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What are Internal Bi-fold Doors?

How Bi-fold doors work

open internal bifold doors

A bi-fold door is built from several panels, each attached to its neighbours in a concertina arrangement. The entire thing can thus collapse neatly into a very small space. The panels are, in turn, attached to a rail via a series of rolling trolleys, found either on the ceiling above the door or the floor beneath it. When you’d like to open the door, you need only slide them to one side – the rail will bear the weight, and ensure that the force is translated only in one direction. 

Bi-fold doors come in several different forms. In some cases, all the panels are attached at the same side of the frame – so that the entire thing moves only to one side. In other cases, there are two equal sets of panels which extend from either side of the frame and meet in the centre. The latter variety is called ‘french-fold’ doors – and they make a great substitute for traditional French doors if you’d like to allow more space to be opened between two environments. Check our article on bifold vs French doors to see which one is right for you. 

In some cases, it might be desirable to have just a single panel on one side. That way, it’ll be possible to move from one area to another without going to the trouble of fully opening the door. Such a solution is useful in external doors, as it’ll prevent too much cold air from blowing into the home while the door is open.

Since the panels which make up a bi-fold door can be arranged in almost any manner you can think of, it’s a very flexible solution which can be adapted to almost any home and budget. 

Are Bi-fold doors safe?

As bi-fold doors involve more movement when opening and closing than standard doors, we often get asked if they are safe. Due to the fact that there are many moving parts featured on internal bi fold doors, it’s worth looking at how to childproof bi-fold doors, if you’ve got small children in the house.

You can make your bifold doors safer using one of several different devices. You might consider a plastic slider lock, which consists of a plastic cap and a spacer designed to fit over the middle of the door’s joint. This prevents it from bending while the door is closed, and thereby prevents the door from opening. In the case of French fold doors, you might employ a simple rope, or length of chain with a padlock, to tether the sets of handles together. 

Devices of this sort tend to be a little crude – but they’re a good option for minimising risk over the few years where your child will be vulnerable to getting their hands trapped in the door. More substantial bolts and locks can be affixed to the bottom or top of the door, but such solutions will involve spending more money, and altering the door permanently.

In most cases, there’s little need for worry. While there’s a remote chance of trapped fingers, it’s one that can be easily offset with a few simple precautions. Instructing your child not to play with the doors is often a good place to start.

Are bi-fold doors a good idea?

interior bifold door

One of the key virtues of internal bi-fold doors is that they don't swing outward in the same way that an ordinary door would. Depending on how many panels it comprises, it’ll instead concertina, expanding outwards only slightly. This arrangement allows a door to be much larger, making bi-fold doors an excellent choice for creating temporary divides between two adjoining rooms. If you find yourself frequently sitting in the living room while having a conversation with someone in the kitchen, then you might consider a bi-fold door as a means of bridging the gap between the two.

Not only do bi-fold doors serve a practical purpose, but they also help to provide an interior with some much-needed visual interest. After all, a large and imposing door that’s suspended from the ceiling via a rail, along which it seamlessly glides, is sure to attract a great deal more attention than a more traditional design. 

If you’re looking for a way to boost the sense of space in your home, improve the light dispersal throughout it, and introduce a little bit of visual interest, then a bi-fold door might be just the thing!