Bifold doors vs sliding doors – the pros and cons of both

You can clearly visualise the overall building project, but now it’s time to get down to some of the specifics!  

When trying to decide between bifold or sliding doors for your home, the choice will ultimately come down to personal preference and budget, but there are a few other considerations to ponder when making your decision.

Location of the doors, the space available either side of the frame, and the size of door required can all impact your final decision on selecting a bifold or sliding doors. 

What are the differences between bifold and sliding doors?

Bifold doors feature a minimum of two leaves which, when opened, fold on top of each other to store neatly at the side of the frame. They can extend to any number of leaves opening in both directions to fill spaces of all sizes. It is even possible to use bifolds to glaze a full-height corner window. By comparison, sliding doors slide open one pane of glass on top of the other. 

Both options give you a great deal of flexibility compared to traditional French doors which open outwards and take up a lot more space. 

What are the pros and cons of bifold doors?

Bi-fold doors have the ability to open up an entire opening, helping connect the inside of your home seamlessly with your outdoor space and create a more open plan home. They can also include a single opening access door to allow ease of access between the garden or patio and your home without having to slide back all of the doors.

Pros of bifold doors

  • Can be fully opened to connect indoors and outdoors seamlessly
  • Wide range of size, colour and finishes available
  • Can open inwards or outwards
  • Lightweight
  • Possibility of increasing property value
  • Available with a low step threshold
  • Work in a large or small opening

Cons of bifold doors

  • Require space for panels to fold on top of each other inside or outside the home
  • Individual frames can obstruct views and block light
  • Are more expensive than sliding doors 
  • Depending on the frame material they can need maintenance so that they operate smoothly
  • Wooden frames can expand due to the impacts of weathering and can make them more difficult to close in winter 

What are the pros and cons of sliding doors?

These doors provide almost completely uninterrupted views and are ideal for large openings where you want to enjoy the natural light and views they provide as much as possible. However, unlike a bi-folding door, they don’t usually provide a 100% opening as the doors must slide back against each other, so one pane is always visible.

A sliding door system can also be a popular choice for homeowners with limited space as they do not require as much space to open as bi-fold doors.

Pros of sliding doors

  • Take up less space when open when compared to bi-fold doors and French doors
  • Lightweight aluminium or upvc frames are easy to slide with slim sight-lines
  • Large glass panels provide an unobstructed view whether doors are open or closed
  • Tend to be cheaper than their bi-fold equivalent, however may incur higher delivery costs due to their size

Cons of sliding doors

  • Less convenient for quick access when compared to a French door or bi-fold door, they also do not open up fully, as the door slides on top of its counterpart 
  • A low threshold cannot be achieved due to space required for roller mechanism, but the track could be sunk into the floor
  • Depending on the size of the door and the frame material sliding doors can be heavy to operate, perhaps more important if you have kids or elderly relatives who will want to gain regular access
  • Can look a bit out of place on a traditional build due to their modern style, however this depends on the overall design

Summary

As mentioned above, the decision ultimately comes down to your personal style and budget, as both door types will add an extra wow factor to your home. Working through the considerations outlined above, will help you become more confident with the decision for your home. 

As always, we are always happy to talk through the options available with clients to find the best possible solution for their project.