Bi-fold doors have just about reached peak popularity here in the UK, largely the result of more people choosing an open-plan layout for their home and a more relaxed approach to entertaining. And having an open-plan kitchen/dining/living room seems to demand that the garden forms the final piece of the puzzle. So we want a practical solution when we want to spill outside for a bit of alfresco living and a stylish way to seamlessly blend our inside and outdoor spaces.
One such solution is the installation of bi-fold doors, but like any design element, bi-fold doors come with their own pros and cons. So let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of bi-fold doors in open-plan living spaces.
- Enhanced Aesthetics: bi-fold doors have a sleek, modern design that adds an elegant touch to open-plan living spaces. They can be customised with various materials, colours, and finishes, allowing homeowners to achieve a cohesive look with their existing décor.
- Seamless Integration: bi-folds are designed to fold away when fully opened, creating a wide, unobstructed opening between the indoor and outdoor spaces. This allows for a seamless transition between the two areas, making it perfect for entertaining and alfresco dining.
- Natural Light: with large glass panels, bi-fold doors allow abundant natural light to flow into the living space, creating a bright and inviting atmosphere. This enhances the visual appeal and improves energy efficiency by reducing the need for artificial lighting.
- Space Saving: unlike traditional sliding or French doors, bi-fold doors fold compactly to the side. This space-saving feature makes them ideal for smaller homes or rooms with limited space.
- Cost: bi-fold doors can be pricey and expensive to install – the cost is largely dependent on the size, material, and level of customisation, but you usually get what you pay for.
- Maintenance: the multiple hinges and tracks of bi-fold doors can require more maintenance than traditional doors. Manufacturers suggest regular cleaning and lubrication to ensure smooth operation and prevent premature wear.
- Security: modern bi-fold doors have advanced security features, but they may provide a different level of security than traditional doors due to their large glass panels and multiple entry points. You should consider investing in high-quality locks and perhaps even additional security measures.
- Insulation: bi-fold doors can sometimes struggle to provide the same level of insulation as traditional doors. Choosing double or triple-glazed glass and high-quality seals is essential to minimise heat loss and maintain energy efficiency.
Bi-fold doors can be a useful and attractive finishing touch to a rear extension and create an easy transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. In the last year or so I haven’t seen any slowdown in their popularity, so it would seem that the pros outweigh the cons for most people. From a personal perspective, I would suggest investing in the best you can afford to ensure longevity and look after them well to help prevent any problems.