Bifold Doors, Sliding Patio Doors or French Doors. Which is the Best Option?
Bifold, Sliding or French patio doors – which to choose?
When looking at the different types of doors that are available for a renovation or new project, it is important to choose door that suits both your home and your pocket.
So to give you a good starting point from which to decide which is the best option amongst bifold doors, sliding patio doors or French doors, here is an overview of the styles features, benefits and prices.
A bifold is a patio door (or window) which slides open to the sides by “folding” the door panels into a “Stack”. This method of opening makes them ideal for wider openings.
- 3 main products in timber, uPVC or Aluminium
- Double or triple glazed
- Toughened or laminated safety glass
- Multi-point locks
This design offers a high proportion of clear space when they are open. The door leaves or panels can also be “stacked” inside or outside the room to optimise space even more.
What do Bifold Patio Doors Cost?
- Hardwood Timber veneer 3 panel bifold doors will cost approximately £1500 + fitting.
- UPVC 4 panel bifold doors (coloured uPVC) will cost approximately £1700 + fitting.
- Aluminium 3 panel bifold doors (coloured) sized 3000 mm x 2100 mm, would cost approximately £2,000 + fitting.
All prices depend upon the door opening size, the number of panels and what material they are built from.
Pros and Cons
Sliding patio doors
This type of patio door has been around for years and sliding patio doors have been fitted into almost every type of home, traditional or modern.
The door sections move from side to side and are fixed within the door frame. The door sections move past each other (overlapping) within the frame.
The smallest width versions will have 2 door panels, one of which will usually be fixed into place, the other able to slide – you choose at order which side you want fixed.
- Available in wood, aluminium or UPVC
- Double or triple glazing
- Anti-lift tracks
- Toughened or laminated glass
Simple to use and can fit most size openings by adding more panels. Loads of manufacturers and very competitive prices in the market.
Great energy efficiency if you use double glazed units and they are as secure as any patio door can be (with that amount of glass).
What do sliding patio doors cost?
The cost of a sliding patio door depends upon size and the number of door panels
- starting price of a 2 panel UPVC sliding patio door sized 1600 x 2100 mm is around £695
- starting price of a 3 panel UPVC sliding patio door sized 2400 x 2100 mm is around £890
- starting price of a 4 panel UPVC sliding patio door sized 4000 x 2100 mm is around £1,360
Pros and Cons
These types of doors are simple in design & installation so the prices are competitive. They are less expensive than an equivalent sized Bifold set. Wide openings can be accommodated by increasing the number of panels.
One of the drawbacks of sliding styles for 2 panel doors, is that you will lose almost 50% clear opening space because the doors overlap.
This style commonly appears as a set of double doors opening outwards from the centre – sometimes flanked by side panels.
The classic French door features mullioned glass panels (small glass panels) and opens outwards from the middle – you can choose the master door, which is the one that opens first.
- Internal or external quality
- Double glazed
- Most popular designs are available in timber or uPVC
- Multi-point locks & uPVC frames are galvanised steel reinforced
- Low or “no” threshold options for internal doors
The unique benefits come from the styling – you get a classic look that will not go out of fashion. Plus, modern double glazed French doors come with all the added security & energy efficiency you could want – keeping you safe whilst helping to lower your household energy costs.
What do French Doors Cost?
- A standard sized timber French door would cost on average around £500 + fitting
- A standard sized UPVC French door would cost on average around £450 + fitting
- A UPVC French door with 2 side panels would cost on average around £850 + fitting
Pros and cos
The major drawback would be that they are a double door design and for oversize openings you would need to add fixed side panels which means your “through access” is limited to the width of the doors themselves. French Doors tend to cost more than an equivalent sized sliding patio door.
Bifold doors, Sliding patio doors or French doors. Which is the best option?
The answer is going to be subjective and open to personal preferences, but there are some conclusions that we can draw”
- If you have a smaller space to fill, then Bifold doors may not be the best option, because they work best with 3 panels or more – but you can use 2 if you like.
- Sliding patio doors with only 2 panels will only allow you to have “half the door open” – 1 panel overlaps the other within the frame. 3 panel options give you around 60% clear opening.
- For small to medium size openings (up to around 2400 mm) a set of French doors will give almost fully clear entry / exit access when opened.
If you are looking to fit a patio door that is priced well that is “not so fancy”, then sliding patio doors are a good choice.
If you want classic style, then go for French Doors
If you want sleek contemporary design with maximum clear space, then go for Bifold.