Bifold sliding or French doors, what is better?

With many properties having new extensions, our customers often ask about bifold, sliding or French doors and which door type is better for the property or the project overall. Bifold, sliding or French doors all provide a different look, style and functionality and some may work better in some house types than others.

Bifolding doors concertina to open up the entire opening. Sliding doors save space and give you more glass. French doors are great for smaller openings or regular access doors and are easy to use. But there’s more to these doors, as we explain in this article.

Why the choice of bifold sliding or French doors matters

Grey sliding doors on a modern patio with decking and plants

The right choice of sliding patio door is important because each product offers a different experience whether open or closed. The type of property is also a factor. Smaller properties with perhaps one main door out to the garden are likely to use the patio door significantly more than larger houses with more than one garden access door or side doors.

The styling and sightlines are also a consideration when deciding between bifold, sliding or French doors. Each of these door types offers a different aesthetic, frame thicknesses and even the number of visible profiles you see.

The size of the door opening you have can also affect your choice of patio door. Smaller openings don’t give you as many choices, whereas a larger structural opening gives you access to sliding doors and bifolds.

Finally is the user experience. Large sliding doors are naturally heavier to open than a single hinged door. Bifolding doors require more operations to open the entire door set. All of these factors are therefore important.

Bifolding Doors

bifold, sliding or French doors information showing a set of bifold doors in a new room

Choose the right folding sliding door and these remain one of the best patio door types for your property project. Available from two up to more than ten panels, closed they can work just like a regular hinged patio door, making them easy to live with. Open, a bifold is the only patio door that reveals more than 95% of the available opening. Bifolding doors are best when you want to make your room feel larger, connecting it to your patio or garden.

Pros of bifolding doors

  • The only patio door opening up the entire aperture
  • A traffic door works just like a hinged door for everyday convenience
  • Flush or low threshold option
  • Matching single and French doors

Cons of bifolding doors

  • More visible profiles when the doors are closed
  • Take up space when fully open and stacked together
  • Require more operations to fully open up
  • Can be more expensive the more panels you have

Sliding Doors

sliding doors fully open showing a large garden

When you want the largest panes of glass and the best possible views, sliding doors are incredibly popular. These come in two, three or four panels, sometimes even six. When closed, doors in the sliding design give you a more open aspect thanks to their reduced aluminium profiles. Sliding doors are best when you want a more open feel to your room.

Pros of sliding doors

  • No other patio door gives you the largest glass panels
  • Doesn’t take up any space inside or outside as they slide on a track
  • Flush or low threshold option
  • Comes with the slimmest profile sightlines at the mullions

Cons of sliding doors

  • Only provide half or two-thirds of the available opening
  • The larger the doors the heavier they’ll be
  • Larger doors can mean a more complex installation
  • The more panels you have, the deeper the track

French Doors

bifold, sliding or French doors showing PVCu french doors open to a patio

The cheapest and the most convenient in your choice of bifold, sliding or French doors, these are perfect for smaller openings. Often these are better than two panel bifolds as they’re more convenient to open. Choose French doors in aluminium and you get slim sightlines as well as the choice of matching side panels and even a steel-look design.

Pros of French doors

  • Cost-effective, functional and easy to live with
  • Allow access from outside the property
  • Matching side and front doors
  • Ideal for smaller apertures and always in fashion

Cons of French doors

  • Don’t come with a fully flush threshold
  • Restricted by door leaf sizes, won’t go as wide or tall as a sliding door
  • Central mullion is usually thicker
  • Larger openings will require side panels

Tips for choosing between bifold, sliding or French doors

Always view the patio doors you’re interested in or get in touch with us for help and advice. Whether you choose bifold, sliding or French doors, today’s modern products provide the best in security, weather protection and energy efficiency.

Trueglide are specialists in the trade supply of quality patio doors, sliding, folding or hinged, for builders, property professionals or homeowners wanting to buy direct. Contact us today for prices and lead times on our range of products.  

Whether you choose a folding, sliding or hinged door type, all our doors are perfect for the replacement of dated patio doors or a new build openings. All come with a choice of colours, glass options and range of handles.