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Locations for bi-fold doors—how to combine with patios, kitchens and home remodeling

Most homeowners install bi-fold doors between their kitchen or dining room and an outdoor space such as a patio, garden or pool. Some use interior doors to separate one indoor living space from another.

As there are a few things to consider before incorporating bi-fold doors into these parts of your home, we’ve put together a quick guide to cover them all.

Click a link below to jump to the relevant section:

Bi-fold doors for patios

The purpose of any set of patio doors is to:

  • allow easy passage to your patio
  • provide expansive views of the outdoors
  • let in plenty of natural light

And they must do this while:

  • withstanding exposure to the elements—e.g. heavy rain, hurricane winds or extremes in temperature
  • preventing heat escaping and cold air entering
  • keeping your home secure and safe

Your options: bi-folds, sliding doors or French doors?

Generally, there are three types of patio doors.

Bi-fold doors

Sliding doors

French doors

Doors that fold off to the side to create a wide opening

Doors with framed panes, one or two of which slides behind the other

Doors that swing open, usually outwards

Why choose bi-fold doors?

All three door systems have their pros and cons and each is more suitable for certain scenarios.

Read on for a summary of how bi-folds, sliding doors and French doors compare. For a more in-depth comparison, click here.

Bi-fold doors vs sliding doors vs French doors

Feature

Comparison

View

  • Bi-folds fold completely back, so offer the fullest view when open
  • Sliding doors provide the best view when closed as there’s less profile obstructing the view
  • French doors offer the most restricted view of the three

Thermal efficiency

  • Very similar across each product and depends more on the material and quality of the system

Security and safety

  • All three doors should come with toughened glass as standard.
  • Some lower-quality doors are vulnerable to break-ins as they use lower-quality locks and locking systems

Configuration

  • Bi-folds offer a much wider range of configurations in terms of the number of panels and the direction in which the doors open
  • Bi-folds also come in corner configurations

Maintenance

  • All three door types need little maintenance
  • Bi-folds and sliding doors have moving parts that might suffer wear over time as you open and close them
  • Doors in aluminum and vinyl require barely any upkeep

Type of property

  • Bi-folds and sliding doors are effective in modern homes in which larger expanses of glass are used
  • French doors might be better suited to traditional or period properties to replace like for like
  • Choosing the right color of door in period properties can also give a more traditional finish (such as wood grain)

Threshold

  • All three doors can be fitted with a flush threshold, where the floor inside and outside is level

Hurricane testing

  • Neither door type offers more safety than the other—check for hurricane protection when you buy

Bi-fold doors for kitchens

Kitchens are popular locations for large glass doors. Homeowners use them as:

  • exterior doors—to open a kitchen out onto a patio or backyard
  • interior doors—to separate the kitchen from a dining room

Your options: bi-folds, sliding doors or French doors?

As with patio doors, you have three choices:

Bi-fold doors

Sliding doors

French doors

Doors that fold off to the side to create a wide opening

Doors with framed panes, one of which slides behind the other

Doors that swing open, usually outwards

Why choose bi-fold doors?

If you’re wanting to seamlessly link two spaces, like a kitchen and an outside area, bi-fold doors are your best option.

This is because they leave a larger opening than other doors due to the manner in which they fold and stack to the side, out of the way.

Sliding doors are an alternative, but because the sliding panel moves behind or in front of the fixed panel, half of the doorway will be obstructed, or one-third if you’re using a three-pane sliding door.

French doors offer another option if you’re installing internal doors but are only really suitable for narrow openings. They can’t be used to replace an entire wall.

Bi-fold doors for home remodeling

A high-quality set of folding glass doors can be the perfect finishing touch to any home remodeling project. Many homeowners incorporate them into their remodeling so they can enjoy the many advantages of open-plan living and alfresco dining.

Your options: bi-folds, sliding doors or French doors?

When it comes to a home remodeling project, again we recommend going with either bi-fold doors, sliding doors or French doors:

Bi-fold doors

Sliding doors

French doors

Doors that fold off to the side to create a wide opening

Doors with framed panes, one of which slides behind the other

Doors that swing open, usually outwards

Why choose bi-fold doors?

It really depends on the opening and how you’ll use the doors.

Bi-fold doors are commonly used when remodeling, as they have the huge benefit of making rooms feel much more spacious. Even when the doors are closed, the tall and wide glass panels give the impression of the interior and exterior being one large, open space.

If you have a small kitchen, bi-fold doors will let in lots of natural light and enhance the space as a result. Combined with a tall ceiling and/or skylight, they can totally transform a small room.

Sliding doors can be better for very large openings as they provide a better view and are simpler to operate—there’s no need for you to open up a number of different panels.

French doors are a good alternative as they provide similar advantages to bi-folds.

To read more about what to consider when choosing between bi-folds, sliding doors and French doors, click here.

What do the doors cost?

Whatever type of door you favor, your budget will heavily influence your decision. As a result, you need to know what you’ll pay for your chosen doors, and what factors into the overall cost of the product.

Average prices for bi-fold doors, sliding doors and French doors

Bi-fold doors

2-door set, vinyl:
$2,000–$3,000 (with installation)

2-door set, aluminium:
$4,000–$5,500 (with installation)

Sliding doors

2-door set, vinyl:
$2,500–$3,500 (with installation)

 

French doors

2-door set, vinyl:
$1,200–$1,800 (with installation)

2-door set, aluminium:
$3,200–$4,000 (with installation)

What affects the price of bi-fold doors and other doors

The price of doors depends on a number of things:

Material

You can buy bi-fold doors, sliding doors and French doors in aluminum, vinyl or wood. Each material has its benefits and drawbacks:

  • Aluminum is very strong and allows for a slim door frame that enables the doors to contain more glass (and provide better views), but costs more than vinyl
  • Vinyl is the cheaper of the three materials but isn’t too durable or energy efficient and can be quite vulnerable to weather damage
  • Wood is also strong and provides decent insulation, but needs a lot of upkeep and carries a higher price than aluminum and vinyl

Read more about how aluminum, vinyl and wood compare here

Size and configuration

Although there are cheap products you can buy off the shelf, good-quality bi-folds, sliding doors and French doors are usually made to measure.

As a result, they are priced according to size and configuration, meaning the more you increase the height and width—and, with bi-folds, the number of individual door panels (leaves) you specify—the more expensive the cost.

This is simply because more materials are needed to make the doors and the manufacturing process is lengthier or more complicated.

Read more about door size and configuration here

Glazing

All three types of doors contain large panes of glass by design. However, you’ll have the option of choosing between double glazing or triple glazing, and upgrading to toughened safety glass, noise reduction glass or low-emissivity glass (glass with an energy efficient coating).

Obviously, the cost increases whenever you add extra panes—as with triple glazing—or specify any upgrades.

Read more about glazing here

Colors

Nowadays, most high-quality patio doors—whether bi-folds, sliding doors or French doors—come in a wide range of colors and finishes, including wood grain.

Aluminum doors are often powder-coated, using a painting process for which there are hundreds of different shades and tones. Vinyl doors were once restricted to white, but are now available in a variety of colors. Wood doors can be painted however you want.

Custom colors and finishes usually come with an extra cost, so bear that in mind when budgeting.

Read more about door colors here

Installation

How much you pay to have patio doors installed will depend on the installer and across different states and parts of the country. High-quality doors fitted by fully trained installers generally cost more. If the installation is complicated, the price will likely reflect this too.

The size and weight of the doors can affect the price. With very large and heavy doors, the installer might have to hire special lifting equipment to be able to fit them. They will charge you accordingly.

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