11th Jan 2023 -

Folding doors are used throughout homes, from extra-wide patio doors to wardrobe doors, or even for space-saving standard doors. Whether made from wood, PVC, or aluminium, there are a variety of practical and aesthetic benefits to installing folding doors within your home. However, the high price tag that comes with larger folding doors can put many off installing them in a home.

What Are Folding Doors?

Folding doors, sometimes called bifold doors, are any doors that involve vertical hinges to fold in on themselves. This design can be used in a couple of different ways. The most common type of folding door is made from multiple panes and installed on runners in the ceiling and floor, which can be thought of as folding sliding doors. 

In these designs, used for patios, internal doors, and wardrobes, the panels are hinged on opposite sides, allowing them to fold together tightly on one or both sides, like a concertina. While folding sliding doors will usually require two runners, they can be supported on the top or bottom, with benefits associated with each design:

  • Hanging From Top: This can help to conceal aspects of the door mechanism. Regardless of whether you are installing these on the exterior of a building or inside of it, the weight of the doors can sometimes mean an extra lintel will need to be installed above them.
  • Rolling on the Bottom Track: By rolling the door in the bottom track there is far less pressure on the wall above. The drawback of this method is that the mechanism in the bottom track can be blocked more easily. This will be especially relevant in external facing doorsets, with leaves and dirt clogging the doors and requiring careful cleaning.

The other design of folding doors will close to resemble a standard door but will feature a hinge down the centre vertically, meaning that a far smaller amount of space is required to open them. This can be very useful within smaller rooms inside a house, allowing more floor space to be used.

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Where Are Folding Doors Used?

While folding doors are most commonly used as back doors or patio doors in a house, there are several other areas where they can offer advantages.

Folding Patio Doors

These will typically be made from glass panels framed in PVC, timber, or metal. Folding doors installed around the exterior of a building will let in a fantastic amount of light and can be opened to create wide borders between internal and external areas, perfect for the summer. 

These sliding doors can be as wide as a house can support, folding to occupy only a small amount of space. You’ll find options that fold to one side or others where two sets of doors meet at a central join and fold to their sides separately. This design means that folding doors can be used at corners, offering an amazing open look within an interior room. In most cases, they will be double-glazed to limit heat loss.

Contemporary modern unfurnished room within brand new home with large bifold patio doors leading to lawned garden

Folding Internal Doors

A similar design of a folding door can also be used internally, commonly between communal rooms, for instance connecting a kitchen to a dining room or bridging a dining and living area. Internal folding doors will offer the same benefits, allowing light to easily move through a building, while also allowing two smaller rooms to be turned into one bigger room. 

The high cost of this option is the main barrier, as in many cases parts of a non-load-bearing wall will need to be removed to install the door, which itself is likely to be far more expensive than other internal doors.

Internal folding doors can be built around large or small glass panels, much like exterior options. You’ll also find more solid choices, normally made from wood. 

Folding Bathroom Doors

Single-width folding doors can be a great way to make the most of a small bathroom space. Whether opting for a solid wood or engineered wood door, or one with frosted glass panels, these will essentially halve the opening radius of the door.

Folding Bedroom Doors

When space is tight within a bedroom, a folding door is one of the options to consider, alongside sliding doors, to retain as much usable floor space as possible. These will tend to be made from solid engineered wood. Longer wooden folding doorsets are also used as wardrobe doors within bedrooms, especially those with built-in wardrobes.

What Are Folding Patio Doors Manufactured From?

While interior options are typically made from wood or engineered wood, whether as a solid door or as a frame for glass, those looking to purchase folding external doors will have 3 main options to choose from.

Wooden Folding Doors

Real wood will offer a fantastic natural look, and will also provide a natural level of insulation. In the long term, wood requires a higher level of maintenance than other options, to protect it from wear and preserve its look.

PVC Plastic Folding Doors

This will be your cheapest option for sale, while still offering a solid level of strength. The downside of PVC folding doors for many is their look, which is considered to be less attractive, particularly in the standard white colour.

A 4 panel bifold door within a living room with two sofas

Aluminium Folding Doors 

If money is no object then aluminium folding doors could be the ideal choice, offering a sleek look that will persist for many years with minimal maintenance. This will be the most expensive option.

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Building Materials Nationwide works across the UK, aiming to offer everything a builder could need in terms of supplies, delivered to them at a great price. Through our website, you’ll find a full selection of internal and external doors for sale. For professionals, our trade account system will go one further, with dedicated account managers available to source whatever you need through our network of suppliers, delivered to you quickly at a competitive trade price. Sign up for a trade account through our website today.

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