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Some doors are simply functional, creating a typical entrance leading between two rooms. There’s one type of door that does so much more than that, however; wooden bi-folding doors are ideal for bringing the outside in and helping homeowners to maximise on space. So what are bi-folding doors, and how can they open up your interiors while connecting your home to your garden in one swift, sliding motion?
Spring is upon us, and everywhere you look the cherry and magnolia trees are blooming. Whether the new season is making you think about completely renovating your home, or you simply plan on making a few key changes in anticipation for the warmer months, bi-folding doors could have a big impact on how your use your space.
Constructed from timber and glazing, a bi-folding door’s clever design helps to make the most of your space while letting plenty of light stream into the room. Also known as folding sliding doors or folding and stacking doors, they consist of various opening configurations of door leaves which slide and stack up against the wall to open the entire aperture, supported by fixing up through the head and into a steel above.
Bi-folding doors use a simple yet clever tracking system fitted along the panels, which ensures a smooth motion. The doors will usually have between two and eight panels connected with hinges, which generally have a master or access door and the remaining doors fold out in pairs while gliding along the tracking system at the same time.
Sophisticated, stylish and plush; expect nothing less from well-designed bi-folding doors, which are not to be confused with sliding doors. Sliding doors have a similar gliding movement but do not fold, and only one of the two leaves can be moved.
Beautifully transforming homes…
A bi-folding door can change the way you use your home and the size and style can easily be adapted to suit the requirements of any property. Larger doors can become a feature in themselves, drawing the eye as soon as you walk into the room. They are ideal for use in buildings that architecturally suit larger entrance ways, like contemporary extensions or pool houses that might engulf smaller door designs such as French doors or casements.
Open-plan kitchens and living spaces can be transformed with enormous bi-folding doors spanning the whole length of a room if desired. The prominent glazing will let lots of natural light stream in, giving an airy and spacious feel to your interiors. The doors will allow for expansive and uninterrupted views of your garden, which you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home all year round no matter the weather outside.
The benefits of bi-folding doors are innumerable during the summer, when you can turn your home and your garden into one impressive living space. Slide open the doors the whole way to catch the breeze and aid with ventilation while watching the sunlight dapple on the grass beyond. Laze in the garden before strolling in through the wide entrance way to get a cooling drink from the fridge, or escape from the sun for a while. Host a cocktail evening, where your guests can mill in and out, chatting in the kitchen or gathering around the BBQ.
What makes bi-folding doors work?
Above all, a well-designed bi-folding door should be easy to operate. Heavy, clunky, loud doors that are prone to getting stuck will become unused and neglected, making them a poor investment.
If manufactured to precise measurements, they will flawlessly fold and slide with smooth movements. One discrepancy in the door sizes, even by a single millimetre on either side, can affect the functionality of the whole unit and prevent it from opening. This is why choosing a quality product that has been crafted by experts is certainly a worthwhile investment.
While bi-fold doors are available in a range of different materials such as uPVC and aluminium, to achieve an elegant and timeless look then timber doors can look beautiful and are also highly functional when a premium wood is used.
Using a strong and durable wood like Accoya®, which is an engineered timber made only from sustainable tree species, will ensure the longevity of your bi-fold door. The timber goes through a environmentally-safe chemical process which makes it exceptionally stable. Accoya® is just about as durable as wood can be, and is virtually rot-proof. Swelling and shrinkage is massively reduced (even below ground or under water) which means it’s easier to craft into precise measurements and won’t move or alter over time.
Inspiring bi-folding door designs
At the very forefront of innovative design throughout history, the Romans used folding doors as excavations have revealed. In his book ‘Pompeii’, Peter Connolly claims that the Romans ‘disliked single-leaf doors and wherever possible, both inside and out, they used double or even folding doors’.
These kinds of doors have long been the perfect solution for maximising spaces, opening up rooms and creating a connection between your home and the garden. Today, they are a trend often found in modern and contemporary homes, as they take up very little space which achieves a clean and minimal style.
There are so many options to consider when looking for the right bi-folding door design, so always keep your particular requirements in mind to help narrow your choices down. Bi-folding doors are very secure, as they have multiple locks spread across the leaves. But if you’re worried about preventing a break in, you can opt for a particularly tough and secure glazing which can provide you with more reassurance. The choice of glazing can make a difference in other ways too; an energy efficient or solar reflective glass will help to keep the room feeling cool if the door is south facing, for example.