Internal bi-fold doors offer the most luxurious alternative to room transitions. Their space saving properties make them a must have for any modern home decor. But when looking for internal bi-fold doors, it’s easy to be disorientated by the sheer number of options available.
What are internal bi-fold doors?
Internal bi-fold doors are comprised of at least two (and often more) wooden panels, each of which is connected to the last via a hinge. This allows the whole door to collapse in on itself in a concertina arrangement. This function has lead them to be also known as concertina doors, or folding doors.
Smaller bi-fold doors are often found on the front of storage cupboards, but now larger ones are becoming increasingly popular. Sometimes even at several metres wide, these internal doors have been known to replace even french doors and even sliding patio doors.
Up to several metres wide, they can provide a means of opening out a space and giving a home the instant impression of roominess. As we’ll see, internal folding doors differ tremendously in ways other than sheer size.
What’s the door made from?
Interior bi-fold doors can be made from as many different materials as any other door you might find in your home. In commercial and industrial premises, they’re often made from aluminium. Aluminium bifold doors are “thermally broken”, which provides them with the best in thermal efficiency. Along with clear toughened safety glass, internal bi-fold doors can increase both your home’s efficiency, security, and natural light flow.
When it comes to internal bifold doors, wood is the most popular material. Wooden internal doors give a classically attractive look, and can be easily painted and decorated to suit your home’s interior. In order to give a pleasing finish at a lesser cost, you might opt for a veneer finish on your door. This involves covering the door with a thin layer of softwood, in order to give the impression that the door is made from solid oak. Since bifold doors aren’t expected to endure the same amount of abrasion as tables and flooring, we can safely use veneer without fear that it will prematurely fade.
Where is the track?
Bifold doors are fixed into position via a rail and a series of rollers. This hardware ensures that the entire weight of the folding doors does not rest upon its hinged. These can either be installed on the floor or ceiling of your home, giving you the versatility of choice.
Floor mounted rails will either sit within the floor, or protrude from just above it. Floor mounted bi-folding doors will require slight floor modification. This will however remove it as a trip hazard from your home, making it easier to transition between rooms.
Ceiling-mounted tracks help to avoid these problems altogether. As they sit above your head, there is barely any chance that they’ll interfere with your day-to-day life. What’s more, they’ll help to create a seamless transition from one room to the other. Besides, we tend to spend more of our time looking at things on the floor than we do things on the ceiling.
How many panels are there?
One of the most obvious ways in which bifold interior doors differ from one another concerns the number of panels they contain. Unlike french doors, which generally consist of 1 panel for each door, bifold doors can be comprised in a variety of arrangements.
While you might reasonably assume that internal folding doors can only have two folds, there’s no reason that one can’t have three, four, or even five if the situation demands it. If you’re covering a larger area, then you might need to choose between many smaller panels and a few larger ones. When you’re considering this, be sure to consider the impact that the folded doors will have once they’ve been folded away. If you’ve got furniture on either side of the area where the doors will be stowed, then you might find larger doors consume a little bit too much space.
This makes interior bifold doors suitable for a variety of rooms in every home. Their variety in shape and size make them much more ideal than french doors, and are a fantastic alternative to other traditional internal doors.
What is the door’s U-value?
When we’re making choices for our home, we need to consider their thermal efficiency as well as their look. This thermal efficiency tends to be listed in terms of the U-value, which describes the speed at which energy will pass from one side of the door to the other. Lower u-values are assigned to more efficient doors. On the other hand, you might find doors described on a graded lettered scale, with ‘A’ rating being the best and ‘G’ rating being the worst. All other things being equal, it’s best to select doors with higher ratings.
Does the door contain glass?
Many internal bi-fold doors come with glass panels installed. This allows natural light to flow between one room and another, and helps to create the impression of space even when the door is closed. Naturally, the amount of glass you want in your bifold door will depend on where it’s being used. If privacy is important when the door is closed, you’ll want minimal glass. If it isn’t, then a few glass panels can make a valuable difference to the impact the door has on your home. In exterior doors, you’ll want to ensure that these panels are double-glazed or triple-glazed, but this is less of a concern for interior bifold doors.
What sort of accessories does the door include?
Finally, you’ll want to pair your door with handles that match its look, and that of the surrounding interior. Fortunately, there are a myriad of options available on this front. Dark metal handles and hinges on a pale door can help to provide contrast, as can gleaming brass ones on a dark door.
As we’ve seen, if you’re shopping for folding internal doors, there is enormous scope for tailoring and customisation. There’s no need to make compromises on the overall theme of the room when you come to install the door – just take a look through the different categories available on this very website, and pick out something that works for your room of choice.