A bi-folding door can turn a standard walkway into a beautifully accented extra living space. Who wouldn’t want to have direct access to the great outdoors and natural light on a sunny day?
Ultimately, bi-folds can be quite the investment. Not only that, but the customized options that are available make it easy to get confused, as well.
You’ve got to take into consideration your preference of material, operating system, glaze finish, and much more.
Since bi-folds can be a costly purchase, you’ll want to figure out exactly what you’re looking for. Read on for 7 things you should consider before purchasing a bi-folding door.
1. What material am I looking for?
The two most common types of material for a bi-folding door are aluminum and wood.
Many tend to find wood more aesthetically pleasing, as it creates a more traditional appearance. A wood bi-fold can make your home feel like a quaint outdoors cabin.
But, despite its appearance, wood bi-folds can be quite time-consuming and costly. They need regular paint jobs and are more susceptible to heat and moisture, causing its structure to disfigure.
Aluminum bi-folds also vary by manufacturer, but they tend to be the less expensive option. They are usually much wider than wood bi-folds, reducing the amount of door needed to fill the frame.
Along with costing less initially, they also don’t need recoating thanks to their powder-coating finish. This will save you even more money in the long run.
2. What size do I need?
Before looking for a bi-folding door, you’ll want to determine what size you need to fill the frame. Bi-folds are measured by panel weight, width, and height.
At home, you can measure the anticipated door set within the frame. This can be tricky to gauge. At times, it may be best to contact a manufacturer.
Aside from its actual structure, the type of glazing will also affect its weight. Wood bi-folds tend to be much larger, running up to 4000 mm high and 1100 mm wide.
Even if an aluminum bi-fold is double or triple glazed, it usually only runs up to 1000 mm high and 2800 mm wide.
3. What operating system does my bi-folding door need?
With bi-folds, you will see systems that are either ‘top hung’ or ‘bottom rolling’. These terms specify which way the door’s weight is supported.
Most people find top hung bi-folds more visually appealing. That’s because the actual operating system isn’t noticeable since it’s stored overhead. They also hide outdoor build-up such as dirt and leaves.
But, it does take very sturdy framework to support a top hung. If the lintel or beam within the frame can’t hold the door’s weight, you should go with a bottom rolling.
Your operating system should be specifically made for bi-folds. We recommend looking for one with wheels that move on a level track.
4. What should I realistically expect to pay for my bi-fold?
There are several variables that will determine the cause of your bi-fold. Its material and size, along with the overall quality are largely considered in the price.
In many cases, manufacturers will charge based on linear meter or width and height. Blatantly speaking, the larger your bi-fold, the more expensive it’ll cost.
To get a better idea on what a bi-fold would cost, check out Vivafolio for their free quote estimate. Simply input your size, arrangement, opening, and color preferences.
The average ballpark for a bi-folding door typically ranges between £1,200–1,600. But, that can vary significantly depending on its make.
When speaking to a manufacturer, also inquire about their installation and delivery costs. This can bump up the cost a lot more than anticipated.
5. How do I want my sightline to look?
The sightline spans the width of a bi-folding door. Some manufacturers will take the entire profile into consideration. However, plenty of people just look towards the glazed head.
In most cases, you’ll want to go for a minimal sightline. This will optimize your views from the bi-fold.
Aluminum bi-folds typically have a slimmer sightline than wood. Although slim, they’re still able to maintain high levels of strength and durability.
Wood bi-folds have larger sightlines, however, that is usually by preference. Some people opt for a larger sightline as it contributes to the overall appeal of the bi-fold.
6. What should I look for regarding insulation?
By law, manufacturers are required to adhere to a U-Value regulation. For bi-folds, U-Value refers to the amount of heat lost by square meter of the material.
When replacing or inserting new windows (or in this case, door windows), manufacturers must stay below 2.0 W/(m2k).
You should look for a bi-fold with the lowest U-Value. When it’s hot, it will keep the cold air in and vice versa. You’ll pay much less in energy bills, whereas a higher U-Value runs much steeper.
It’s important to note that the U-Value of the door set is what matters, not the center frame. The door set is actually what determines the insulation capabilities of the bi-fold.
Also, be wary of manufacturers who claim that all their bi-folds have the same U-Value. U-Value is measured by several variables, including the amount of material and size. It’s unlikely that every door holds the same.
7. What safety features should I be looking for?
With such easy access to the outside world, you want to ensure your inside home is protected as possible.
Also by safety standards, bi-folding doors must adhere to specific security regulations. Bi-folds should exceed Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 24 standards.
For specific requirements and regulations, visit here.
You should consider a bi-fold’s linear bolts, locking system, and security hooks. Your bi-fold’s appearance shouldn’t compromise the overall safety of your home.
Aside from its appeal, a bi-folding door also needs to have high-functioning components and safety features. You should speak with your manufacturer to learn about the elements mentioned above, and also warranties.
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