What is best? Folding doors or patio doors?

Sliding doors, french doors or bifolding doors will normally be fitted to the rear of the home.  Despite the popularity of bifolding doors and how they can transform a living space, there are still good reasons to consider sliding doors as well as french doors.  Each of these products is latest generation and has not been left behind by the rise of the bifolding door.  With our many years experience manufacturing and installing all types of doors, we offer you some tips and advice on what might be best for you.

General advice on French Doors, patio doors and bifolding doors

What door is best for you will in many cases be determined by the size of the structural opening you have.  If you are replacing old doors for new you will be more limited.  However if you are building a new extension you have far more choice and design freedom.

For any type of modern or traditional home, Capital Windows can help you choose the right patio, folding or French Door.
For any type of modern or traditional home, Capital Windows can help you choose the right patio, folding or French Door.

The larger your door structural opening, the greater choice you have.  If you are building a large extension and wish to maximise the use of light and space a home, patio doors or bifolding doors will be ideal.   If you are replacing old french doors with new ones, modern aluminium doors as one example are able to open in or out.  Additionally with aluminium doors you will in most cases be able to have larger door leaves than say with PVCu french doors.  Our range of aluminium doors can be made up to 2.3 metres high meaning you do not have to have top lights above your doors if you don’t really want them.

Aluminium doors can also be made up to 1200mm wide with some of our products.  Where PVCu is limited to about 900mm if you require large doors and big panes of glass, aluminium is ideal.

Additionally, aluminium doors can couple to other windows and screens – ideal if you want to create a large glazed entrance screen, new porch or even a two storey screen for something like a barn conversion.

The advantages of Patio Doors

One great advantage of patio doors is that when they are opened they take up far less space than any bifolding door or French Door.  Because patio doors slide “inline” with their respective tracks they are ideal for apartments, balconies, small terraces or anywhere where you do not want an open door to take up space.

Patio doors today are available with single, double and even triple tracks. This give you far more flexibility than ever before in how your door panels slide.  If your home is in an exposed location, patio doors are also not affected by strong winds and there is no risk of doors being blown open or closed.

But by far one of the best features of patio doors is that they can accept much bigger panes of glass than any French door or bifolding door.  Therefore if you are looking for the maximum view out of your home, we would recommend a patio door.  Patio door can accept glass panes up to 3 metres high giving you panoramic glass views.

Yet despite large glass sliding doors being heavier than bifolds, they are remarkably light and smooth in their operation thanks to top quality robust and ultra reliable hardware and door rollers.

Things to consider with Bifolding Doors

Bifolding doors are of course a beautiful and functional product.  The evolution of the bifoidng door has enabled the seamless connection of our inside and outside places and enabling us to truly open up entire walls.  Even if you are thinking of replacing your old metal sliding doors in an existing hardwood frame, there is no reason why you cannot have a folding door.

Bifolding doors when designed correctly can offer all the advantages of french doors, such as hinged leaves to provide easy access without having to fold all the doors back.  It is important to consider how much space your doors will take up when opened.  If your doors are likely to be closed most of the year and you still want to enjoy the best views, you may with to consider a patio door instead.  When correctly design and configured, bifolding doors can provide you with flexible and functional doors that can work as either standard access doors to the garden and the ability to fully open as well.

So what is best? bifolding doors, French doors or sliding patio doors?

We recommend you contact us and let us talk to you further.  However as a general guide we advise as follows:

  • If you have a small space or an apartment or are governed by budget we recommend french doors as these will be the cheapest product.  Patio doors and bifolding doors will be more expensive typically.
  • If you want maximum flexibility and function, we would recommend bifolding doors.
  • For maximum glass area and large sliding “glass walls” we recommend our patio door.

Contact us to find out more.