How Do Internal Bi-fold Doors Work?
Bifolding doors are wood, uPVC or aluminium doors that usually slide on a track in a folding motion, hence the name bi-fold. They can be used as internal or external patio doors, and are primarily installed to add light to a room while only needing a small amount of space to function, creating the illusion of a bigger area.
Daily, we are asked questions surrounding bifolding doors so we decided to write up this nifty guide explaining a few of the most commonly asked questions to give you a better insight into internal bifold doors and how they work.
How Do Bi-fold Doors Open?
Bi-fold doors open in a concertina fashion by folding in on itself in one direction (or in both directions, bifold doors really are that flexible).
Both internal and external bifolding doors can be manufactured to suit your needs, and can be opened outward and inward. The majority of people who purchase bi-fold doors have them opening outwards as this makes it easier for them to design the interior of their room without having to worry about the doors hitting any furniture. However, for internal bifolds they can open inwards or outwards as long as furniture has been taken into consideration on either side of the door; your personal preference is the main factor of which way to open an internal bifold door.
Bifolding doors run on tracks. By opening the door and pushing gently on one side, the door will start to fold in on itself on the track until it’s reaches the wall where each panel is then "stacked up" neatly awaiting closure.
Types Of Bi-fold Doors
Bifold doors come in many styles and sizes. The frames of bifold doors can be wood, uPVC or aluminium, and can be stacked 5 doors deep if required.
When considering a bi-fold door you need to establish whether it’ll be internal as a room divider, or external and leading into your garden, You'll also want to consider the style and whether you want a simple French door size or for the door to cover the entire wall of your house.
Having a wall of glass doors look brilliant from the inside and lets plenty of natural light flow through, however when the door has been opened and stacked you’ll need to remember that having a 7-stacked door will be much thicker, and may stick out from the wall quite considerably, compared to a much smaller 1 or 2 stacked door.
Bi-fold doors as room dividers are brilliant for shutting out noise pollution and separating rooms when required. They’re usually 2-panelled and open and close in the same direction.
Bifold doors can also have an access door if you experience heavy foot traffic in your home. A bifold door with an access door will open the opposite way to the bifold section and will be independent from the rest of the bifolding door. A bi-fold door with an access door is brilliant if you and your family need to move freely from room to room but want to keep the areas closed off for privacy.
What’s more, the access door can be placed at any side of the bifolding door and can be manufactured to open and close in your desired direction, too.
Do All Bi-fold Doors Need a Track?
In short, no. Bifold doors are widely used with top and bottom tracks however this isn’t necessary and it’s completely find to install internal bifold doors without a track.
If you plan to install bifold doors without a top track, then you’ll have some sort of top-hung system in place in order to hold the doors. Having this system in place actually makes your bifolding doors open a lot smoother than if they were on a track.
Bottom tracks are believed to take the weight of the doors and provide support to the top track, and although this is true if you have extremely heavy doors, the majority of the time, this is a common misconception. If you’re installing a bifold door without a bottom track, you’ll have a top-hung system with an angle bracket that attaches to the wall and floor with a pivot pin inserted, this allows the bifold to move freely and increases the door’s flexibility.
Whilst the benefits of a top-hung set of bifold doors make this the better option in terms of movement, if you have a metal bi-fold door, you are more likely to need a track compared to wooden or plastic due to the weight.
What About the Handles?
So, where do bifold door handles go? Although some might find this obvious, bi-fold doors aren’t your average type of door and so the correct placement can often become a challenge. Placing your handles too far to the left or right could potentially damage the door and its track over time, resulting in the need for replacements, especially if it’s an internal door which is opened and closed frequently.
The bifold door handles placement needs to be aesthetically pleasing as well as functional and safe. Using the vertical and horizontal centre of the middle 2 doors as your placement will allow the doors to run smoothly on its tracks and even out any pushing and pulling pressure that may occur when opening and closing the doors.
By using the bi fold door handle location as the middle centre of the door that’s attached to the wall, you’ll be causing unnecessary pressure on the tracking system and guide pins, resulting in premature wearing of the track, causing a need for replacement.
Bifold doors are a simple yet brilliant space saving solution in many homes. Using bifolding doors adds a quick touch of modernisation, especially when used internally, and makes a great room divider whilst opening up your space at the same time.
Bifold doors come with their maintenance as does any door although, looked after correctly, this should be pretty minimal. If you’re thinking about purchasing a set of bifolds but have struggled to understand how they worked, we hope we’ve been able to answer a few of the main, important points to consider when purchasing and installing bifolding doors.