Sliding or Bifolding Doors?
When you are looking at a way to open a large glazed area, there are really only two methods. Sliding doors move across in-line with the glass, and bifolding doors slide too, but concertina together as they move.
- Always slides in-line with the glass, so does not take up any internal or external space when opening.
- Will never give you the full clear opening – always one panel will remain fixed or closed when the rest are fully open.
- Much larger panel sizes are possible thanks to a relatively more simple mechanism – hinges are not relied-on to hold the increased glass weight.
- Larger glass sizes can mean an extra cost for lifting equipment: mechanical assistance is often required to offload the delivery vehicle and to install the units.
- Relatively poor insulation and airtightness: a sliding door system will always be difficult to make well-insulating as there are limited ways to make a slider compress against rubber seals on all edges when closed.
- Will take up some space either internally or externally when opening and fully open – a clear space roughly the width of a panel is needed.
- Opens to leave almost the entire space clear and usable – just the panels stacked at one end intrudes into the opening area.
- Much smaller panel sizes. Partly because the weight of each panel is supported by hinges, also because large panels can dangerously exaggerate the wind catching a door when you’re opening them.
- Having smaller panels often means it is much easier for installation teams to offload and install the product – avoiding extra mechanical lift equipment costs.
- Great insulation and airtightness from top-hung systems: multiple rubber seals being properly compressed when closed greatly helps with this.
Sliding Doors and Bifold Doors from Enlightened Windows
Focusing on what we offer specifically, we have chosen products that play to the strengths of both types of door. Through experience, we have discovered that any system that claims to have the positives from both a bifold and a sliding door, without the drawbacks, is simply too good to be true. So, we have narrowed down into systems that we think excel in their chosen field.
Our Lacuna bifold doors are made from thermally-modified beech timber utilising a top-hung rail system, inspired by an element from the Porsche production line. Great for insulation with Uw-values reaching lows of 0.9 and Class 4 airtightness as standard. The frame sections have been designed to be as thin as they can be without compromising on the rigidity of the system, so the impact of splitting up a large opening with multiple sections is minimal.
More images from this project can be found in our Coach House Conversion gallery.
More images from this project can be found in our Traditional Oak Post and Beam Building in South Oxfordshire gallery.
More images from this project can be found in our Aluminium-clad Mock Sliding Sash Windows for a Regency Townhouse in Bath gallery.
On the other hand, our most popular Sunflex sliding doors are constructed from aluminium. Whilst aluminium is honestly not a good material if you’re looking for the best insulation, it is perfect when you’re aiming for large uninterrupted glass panels – so naturally suitable for sliding doors. Sunflex offer two systems, with the difference being the thickness of the frame section. SVG83 offers the standard profile, and SVG30 provides a noticeably thinner 30mm frame.
Always feel free to call us if you’re unsure
A bifold or slider can often be one of the main focal points of a room, so we understand the need to get the choice right. We’ve provided both for newbuilds, renovations and extensions, so hopefully we can help you out with choosing the best solution for your project.