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Bi-Fold Doors vs French Doors

Benefits of Bi-fold doors

white internal bifold doors

A set of bi-folding doors consists of two or more panels, each attached to its neighbour by a hinge so that the whole door is able to fold in on itself in a concertina. This design minimises the outward area the door needs to open into, and so it’s possible to create extremely large doors that don’t encroach outward into the surrounding space.

This makes internal bi-fold doors an excellent choice for those looking to maximise the space in their interior. Adjoining two rooms, a good folding door can be collapsed until a single larger space is effectively created. Adjoining a garden, it can have the same effect – allowing an uninterrupted space between your lawn and your lounge. If you’re looking for total integration between two environments in your home, then bi-fold remains the gold standard.

Bi-folding doors are also highly adaptable. The panels can be arranged so that they all attach to one side of the frame so that the door collapses in one direction. Or, they can be attached to both, in a ‘french-fold’ arrangement where an equal number of panels fold outwards to meet in the middle. Some folding doors, particularly external ones, will come with a single panel on one side, so that you can easily move through without going to the trouble of opening out the entire door. This arrangement is ideal for the winter when you need to get out into the garden without filling your house with freezing wind.

Benefits of French Doors 

wooden internal french doors

French doors are double-doors which are heavily glazed. The name stems from when glass was becoming widespread in France, a few centuries ago. Electric lighting had not yet been invented, and so French aristocrats turned to the new glazing technology to inject a bit of light into their stately homes while still excluding draughts. They remain a classic choice for modern homeowners looking to achieve the same objective.

The appeal of French doors mostly lies in their simplicity. They can be simply installed, and they don’t require much maintenance after the fact. They also tend to command lower prices, making them a sensible choice for homeowners with a tighter budget.

Though a set of French doors might be inherently smaller than a set of folding ones, one can still achieve that huge, expansive effect with the help of sidelights and transoms. These are windows which sit respectively to either side and on top of the door, allowing more light to permeate from one side to the other. They’re often found in entranceways, but they’re just as useful in interiors, too. If you’ve got a wide space to fill, then a combination of a set of French doors with a series of windows on either side can provide a great substitute for a set of bi-folding doors.

Which to Buy?

Glazed doors of both sorts make a great choice for both interior and exterior doors. They allow for superior light dispersal around the home, which invariably helps to make it seem larger. This impression of space will make a space distinctly more pleasant to inhabit, even if no real extra space has been created.

If you’re faced with a choice between the two technologies we’ve discussed, your decision will largely be informed by the space you’re shopping for, and your budget. Since they require more materials and are more difficult to engineer, folding doors tend to command higher prices than their more traditional counterparts. This outlay will, however, contribute to the value of your property, and so often makes a worthwhile long-term investment.

For smaller entranceways, a set of French Doors might provide some competition for a bi-fold door – their look is undoubtedly classic, and their popularity is enduring. If you’ve got a larger space to fill, then a set of folding doors will do so. While the addition of sidelights might help light to disperse light between two spaces, they’re no substitute for the complete integration that a proper set of bi-fold doors can achieve. Folding doors can be constructed in a host of diverse ways, and so they’re likely to provide a match for whatever space you have in mind.