There are many things that need to be considered when you decide to build a home from scratch. In fact, there are so many different variables and factors that need to go into it that it is always imperative you start your research and planning very early on. 

What Are Bi-Fold Doors?

Doors pull open from the middle, which allows full access to whichever space is behind the door without having to wait

You may have come across traditional single leaf doors in your home as standard, but bifold doors are those that slide open and unfold like a concertina. Single leaf doors are the most common in the house, but if you want the most space possible, they're not the best choice. 

Bifold doors are usually installed in place of a garden door to open up the inside of the lounge into the outside space fairly seamlessly.

They're beautiful to look at, can be made in a variety of materials and they are sturdy as well as unique. These doors pull open from the middle, which allows full access to whichever space is behind the door without having to wait.

Their weight enables the door to slide open in one motion, so no standard shaking like you would get from regular sliding doors. They're not just made for the garden, either. You could choose to separate a dining room and living room with bifold doors, too, creating a beautiful and unique look on the inside of the home. 

They're fantastic as a way to create more space, and they are flexible enough for any room in the house.

Bifold doors don't just fold in and out; they can stay still with a traffic door that allows you to move in and out throughout the day. Most bifold doors are created as glazed glass panels that allow natural light to stream in without much interruption. 

When it comes to the doors that lead to the outside of your home, be aware that the materials that you choose need to be weather-wearing; you don't want the next hail storm ruining your new doors as you didn't get the right material installed.

They come in a variety of materials, including uPVC and aluminium. Lots of homeowners go for the aesthetically pleasing timber bifold doors, as they look sleek enough inside the house.

How Secure Are Bi-Fold Doors?

Bifold doors are secure enough for the external side of the house

There are some homeowners out there who are worried about whether bifold doors are secure enough for the external side of the house, but these are a choice that can be very secure. 

In some cases, bifold doors can be more reliable than other door types - as long as you put the right security measures in place. All doors should have a locking system, but bifold doors often need a reliable locking system to ensure multiple locks in place and not just one.

Black bi fold doors in dining roomBlack bi fold doors in dining roomBlack bi fold doors in dining roomBlack bi fold doors in dining room

Bi-fold doors offer a unique level of access between interior and exterior spaces 

How Easy Are Bi-Fold Doors To Install?

Bifold doors are relatively easy to get installed without the need for outside help, so as a project for your home, you'll be able to do this one with confidence

As a self-builder, you need to know that this is a job that can be done by yourself. Bifold doors are relatively easy to get installed without the need for outside help, so as a project for your home, you'll be able to do this one with confidence. 

Internal bifold doors are much easier to install than the external ones, and this comes down to the fact that there is less hardware to worry about than with the external doors.

You'll be able to use the DIY skills that you have to install the doors without any issues. For the external doors, you may need the advice of a professional, but you can assess whether you need help when you come to decide which doors you want.

Now that you have a little more insight about bifold doors, you can make a more informed decision about which DIY project to get started with.

Bifold Doors: Materials

Many different materials are used for bi-folding doors, and you can choose from a variety for the doors that you install. The materials that you use should be choosing from will depend on many factors, from the style of door that you want to the durability and cost. Let's take a look at some of the materials you can pick from for your bi-folding doors.

Timber

Natural wood is usually at the top of the list for most home improvements, and there is a good reason for that: it's beautiful! It can be finished in different stains, colours, and patterns, and it's convenient. Most of the timber bifold doors are made from a type of timber that has been engineered from different types of wood layered with adhesive. 

This ensures that you get a set of doors. That aren't affected by the outside world and all of the weather. You also should consider the fact that timber doors won't hold moisture, either, because the adhesive in the wood protects it from moisture. This type of engineered timber may be more expensive, but it's the material that lasts.

The drawback? It is a high-maintenance material that requires a lot of looking after - especially if it's been exposed to the sunshine. It's a worthy one to put your money into, but always weigh up your options, first.

Aluminium

A trendy, modern option for homeowners, aluminium doors are renowned for their strength. Resilient in all weathers, their narrow frames can support the structure of the door very well, and they look fantastic at the same time. With the slimmer frames, you can maximise the amount of light flooding into the room, enjoy spacious views and more light. 

With the resilience that you get with aluminium, you also get less flexing over time, and it doesn't expand or contract in the doorway. They're low maintenance, too, so there's not much to keeping them clean and tidy.

The drawback? Colours are severely limited in comparison to the timber alternative, and that puts some builders off of using this material.

Composite

Timber and aluminium aren't your only choices. You can choose a combination of the two in composite doors, which have an aluminium frame with timber internally. You get the best of both with composite, and your doors still look amazing.

Fixtures & Fittings

Once you've chosen your door material, you have to then select the materials and styles of your fixtures and fittings. The door handles that you want will complement your home in a big way. For example, if you like a sleek, minimalistic look, chrome door handles would be the perfect fit. 

For a home that is older and embraces a more ornate vibe, you could think about brass door handles that are traditional in their style. On top of the door handles, you need to consider the locking system. For internal or exterior doors, you really do need to think about a security system that will enable you to stay safe in your home.

How Bifold Doors Operate

There is typically a traffic door that you can lock into the system, which allows the doors to sit on a regular hinge to open and close through the day

If you want to picture how bifold doors will work on your home, think about the concertina effect. Multiple panels make up one bi-fold door, which will fold in on itself to open the entire space out. 

The doors themselves are fitted to runners along with a simple tracking system. And these are connected on a train. The doors fold in, then glide along with the tracking system on wheels.

The tracking system is therefore quiet and smooth, which makes for almost silent operation. When you buy bifold doors to build yourself, they should come with the fixtures and fittings that you need to get them into the frame. The way the doors fold in or out means that you don't need as much space as you would for French doors or those on a regular hinge.

They're straightforward to operate and usually have anywhere between two and seven panels. There is typically a traffic door that you can lock into the system, too, which allows the doors to sit on a regular hinge to open and close through the day.

White bi fold doors with dining table and chairsWhite bi fold doors with dining table and chairsWhite bi fold doors with dining table and chairsWhite bi fold doors with dining table and chairs

Bi-folding doors allow you to open up walls to allow way more light into a room 

Why You Should Choose Bifold Doors

You probably already have your mind made up about the materials and styles that you want for your bifold doors project, but just in case there was any doubt, have a look at some of the best reasons you should consider bifold doors for your next project.

Smooth Moves

As the doors are mounted on a tracking system, you get to have an effortless sliding motion with the doors that you install. The doors unfold, stacking against each other in a concertina style so that you can enjoy the best space possible.

Space Illusion

You may not have too much space in the home, but until you install your bifold doors, you won't realise how much space you really have. They're very different from their patio style counterparts, and the doors allow for a better flow from room to room.

Light It Up

Everyone loves an onset of pure, natural light through their home. It does good for the body, for the mind and it's great to light up the house and make it feel open and alive. The frames are slim, and there are sleek sightlines in bifold doors; this means that they maximise the amount of light that is flowing through the door without interruption of the aesthetics.

Plenty Of Style Choices

As many timber bi-folds can be stained or painted, you can choose bifold doors in an array of colours and styles. This then allows them to stand out and make a long-lasting impression in the home. Aluminium ones only ever come in standard grey or silver, so there is less choice there.

Energy Efficient

Did you know that bifold doors are efficient? They allow the heat to stay in and the cold to stay out, which makes them better able to retain the temperature you want and save you money on your energy bills. They're also a tremendous sound-proofing option.

Added Value

Bifold doors add value to your home, with an increase in the cost of the property should you one day decide to sell up and move on. They're a great way to invest, giving you money back along the way.

How To Install Your Bifold Doors

Luckily, bifold door installation is one of the more straightforward installations that you can do for your home. You do need to take your time and give the doors the right care, but the process itself should only take around an hour to fit if done correctly. 

Let's look at the steps you need to do before you go ahead and start installing your bifold doors yourself:

Remove the old door and track from the frame and fill and paint over the door opening.

Measure the opening of the frame to determine the size of the door that you need to purchase. This will help you to determine how many door panels will fit in the opening. Bifold doors are made in a way that means that they aren't quite the right size for the opening so that they can be operated correctly.

Make sure that you have the tools and hardware that you need to fit the door correctly once it's all measured.

Most bifold doors have come supplied with the track that fits the opening for your doorway.

You should not cut down or trim the track in any way due to the hollow core in the bifold, which trimming could expose.

Before you hang the doors, stain or paint them, and allow them to dry. Otherwise, you're going to have trouble fitting the doors and painting later.

Leave the handles and hardware until after the door has been hung.

Now that you know what to handle before the installation process, let's go through the installation:

Your track is the first thing that you must install. Position the pivot bracket at the side of the frame in the opening direction. Each end of the track inside the frame should have at least 2mm of space. The track has screw holes which you can mark off with pencil to note the pivot point location, and then you can drill the positions to secure the track in place.

Next, it's important that you measure and mark off downward the height of the door that you bought. Do this 20mm from the outside of the door frame. And this is the place that you place the bottom pivot for installation. Secure this into place and push the plastic retainer on the bracket, too.

Once this has completed, you will then need to install the roller and top pin pivot. You can do this by propping the door up to see where the roller guide and pin pivot will be positioned. You can then slip the pivots into the drilled holes separately.

Repeat this with the bottom pivot to the bottom of one of the doors, and prop the door up again to see the top pin pivot and top roller guide.

Once it's in. Unscrew and release the pivot at the top and hold the door up to the opening.

Slide the bottom pivot into the bracket and engage the pivots on the track. You should now be able to slide the door smoothly.

Add the bottom pivot into the bracket and add the springs close to the other side to hold the door shut. This will also allow for the spring to open.

Lastly, you can attach your door hardware!

timber bi folding doors opening onto patiotimber bi folding doors opening onto patiotimber bi folding doors opening onto patiotimber bi folding doors opening onto patio

Bring the outdoors inside with your bi-folding doors wide open

The Cost Of Bifold Doors

One of the most significant thing that affect the cost of your door installation is the size of the door

There is a lot to think about before you invest in bifold doors, and the cost is definitely one of them. Most bifold doors will run in between £1,950 and £3,900, but this depends very much on the design and size. 

As you're a self-builder, you won't need to worry about the cost of someone to come out and fit them for you, but you will need to think about the things that affect the price of your bifold door installation.

Size

One of the most significant thing that affect the cost of your door installation is the size of the door. A more massive door with more panels is going to cost you more, and you will also pay more if the bigger door requires glass panelling. 

Glass is a lovely addition, but it is also more pricey than a solid door option. You can get bifold doors in standard sizes which are often hundreds of pounds cheaper than having them made to measure.

The Finish

You can get timber doors in a variety of colours, and you can also buy plain ones and plan to stain them yourself. There is a variety of wood grain finishes on offer too. And it's these that give the doors the appearance of timber. You don't have to leave the doors plain, but you should be aware that your colour choices will ramp up the price by up to 20%.

Efficiency

If you choose doors with the environment on your mind, you should be prepared to pay more for your doors. The window ratings for the door will tell you how energy efficient they are. They go from A++ which is the best rating, to G, which is the worst rating. 

You may be familiar with these ratings for your house, and it's the same with the doors. You should ensure your doors are efficient, but it's up to you how high you go.

The Hardware

You can always buy handles in for cheap, but it's the material and style that will up the price.

The Glass

There is more than one type of glass, and you can choose between the glass that traps in the heat, glass that helps to control the sun’s glare through the glass and you can even choose coloured glass options. 

You could go for frosted glass for privacy and patterns to be a little more unique. It should be sturdy glass, though, you don't want it to shatter instantly when it gets hit. The more you add to the glass, the more expensive it will be.

Quality

The quality of the doors that you can choose from vary, and you will pay for something that lasts longer. High-quality often equals a higher price, for a good reason. 

How To Maintain Your Bifold Doors

You need to up your service and clean the doors every 3-6 months at the minimum

The best thing about bifold doors is the fact that they are very low maintenance. You can clean them as much as you like, but most bifold door owners only go through a proper service once a year. 

When you live close to the sea or an industrial area, you may encounter more air pollution and dust, which affect your exterior doors. This means you need to up your service and clean the doors every 3-6 months at the minimum.

They're easy to clean, though, with most cloths and cleaners being friendly to the door frames. Edges, hinges, and frames can be cleaned with hot soapy water, too, so there's no need for expensive cleaners or oils. Keep to a soft cloth and not a scourer so that you can protect the coating on your doors.

Any stubborn stains can be dealt with using an eraser or a little white spirit to shine it up a little. Silicone spray is also suitable for any locking mechanisms to prevent any issues with squeaky metals.

Your new bifold doors will be in perfect working order if you install them carefully and treat them well.