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The B&E Blog

The Difference Between Bi-fold, Patio or French Doors

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With the vagaries of the UK climate to contend with, it’s natural to want to make the most of the fine weather we do get. One of the most popular ways to bring the outside in and flood your home with sunlight is by opening it up with large glazed doors. When considering exterior sliding doors in the UK, there are three main types: French doors, folding doors and patio doors. 

French doors offer a traditional look, ideal for period properties and can be created in any material and size to match the rest of the windows. They are usually cheaper than bi-fold or sliding patio doors. 

Sliding patio doors have a minimalist appearance and are a good way to make the most of a lovely garden view; they are an excellent choice for large apertures. Thanks to their simple roller mechanism, they can be a little less costly than bi-fold or folding doors.

Bifold doors allow you to open up an entire wall of your house, although you should allow for stacking space when the doors are folded back. They run on tracks that are almost invisible as they are set flush into the floor and when fully open, fold back on themselves like a concertina to minimise the break between the garden and the house.

Bi-fold doors

It’s easy to see why bifold doors have become so popular over the past few years; they offer a uniquely stylish aesthetic and there’s no better way to create a seamless transition between your indoor and outside spaces. While frameless glass bi-fold doors look fabulous in a contemporary home, they can also be manufactured in a variety of materials to suit traditional architecture. They can be designed in an array of configurations to suit your individual requirements but one factor that they all have in common is that they slide back concertina-fashion on a track set flush into the ground, so that they take the smallest possible space and create no distractions from the view. Bifold doors have few drawbacks but depending on what material they are made from, they are not the cheapest option.


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Patio doors

Patio or sliding doors offer sleek, minimalist sight lines that allow you to make the most of a lovely garden view. They slide away to one side, making them the perfect choice for rooms where space is restricted; you also have the option of installing them to slide away out of sight into a wall recess, allowing you to really open up your interior to the great outdoors. They also offer the possibility of positioning furniture close to the doors, which is often a consideration in smaller spaces. Sliding doors are available on a variety of materials and finishes to suit the style of your home and are perfectly suited to modern, open plan living spaces. Overall, patio doors have very few drawbacks but if you are on a tight budget, it’s worth bearing in mind that they are somewhat more expensive than French doors.

French Doors

Although they are often the preferred option to complement traditional styles of architecture, French doors are also available in a wide array of colours and finishes such as coated aluminium that fit well into contemporary homes. Thanks to their usually smaller dimensions, they let in less light than bi-fold or sliding doors but it's possible to set them within a run of glazed windows or to combine them with sidelights in order to maximise light while maintaining a traditional aesthetic. French doors also work well in situations where there may be large bifold doors elsewhere, offering quick and easy access to the garden when you don't necessarily want to open up the whole side of the house. French doors can be manufactured in a wide range of materials and finishes to match the style of your home. They do come with a few drawbacks: while they can be very stylish in an understated way, they don't create a seamless transition between your home and garden and lack the wow factor that a large run of bifold doors will bring to your home. However, they are straightforward and relatively simple to fit and therefore also tend to be cheaper than the alternatives.

Whether you opt for the traditional elegance of French doors, the sleek functionality of sliding patio doors or the chic aesthetic of bi-fold doors, we offer one of the widest ranges of high quality exterior sliding doors in the UK, the perfect way to enhance your home. Drop in and have a look around our large showroom in Aylesbury or call us to arrange a site visit and free quotation on 01296 415251.

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Topics: Design, Home Improvements, Doors