one thing may be deemed negative by one client, it may not be a problem for another. Choosing the correct door for the project usually depends on personal preference, expectations, budget and overall aesthetic appeal. 

Aluminium bi-fold doors and sliding doors have been growing in popularity within the sector for many years now. And it’s for good reason too. As outlined, they provide some incredible benefits whilst also providing an architectural statement.

Many flaws within the doors have been addressed, and with modern-day technology and innovation, new configurations and customisations are being developed, right now. Bi-fold and sliding doors are bigger, sleeker, and better than ever before. 

At FrameX, we’re aluminium window and door specialists with quality, functionality and leading innovation at our core. If you’re in the trade, are a builder, architect or property developer, we can help you meet project deadlines and budgets efficiently, and exceed client expectations.

Now you know the pros and cons of bi-fold and sliding doors, there may be a few questions that have cropped up. Not to worry, our expert team are always on hand to help answer queries you have. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today!

In the meantime, a few of your bi-fold door queries may be here. Check out our previous articles for more information, industry insights, and product expertise.

Compare Bi-fold and Sliding Doors for Yourself at Our Showroom

Want to see some of the products in action and speak to our specialist team? Come along to our showroom in Rossendale Valley and we’d be happy to help.

Nothing beats seeing the real thing, book your free appointment today and we’ll look forward to seeing you soon.

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