Timber, Aluminium or PVC bifold doors?

Timber, Aluminium or PVC Bifolds

What material bifolding doors should you choose?

If you’re buying a set of bifolding patio doors for the first time, knowing how to decide which material to go for can seem like a bit of a mystery. The three options of timber, aluminium and PVC are all very different from each other, but no material ticks every single box so it’s a case of weighing up the pros and cons to find the best fit for your home. Luckily, we’re here to talk you through each potential material for your bifolds to help you make the right decision.

 

PVC Bifold Doors

PVC – or polyvinyl chloride if you’re feeling fancy – is a widely produced plastic that’s used to make a broad range of products from waste pipes to window frames. PVC is very cheap to manufacture and highly versatile, allowing it to be shaped into cross-sectional profiles with large air chambers that improve the insulation of your doors. Although most commonly supplied in white, it is possible to source PVC bifolds in almost any colour. While PVC is very easy to maintain, the plastic can unavoidably make the doors look like a budget option. It’s not a particularly strong material either, resulting in bifolding doors that can feel flimsy, which isn’t ideal in situations where structural stability is highly important.

PVC Pros:

  • Very cost effective
  • Decent thermal insulator
  • Low maintenance

PVC Cons:

  • Budget appearance
  • Low structural strength

 

Timber Bifold Doors

Wooden bifolds are the classic option amongst the three, and for good reason. Timber bifolds will look beautiful on any property, whether they’re finished with a stain to display the natural grain or painted a feature colour to compliment the rest of the house. Wood is also a fantastic natural insulator, while also being inherently strong. There are also options on the specific species used – Oak and Pine for example – to accommodate pretty much any budget. Old manufacturing methods used to leave the doors vulnerable to warping or bowing, but modern constructions are designed to resist these problems providing the doors are looked after. Maintenance is the main downside of timber bifolds, requiring a check over every 6 months or so and a quick touch up in the event of any finish deterioration.

Timber Pros:

  • Versatile appearance, premium feel
  • Options for all budgets
  • Good thermal insulator

Timber Cons:

  • Finish maintenance required
  • Failing to maintain the finish can result in problems such as bowing and splitting

 

Aluminium Bifold Doors

While aluminium bifolds are the newest option for homeowners, they’ve quickly established themselves and their presence continues to grow. Aluminium is both incredibly strong and relatively lightweight, making it a superb material for constructing bifolding doors out of. Its characteristic strength allows the framing around each pane of glass to be very slim, creating a sleek minimalist effect that had, up until recently, been reserved for bespoke architectural projects. It is also highly durable, requiring no maintenance of the finish and minimal upkeep needed for the rest of set. Aluminium bifolds tend to be supplied power coated in your choice of finish from RAL colour charts, giving you almost endless options. This all comes at a cost though; aluminium is by far the most expensive material out of the three due to the high costs involved in producing the metal itself. Also, being a metal, aluminium is a very poor insulator. Manufacturers limit the effects of this by incorporating thermal breaks – sections of a better insulating material – into the structure, but aluminium sets still depend heavily on the glass used to achieve acceptable insulation performance.

Aluminium Pros:

  • Structural strength
  • Slim sightlines
  • Wide range of finish options
  • Low maintenance

Aluminium Cons:

  • Most expensive option
  • Poor insulator

 

Conclusion

As you can see from our breakdown, each option definitely has its place. Although the positives and negatives of each material vary quite widely, this does mean that you should be able to find an ideal match, whatever your budget or the style of your project. Head over to our external bifold doors page to view the ranges we’ve currently got for sale, or give our office a call on 020 3744 0704 if you’d like any further advice.

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