You’ve probably seen bifold doors discussed during home improvement and gardening programmes on television. They are a great way to open up your home or conservatory to allow “the garden into your living room”. The doors slide on tracks and fold away neatly at the side of the frame giving more useful space. External bifold patio doors can be made from uPVC, wood or aluminium, although nowadays manufacturers use uPVC less frequently, because of expansion issues in high temperatures.
The cost of bifold doors in the UK varies depending on the following:
- Construction material.
- Size of panels and door frame.
- Whether you want framed or frameless bifold doors.
- Whether you want bifold or trifold doors.
But, on top of the supply price, you must allow for the cost to install bifold doors too.
Bifold doors offer many benefits to improve your home, here’s just a few. You can merge your garden into your living space and flood your home with natural light. And, they’re made to measure for your situation, simple to use and need hardly any maintenance.
The average cost to buy a set of small bifold doors sits around £2500 to £3000, while large ones can be anything over £7000. To install these, factor in an additional £600 to £1000 depending on size.
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External Bifold Door Prices Compared
Let’s look at these general costs in more detail. Prices vary with the manufacturer and installer, style, and type of finish. You’ll also find higher labour charges in and around London when compared to the rest of the UK.
|Material||Width||Number of panes||Installation||Minimum estimated cost|
uPVC Bifold Doors
Usually, if you want cheap bifold doors, choose from the uPVC range. In general, although prices vary depending on style etc. they start from around £1500 (not including glass, fittings and installation). Manufacturers make the doors from the same material as uPVC windows, namely white plastic. This means they’ll look okay on modern homes, but not so good on period properties. Like other uPVC products, they’re cheap to make and need very little maintenance. However, manufacturers found that uPVC expanded and contracted by up to 3mm during extreme temperatures, which interfered with the smooth running of the doors. Many companies no longer offer these to customers or restrict their sales to 2 or 3 pane doors.
uPVC units are as strong as timber doors but more durable. However, they have the lowest thermal efficiency of the three types, and not surprisingly, they’re also the least environmentally friendly.
Aluminium Bifold Foors
Aluminium bi-folding doors cost more than the other materials. This is mainly because the material is so much more superior. Aluminium is stronger than wood or uPVC so you can have narrower panel frames for the folding glass doors, allowing more light in and better views.
Usually, modern aluminium doors have a thermal break included within the framework to increase their thermal efficiency. Aluminium is a highly durable material. It doesn’t discolour, unlike uPVC and wood. It won’t warp, rust or need painting. In fact, the only maintenance needed is an occasional splash of oil on the runners and hinges, and a regular wash down with clean water.
On an environmental note, aluminium doors are fully recyclable and can be reused over and over again. They are finished in a powder coat, not paint, and you can have just about any colour or wood effect you can think of. Prices vary depending on the usual factors, but a typical basic frame will cost around £3000 (excluding glass, fittings, and installation).
Natural Wood Bifold Doors
Although these aren’t the best bifold doors you can buy, they’re still more expensive than uPVC and at least as expensive as aluminium. Usually, prices vary due to the usual factors. But, a typical frame costs about £3000 and can rise to about £5000 for composite timber (excluding glass, installation and fittings). Wood looks good when properly finished. But, when exposed to extreme weather, such as damp or sunlight, can swell and warp. So, this might be ok in a single opening door, but when we’re talking about bifold, there’s a good chance that the panels will rub against each other, or frames and runners.
Furthermore, wooden doors need every surface sealed against damp air or else problems occur. This means regular maintenance. They need their hinges and runners oiled every so often as well as a couple of coats of varnish or paint on every surface. Although, pretty straightforward on the faces and side edges, this isn’t easy on the top and bottom edges where they meet the rail runners. Nowadays, wooden joinery comes from trees in managed forests. And, at the end of their lifecycle can be recycled into chipboard or MDF.
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Bifold Door Installation Costs
The installation cost of bifold doors will vary a lot too. If this is the first time you’ve had them installed, you’ll need an opening cut in the wall. And, a large lintel installed to support the upper floors and roof. However, if this is a replacement for an existing set of bifolds or a patio door set, you’ll already have the preliminary work done. Removal of an existing wall and installing a lintel will take a general builder and labourer about a day (not including time for cement mortar and plaster to set).
When installing the bifold frame, use a spirit level to ensure the cill and head are level, the jambs should be vertical, and every part of the frame must be ‘true’. That is, opposite parts of the frame must be parallel. Finally, place the frame in the opening and use folding wedges to fit it into place before fixing it permanently.
A typical bifold door and frame, especially the wider ones, weigh a lot. If the frame bows anywhere, the doors will end up rubbing against the frame, and not closing properly. To prevent any frame movement, fix it using suitable screws along both jambs and the head at around 600mm apart. Additionally, use screw fixings in each corner between 150mm and 250mm from each corner.
Generally, you’ll find that larger frames take longer to install, as do more panels, so will be more expensive. However, you’ll find that wider panels won’t cost more to hang than narrow ones. So try to have as few panels as possible over the total width of the frames. By the way, aluminium panels are stronger and can be wider than wooden or uPVC panels.
There are two types of bifold doors:
1. Top hung
With top-hung doors, the entire weight of the doors is concentrated on the frame head. This has already been fixed to the lintel so all the weight hangs from there. If you Include the double–glazed glass, each panel weighs about 40kg to 50kg each. So, you can see how much weight hangs from the lintel. Make sure it’s strong enough to support the wall above and the load below.
You must make sure you have a structurally sound lintel, so make sure you get advice from a structural engineer or an experienced general builder, before installing the bifolds.
Furthermore, top hung systems have a larger frame head into which you can conceal the operating mechanism. Also, the top track is less likely to have dirt and leaves stuck in it.
2. Bottom rolling
With these, the weight of the door panels rests onto the track on the cill, so you don’t need such a large frame head and lintel. Moreover, there’s less chance of the door panels dropping due to the frame head sagging and they’re easier to install. However, unlike the top hung scenario, the track might become clogged with leaves or grit blown in from the garden. So make sure you keep it clean.
You’ve probably heard of U-values when talking about loft insulation or double glazing. Well, they crop up in bifold doors too. Among other things, the UK Building Regulations require external doors and windows to comply with a certain maximum U-Value (A small U-Value is better than a large one). Typically, U-Values for double glazing ranges from 1.2 to 3.7 W/m2K. However, something like a bifold door comprises a double or triple glazed panel, the frame (wood, uPVC, or aluminium), installation quality and the various seals and thermal breaks. Using all these factors in a calculation will produce a composite U-Value, which the manufacturer should be able to supply. According to Part L of the Building Regulations, standard replacement doors must have a combined U-Value of less than 1.8 and windows, no higher than 1.6.
Benefits of Bifold Doors
So, what advantages do bifold doors give to you?
More natural light
Bifold doors give a lot more light than standard doors and windows. Sliding doors always have a fixed panel along with the sliding one, which means that you can only ever use half of the opening. In fact, if you compare sliding with bifold doors, bifolds have narrower panel frames, wider and taller openings, and the ability to seamlessly join your living and outdoor space.
You don’t need to be physically outside to experience it. As, you can fold back all the doors, and experience outdoor living while staying in your house. Therefore, you have indoor comfort while enjoying outdoor fresh air.
Uses very small space
Sliding patio doors must always slide behind another door or window to create an opening. Whereas bifold doors fold back onto themselves at the side of the frame. This ensures you have the maximum possible opening area. So, if you compare sliding doors vs bifold doors, you have far more available open space.
Bifold doors have multiple locking points, internally beaded frames and secure hinges. Compare this with other glass doors, which usually only have a single locking point. And, it goes without saying that the double glazed unit uses strengthened glass as a safety aspect anyway, which makes it harder to break into.
Flexibility to open
You can open as many or as few bifold panels as you prefer. That means, if it’s cold and dreary outside, you only have to open the first panel to find yourself in the garden. Whereas, if the sun is shining, you can open more panels as you require.
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If you don’t wash glass regularly, it becomes dull and smeared with dust, grime and small children’s fingerprints. In contrast, you only need to use diluted detergent to have the glass sparkling and clear like new. Also, you just need to occasionally lubricate the hinges and tracks, to allow them to operate for many years.
They look good
Without a doubt, bifold doors look modern and sophisticated, and will always stand out. However, apart from that, they are efficient and do the job they were designed for. They beat sliding patio doors or hinged French windows every time.
Let’s look at the additional features you get with bifold doors either as a necessity or as an option.
You need some way to shed the rain away from the underside of the frame. A fitted cill projects from the base of the door and diverts the rainwater, preventing damp from seeping under the door. This is a necessity for external doors unless you can protect the doors from the rain in other ways, such as an overhanging shelter. Expect to pay an extra £15 to £20 per panel for this.
Do you need a traffic door?
If you just want to nip outside to bring in the laundry from the washing line, the last thing you want is to open the complete bifold door set. That’s why you can use the first panel as a ‘traffic or personnel’ door. The door set is arranged in such a way that you can open this first panel without disturbing the remainder.
Odd or even number of door panels?
You can choose, depending on which best suits your purpose. Generally, try to have large glass panels and fewer door panels. This will maximise the amount of light and minimise the visible panel frames.
Inwards or outwards opening?
You can be as flexible as you want. You can have all panels opening out, all opening in, or a mixture of the two. It’s completely up to you. However, remember some practicalities. Most people choose outward folding doors for a couple of simple reasons:
- When folded back, the indoor furniture won’t get in the way of the door panels.
- If it’s been raining and the panels are wet, you can fold them back without worrying whether the water drips on your carpet.
The UK Building Regulations require your home to have sufficient ventilation. You can achieve this without opening the windows, by installing trickle vents. They are small openings with a cover, that you can open or close as required, usually set into the top of each door panel. Trickle vents not only provide fresh air into the room but also reduce the risk of condensation damp forming. Usually, the quoted price includes these as standard, but check with your manufacturer before you go ahead with the purchase. If they’re not, then you will pay around £100 to £150 extra.
There are a lot of myths circulating about bifold doors not being secure. Fortunately, the myths are false. New door sets all have multipoint locking systems as well as toughened double glazing panels. So, as far as these are concerned the bifolds will be at least as secure as any other door or window in the house. Furthermore, if you engage the locking mechanism, all the locks on each panel secure the doors in place. Also, the inline tracking system gives an added level of security. The design prevents ‘would-be’ burglars from lifting the doors out of the channel.
Where can we use bifold doors?
Bifold doors are extremely flexible. You can use them indoors to turn a large room into two smaller ones, or vice versa. Or, you can use them to separate and include your living space from the conservatory. Finally, you can use them to open up your home to the garden. Each application uses the space in your home to the best advantage, and probably more importantly, gives flexibility.
There are a wealth of extras you can add to your bifold doors. Here are just a few of these. However, bear in mind that each one will cost extra.
- Non-standard colouring and patterns.
- Manual blinds.
- Electric blinds.
- A range of handles and locks.
- Electric door opening.
What are Bifold Doors?
Installing bifold doors allow you to have a choice between separating your indoor living space from the garden, and making them both into a seamless unit.
The frame can fit any size opening, from 2 or 3 panels up to the entire side of a house. Furthermore, each set of doors consists of several door panels hinged together so that when opened they ‘concertina’ to the side. Then, they fold into the minimum volume possible.
They run on guide channels, either hanging from the frame head (top hung) or supported by the cill (bottom rolling). You should make your choice, in conjunction with the manufacturer or installer, bearing in mind your circumstances and where you intend installing the door set.
You will find bifold doors between your home and garden or separating two indoors rooms. And, some people even use them as garage or workshop doors.
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What Makes Them So Popular?
If you’ve read this far, you’ll probably have a good idea of why they’re so popular. But to reiterate, let’s just say that they’re versatile, they allow you to extend your living space into the garden, they have a high level of thermal insulation, and when closed they’ll provide as much daylight as possible.
Trade Bodies & Certifications
Bifold doors are difficult to construct and install. So, they need skilled professionals ranging from the design room to manufacturing to installation. Manufacturers and installers must be skilled and experienced in their trade, and be members of different trade bodies to act as regulators.
This organisation has very strict membership conditions and criteria, to give the consumer peace of mind when dealing with builders. FMB members also benefit from a special insurance cover.
Trading Standards approve this organisation as one that provides a service to consumers when dealing with businesses. It gives information on how to find a registered trader and helps consumers settle disputes.
DGCOS provides a list of installers local to you who are known to be trustworthy. They specifically handle installers who deal with windows, doors and conservatories. They also vet their accredited installers, so you don’t have to.
FENSA certificates provide evidence that
- Your installation complies with the UK Building Regulations.
- Is an energy–efficient product.
- The installer has registered the windows and doors with the local council. If you don’t have a FENSA certificate, you must pay for the local council’s Building Control officer to visit and assess the installation.
This company is a UKAS accreditation testing service for comparing construction materials against British and European standards, CE marking and other third party certificates. So, provides a quality check on the materials used in construction.
The TrustMark Scheme is a UK government–endorsed quality scheme. They ensure that all registered participating companies are technically competent, have good customer and after–sales service and offer good trading practices. They exist to help the consumer who decides to have work done in their home.
Bifold Doors Cost FAQ
Do I need planning permission?
Usually, you don’t need planning permission to install bifold doors. However, if you live in a listed building or a conservation area, you might have to comply with certain restrictions. It’s a good idea to contact your local council and ask for their advice.
What are the standard sizes for bifold doors?
Usually, bifold doors have two standard heights, 2090mm and 2100mm. However, their widths vary depending on the opening you have in the wall. So, they can range from a 2–panel bifold measuring 1800mm, followed by 2100mm, 2400mm, 2700mm, 3000mm, 3600mm, 4200mm, and finally one with 6 panels measuring 4800mm. Furthermore, if your opening is non-standard, you could have one constructed to suit your specific measurements.
Do bifold doors add value?
Definitely! A well made and installed bifold door can add between 5% and 10% to the resale value of your home. At the very least, having one will improve the saleability of your property.
Which is better bifold or sliding doors?
The answer depends on what you value most. Sliding doors can have much larger panels than bifold doors because they run on rollers along their full length. Whereas, bifold doors have narrower panels, which means more frame to block out your view when closed. However, bifold doors can use many panels to span a distance of up to about 5m. And, when they are open fully, there isn’t anything in the way to detract from the view or the outdoors/indoors experience.
How big should an opening be for bifold doors?
This will depend on your chosen size of door panels and the configuration you’ve decided to have. However, there are certain practicalities that you must consider.
- The span of the opening determines the height of the lintel, which will have a direct impact on the available opening measurements.
- The tracking system will use up about 50mm, so this will reduce the available height as well.
- The manufacturer makes allowances for fitting tolerances when constructing the frame. Ideally, the frame must slide into the opening without any contact as this would prevent fixing the frame squarely in the opening. Generally, manufacturers make the frame to be the size of the structural opening minus 10mm or 15mm. Then, the frame fits into the opening using folding wedges followed by suitable fixings. Finally, the installer uses expanding polyurethane foam to fill the gaps.
How long do bifold doors last?
This depends on the construction material, manufacturing quality and quality of the installation. An aluminium bifold door set might be more expensive than the others, but the material is robust and durable. An estimated life span can be up to 45 to 50 years.
Are bifold doors easy to break into?
The answer to this is a simple NO!
Bifold doors, even the cheaper ones, have multipoint locking systems, laminated double glazing units and secure tracking systems. So, it will be very difficult for a burglar to break the lock, smash the windows or lift the doors from the track. In fact, it’ll probably be easier to avoid your house, move on, and find somewhere less fortified!
Do bifold doors leak?
Bifold doors have extremely low maintenance requirements and probably only need to be looked at once a year. However, remember that like any other door, a build–up of debris such as leaves, sand and mud will affect their opening and closing performance. Winter months are worst with strong winds and driving rain. So, if you live near the coast, or among trees, you should clean out the tracks and drainage channel more often to prevent leaks.
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Bifold doors will allow you to merge your outdoor and indoor life, thereby helping to improve your family’s health. If you want to know the cost of bifold door installation, complete the form on this page. Afterwards, you’ll then receive 3 or 4 quotes from local installers. We’ve already vetted their credentials so you don’t have to.
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