Bi-Fold or Sliding Doors on our extension - advice please??

Gerty Werty
3 years ago

We are just about to get drawings done for an extension but we are still in a dilemma as to what to do at the rear of the extension. We have a lovely view and want to make the most of it. i notice a lot of people say the weather does not do the doors justice in the UK - we are based in Perth Scotland. What is the best solution? It is an large u-shaped open plan living space. Overall dimensions are 33ft (rear wall for doors?) x 25ft. And if we do go for one of these types of openings, where should i get them from as we are based in Perth? Sorry so many questions!! (PS, Sorry about the mud in the photo - we are having our garden landscaped!)

Comments (15)

  • ianthy
    You might think about a combination of doors - maybe sliding and a large picture window to make the most if the views all year round.

    We recently had 3m bifold doors and a large picture window installed by the bifold shop based in Gloucester, but the operate nationwide. Very happy with their service and cost.
    Gerty Werty thanked ianthy
  • acew1234
    I'm on Arran and am having a house designed at the moment.
    We have big north facing views and have decided on wide sliding Windows and a large box picture window to be used as a window seat.

    I doubt I would really get to use bifolds in our climate, if it is warm then opening the house up to midgies isn't a good idea.
    I also decided sliding door have less framing, bifolds will cut the view up.
    Gerty Werty thanked acew1234
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  • PRO
    Kitchenpod - Temporary Kitchen Hire (Home use)
    Hi. Our architect took a different view. That having some detail in the window helps adds character. All a matter of opinion but if you have a nice view it will look nice however it is framed. Is it windy? Sliding would be better than bifold in that case. Rgds. Ed
    Gerty Werty thanked Kitchenpod - Temporary Kitchen Hire (Home use)
  • PRO

    As angelaew said, sliding doors have slimmer profile frames and the option for larger panels so you get more glass and less framework to obstruct your view. On the flipside, bifold doors can be folded back all the way which means you can open out the doors to the full width of the opening whereas sliding doors mean at least one panel width will be closed at all times.

    Another factor to consider is that bifold doors allow a normal hinged door for access but a sliding door can be heavy to move if you just need to get in and out. The costs are pretty similar so it basically depends on what your priorities are.

    Hope this helps! Good luck!


    Gerty Werty thanked Feioi
  • PRO
    Oasys Property Solutions

    +1 for sliding doors/picture window

    55MR Extensions, remodelling and refurbishment of 1930s property · More Info

    Gerty Werty thanked Oasys Property Solutions
  • tweakyb

    Either look really lovely. My prev extension I had bi-folds. However living in Northern Ireland and room north facing they were only opened a few times. The people who have bought the house said they have opened them fully twice in last three years. I am now doing a another renovation in 110 year old house. Garden is south facing but have went with patio doors with 2 glass panels that fold right back on each other. A third of the price of the bi-fold, and more in keeping with age of house than sliding. They aren't fitted yet so hope I have made right decision?

    Gerty Werty thanked tweakyb
  • PRO
    Synseal Group
    Go for the new generation of bifold doors called Warmcore - you can get a u value of 0.9 triple glazed - very thermally efficient. Individual leaf width of 1.0m and up to 6.0m wide. A 4-1 combination will give you a traffic door and a big opening door for when the weather is good. They have a good magnet solution to secure the leaf when it's windy
    Gerty Werty thanked Synseal Group
  • PRO
    DAG Inter ltd


    Both will look lovely with that type of view. We have found that sliding doors need less Adjustment long term. Costs a similar so personally it comes down to preference . Good luck and please keep us informed the choice you went for .

    Gerty Werty thanked DAG Inter ltd
  • Gerty Werty

    thanks everyone for their comments - very interesting!

    Tweakyb - where do you get your glazing from? it sounds interesting.

  • PRO
    Wonkee Donkee XL Joinery

    Glazed doors are available in various styles. You can get good-quality folding doors in white or oak with large clear glass that will open up half of your wall when open but will provide you with an excellent view when they are closed. Additional windows or glazed external doors on the side wall would easily give you access to the views.
    15ft folding doors that are fully glazed

  • PRO
    Reid Architects

    I enjoyed reading the responses above and there is some great feedback from people with experience of the products. We like uninterrupted views - so sliders in preference - which reduces the amount of solid structure. And agree that there are a limited number of UK days when fully open is comfortable. Though having a roof projection over the opening means that open doors when it is raining is possible - a real treat sometimes to sit and hear rainfall. Always have a single leaf hinged door close by for day to day use - neither sliders or bi-fold are good for frequent use in my view. Push the boundary for budget as far as you can be comfortable with on this element - whether bi-fold or sliding. As a moving piece of architecture you need to know it will perform mechanically over time and that the weather exclusion is the best you can achieve (your picture looks beautiful but I suspect Perth has the odd off day!).

    Simon Reid

  • Bow Sward
    We are in London and put in white aluminium powder coated bifolds two summers ago ordered from a local window installer. Although I take the point about midges, especially in Scotland, we put up with the insects (get as many interesting ones like lacewings as we do unwanted ones and they all tend to take themselves out again anyway) for the wonderful view when they are fully open. We have neighbours with sliding glass (which does have narrower frames) but their remaining fixed section has to be immaculately clean to even approach having as good a view as ours - the effect just isn't the same. We also quite like having a triptych of the garden when it's pouring with rain or too cold to have them open. Our weather is probably drier than Perth's but we have them open very frequently at least some, if not all of the day, several times a week on average from early Spring to late Autumn.
  • Lisa Burdett
    Bi folds only work if the outside ground is the same level. Otherwise not worth the added expense. I personally prefer French doors with Windows either side. Much more character and less cost.
  • tweakyb

    Hi- maybe I made the patio doors sound more exciting that they are?? They are four panels- the 2 outer ones are fixed (Windows really) the 2 doors in centre have 360 hinges so doors fold right back. It is just a local supplier. Ours are hardwood- but they can B done with these hinges in other materials too.

  • PRO

    There is no right or wrong answer - and
    as suppliers and installers of award winning versions of both bifold AND sliding door
    systems we have no bias towards one or the other. Our teams install nationally, from Shetland to the Channel Islands...and everywhere in between.

    When we get asked this question by customers there are a number of
    initial things we would ask to try and make some recommendations - and
    we have written a blog all about these. Probably the most valuable question is realistically how often are you likely to have the doors fully open.

    Our SF55 aluminium bifold doors can be manufactured up to 1.1m wide and have an
    industry leading narrow sightline of 115mm (the amount of frame visible
    when closed) and over a 29' 6" run of 9x1m panels you will have 8
    intermediate frames totalling 920mm of aluminium.

    We do two aluminium sliding door systems the Grand Slider (83mm sightlines) or our award winning theEDGE
    (narrow 24mm sightline) - both can take glass sizes of up to 3m wide so
    over a 9m run of 3x3m panels you will have 166mm of intermediate
    aluminium visible with the Grand Slider and just 48mm visible with

    So if your doors are closed more often than open there is
    significantly less frame than glass in sliding doors - maximising your views - however the trade
    off is that unless you opt for a pocket slider you are not able to open a
    sliding door completely to create a total 9m opening like you are with
    bifold doors - you would only open 6m of the 7m (or 6.75m if you went
    for four sliding door panels).

    In terms of thermal performance both SF55 and the sliding door
    systems can be double or triple glazed and achieve pretty similar
    U-Values and in terms of price the SF55 and Grand Slider systems work
    out to be almost identical - although theEDGE is a bit more because of
    the advanced engineering required to create such a narrow profile. There is also the option of the SF75 bifold door which has a U-Value of 0.9W/m2K which is the lowest of any aluminium system on the market.

    Given your location and your views, my personal recommendation would be sliding doors, because you maximise your views even when closed - but it is whatever is best for you and it may well be a combination of sliding doors and fixed frames provide the perfect and cost effective solution.

    If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask and good luck with your project!

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