In the past, bifold doors were mainly used as interior separation elements, as their opening mechanism created considerable gaps - thus making them unfit to be used as properly sealed exterior door systems. However, contemporary technological advancements allow for such uses with this particular type of patio door. Combined with additional construction elements, bifold doors can even offer passive attributes such as high-quality thermal insulation rivalling that of more common systems.
Bifold systems do not only differ from more common door types visually, but in terms of fundamental functionality and day-to-day use as well. Compared to common balcony variants, for example, they are typically built featuring multiple leafs which are opened in a manner similar to the motion of an accordion. Since the individual leafs are connected, the entire system can be opened to the desired extent.
Today, this classic room divider is frequently used as a balcony or patio door system as well. Thanks to modern technology as well as their inherent attributes, contemporary bifold doors feature several advantages in comparison to other variants. The following features are all available for customisation:
The above features are also available with optional construction elements. Choosing an effective combination of construction elements can also improve all of the above features at the same time.
There are several ways of enhancing the burglary protection offered by a bifold balcony door. For instance, additional security pins can be installed in the element for extra protection against attempts of lifting the leafs out of the guiding rails. This way the bifold frame and leafs are firmly connected, preventing would-be intruders from entering without the use of heavy tools.
Similar to most doors featuring glass inserts, bifold systems require high-quality glass inserts in order to provide comprehensive burglary protection. The exact type and structure of the glazing elements can be chosen according to the specific requirements of the building.
The addition of laminated safety glass - which contains a tear-resistant foil - is another method of enhancing burglary protection. When this type of glass is shattered the individual layers of glass may be destroyed but the glazing element as a whole will transform into a mass of glass shards that are stuck to the tear-resistant foil; which prevents the glazing from being removed quickly and the lock from being reached easily from the outside. In addition to this, bifold systems have the advantage of featuring multiple smaller glass elements instead of single larger ones. This is because smaller glazing elements also tend to have greater structural integrity and thus offer greater protection against burglars.
Bifold doors have to meet certain requirements when providing passive temperature regulation to the interior. First of all, proper sealing elements have to provide protection against draught. This is achieved by installing two seals between the individual bifold leafs. When the doors are closed these seals interlock, preventing draughts reliably.
Double or triple multi-glazing elements not only ensure reliable burglary protection, but also provide excellent u-values.
The u-value reflects the thermal transmittance of bifold doors. It describes the amount of heat that is transmitted through one square metre of surface area within a one-second time frame. This means that well-insulated doors or windows feature smaller u-values than less insulated ones.
Filling the space between the individual glass panes of a multi-glazing element with gas further improves the u-value of a bifold system, as heavy gasses such as argon or krypton do not change temperature easily or quickly. Such bifold variants in combination with other inherent attributes may even out perform the common tilt-and-turn, lift-and-slide or even tilt-and-slide systems.
When it comes to dampening sound, bifold doors have beneficial qualities in terms of thermal transmittance, which in turn has a very positive effect on sound absorption. This is because the insulating effects of multi-glazing elements and gas infills extend into the area of sound suppression, culminating in special glazing elements designed specifically for protecting one's home from excessive outside noise.
Bifold doors create a more comfortable atmosphere. For example, when used as large-scale door systems, the large number of glazing elements lining the wall can create a unique panoramic view. The individualisation options are plentiful, beginning with the material. Door profiles can be made from a number of materials, regardless of the age of the building.
Just like any other type of door, bifold doors need to fit the overall visual style of a house, regardless of whether they lead to a balcony, the patio or the conservatory. For that reason, bifold doors of any given material can be ordered with optional visual enhancements providing unique aesthetics.
Wood is a natural material that creates warm visuals and suits almost any facade. As this material offers a large degree of natural heat insulation, it is a perfect construction material for bifold doors. However, its organic nature means that wooden doors tend to require more maintenance than those made of synthetic materials. Hence, the wooden surfaces need to be treated with lacquer or other wood care products at regular intervals. Aluminium, in contrast, is a material that requires much lower maintenance.
Aluminium is a durable and long-living low-maintenance alternative to wooden doors. In addition, it provides a much more modern appearance - in contrast to wood.
Perhaps the most advanced type of door material, composite materials combine the attributes of more than one basic material to benefit from their advantages while compensating for their weaknesses - such as with wood-aluminium composites. Outfitting wooden doors and windows with outer aluminium shells, for example, allows a homeowner to benefit from the look and feel of natural wood on the inside, while benefiting from the highly modern aesthetics of the exterior aluminium. While being perhaps the most advanced of materials for use with bifold doors, composite materials can also be rather costly.
Bifold doors can be lacquered or painted in the colour of your choice in the same way that more standard door types or windows can be coloured. Thanks to the wide range of RAL colours, your doors can be made to perfectly match the aesthetics of your house, regardless of which material they are made of.
The palette of available colour choices ranges from classic white and modern red to various wooden hues. Compared to large-scale windows, bifold doors offer a high level of flexibility and natural light while simultaneously providing shade during the sunnier months.
However, installing bifold doors requires just as much help from a professional as you would need to install lift-and-slide-doors. As there are many details that need to be considered during the installation process, this requires a certain amount of technical expertise and experience.