Comparing Sliding Doors with Bifolding & French Doors

If you are thinking about improving your home, you may be comparing sliding doors with bifold doors and French doors. The right choice of door impacts the space in your home, access inside and out as well as how you use it.  Furthermore, if you are renovating your home to sell on, the style and type of door could even affect its value or desirability to prospective buyers. Here’s some help and advice helping you when comparing sliding doors with other types of doors.

comparing sliding doors for door replacements or a new extension

Comparing sliding doors with other types of patio doors.

Take a look at our complete bifolds range in aluminium and other materials

Slimline, steel-look and even interior sliders for your property project.

French doors and steel-inspired Crittall® style exterior and internal doors

In choosing the best door for your home, there are several things to consider between the main types of doors.

  • What is the difference between bifolding, sliding and French Doors?
  • What are the pros and cons of each door type?

There are many different materials for doors in your home, however for large doors such as sliding doors and bifolds, aluminium is the preferred choice. Aluminium enables slimmer doors with no loss of strength or structural integrity. For French doors, aluminium again enables bigger doors removing the need to reduced doors with side panels and top panels in larger openings. Whether you’re comparing sliding doors, bifolding doors and even our steel-look range, you’ll find aluminium always provides the better and slimmer product.

comparing sliding doors seeing an origin slimline slider in an empty room

What type of doors offer the best views?

The latest trend in home renovations and extensions is maximising light and maximising the view. With this in mind, it is common to see modern extensions featuring large glazed areas on one or more sides. Often doors combine with a lantern roof or skylights to bring even more light into the home. Doors can also play a part in how much light they let into your home and the views provided. So when comparing sliding doors with other types of patio doors here are some general points:

  • French doors are typically just two doors. Some French doors can accommodate structural openings of 2.4m x2.4m without side or top panels. This is typically the biggest size possible with French Doors. You can design your doors to open in or out. Low thresholds are also available.
  • Bi-folding doors can span 8 metres or more. Bifolding doors features multiple panels that slide and fold back to one or both sides, completely opening up the aperture. Bifolding doors can be as big as 1.2m wide up to 3m in height, per door panel. Bifolding doors are desirable because they open up virtually the entire structural opening.
  • Sliding doors are available from two up to six sliding panels. How sliding doors open the aperture depend on the configuration and number of tracks. The biggest doors can be up to 9m2 per panel. Some sliding doors slide apart, others side behind each other to then side. You can expect a half or two thirds opening with most sliding door styles. Sliding doors are desirable for their very large glass panels giving great views when closed.

What type of doors provide the best views?

  • Bifolding doors. The best views with the doors open.
  • Sliding doors. The best views with the doors closed.
  • French doors. Great for smaller structural openings.

French doors, sliding doors and folding doors will be better than windows for maximising the view. However bifolding and sliding doors will offer the best view outdoors.

bifolding doors

Bifolding doors. Pros and Cons.

Bifolding doors are ideal for opening up your home in the summer, enabling a glorious open aspect and barrier free entry to your garden. They are very much an extension of your inside space giving you the best views when open.

In the closed position a bifolding door will break up your view because of the many panels closed together. While most bifolding doors are slimline, you will get an appearance of vertical mullions when looking out through your doors. Despite this, bifolding doors are hugely popular with homeowners.

Another great feature of bifolding doors is the ‘traffic door’. A traffic door works as an independent hinged panel. It opens and closes just like a normal door. Therefore you get in and out through the doors without having to fold the panels back every time.

Sliding doors. Pros and cons.

Sliding doors provide great engineering, being very advanced products today. Sliding doors give you a fantastic glass wall in your home. In the closed position nothing beats a sliding door for the best views. Sliding door panels can be up to 3 times the width and over 50% taller than bifolding doors.

When you want to open your sliding doors they won’t open up the entire wall like a bifold. So with a sliding door you will always lose a portion of your available opening for the doors to slide to. There are ways around this. If you are building a new extension it is perfectly possible for sliding doors to feature extended tracks and frames enabling each sliding panel to disappear into the walls, albeit more complicated and more expensive than a standard installation.

Other than less available space with fully open doors, sliding doors also have other considerations. Large sliding doors may need specialist handling and transportation and especially if these are required about ground floor level. Talk to us and we can advise you further on how we fit large glass doors. Finally, sliding doors don’t offer the convenience of the traffic door found in a bifold. However, modern engineering and sophisticated components mean that even the biggest heaviest doors are effortless to slide.

French Doors. Pros and Cons.

If you are restricted by property style, French doors are popular. They are ideal for cottages, terraced houses or to blend in with traditional features. French doors come fully glazed, with decorative bars, midrails and other options in their design.

French doors will be the cheapest option but can only open up the opening as far as the doors, and their hinges will allow. It’s another consideration when comparing sliding doors with other types of doors.

How much space do aluminium doors take up?

It is essential to understand that the hinged, sliding or folding action of French doors, sliding doors and folding doors take up different amounts of space in the home.

French doors hinge and will take up space outside if they open out or inside if they open in. How far French doors open will depend on how you fix the doors to the brickwork and the capacity of the door hinges. You can expect a typical French door to open just beyond 90 degrees.

Sliding doors take up the least amount of space because they have no hinges. This makes them ideal for smaller patios, balconies or as a solution where you don’t want to lose any space with a fully open door.

Bifolding doors will take up the most amount of space, however the folding action of these doors means space is taken up on one part of the overall opening. It is important to consider the width of your door panels when configuring your doors. The wider the panel, the more space it takes up when folded back. Contact us and we can advise you further on what is the best panel size for your bifolding doors.

Low threshold options with aluminium doors.

In deciding on the best type of door and comparing sliding doors, it is worth thinking about threshold levels and their relationship with your inside flooring or carpet and outside decking or slabs.

The threshold detail varies significantly on French, sliding and folding doors. French doors are the simplest as the doors are hinged and sit above the threshold rather than resting on it. French doors will have the same threshold as the rest of the frame. Some doors are available with a ramp type low threshold too.

Sliding doors are not available with low thresholds but can sit lower in the floor. Contact us and we will explain what is involved.

Bifolding doors offer the biggest choice of threshold options with standard, low and ultra-low thresholds available, all with different levels of weathering. The low threshold capability of bifolding doors also makes them ideal as interior folding room dividers as well.

The best range of aluminium doors available at Open Living.

At Open Living we have the finest range of doors including sliding, folding and French Doors. With top brands from Origin and Schuco as well as brand new slimline sliding doors, we are confident of transforming your home with exactly the right door. Our showroom is the best place for comparing sliding doors as well as our other glazing systems and products.

Contact us today for further information or visit our showroom.

Published on June 27, 2017

Some of the images on our website are indicative images illustrating how products may look. Please contact us for full product details and specifications.
Aluco logo origin logo bereco logo fensa logo air logo which logo schuco logo

Customer Reviews

Ordered Origin bifold doors. Diane, Marsha and Danny have been a pleasure to deal with. Slight delay to install date but all handled professionally. Fitters completed in one day as agreed. The product is excellent, would thoroughly recommend.
David N
David N
10:44 25 Sep 21
Lovely aluminium French Doors.Initial issue with square of door sorted out immediately and the response from both the office and the fitter was excellent. I would fully recommend Open Living Ltd.
colin H.
colin H.
13:43 02 Feb 21
Excellent service designing, removing previous (tough job it was) and installing two bespoke floor to celing windows.
Richard J.
Richard J.
13:22 19 Jan 21
Open Living was one of the last suppliers we discovered, but we were taken by their great range of windows, doors and lanterns as well as their sales team. Diane walked us through the many options but also listened to our preferences. Rather than steering us toward the most expensive option they were usually able to offer a choice on each aspect and the pricing was very transparent and competitive. Excellent quality ranges of windows, doors and lanterns. We opted for the Origin bi-fold doors, Origin aluminium windows and Atlas roof lights, all superb build quality/spec and great colour options.The installation team led by Danny and backed up in the office by the all-knowing Marsha and Linda were efficient, thorough and a pleasure to have on-site, coordinating well with our builder. Our neighbours also used Open Living before us and had a few issues at installation, but we believe these were mainly due to a supplier issue. All our windows, doors and roof lights went in as planned, well secured and sealed, with no damage.The only little point of feedback on their whole process is that the final quote and specification can spread across more than one document which did add a little uncertainty. This meant we had to double-check exactly what was coming. An all-inclusive final statement of all the options would be good. However, with a little bit of checking everything did come exactly as expected and we are extremely happy with the finished project.We would definitely recommend Open Living.
Paul E.
Paul E.
11:21 29 Aug 20
Fantastic service, great customer care. 5****
Angela I.
Angela I.
08:40 02 Jul 20
Good staff ,great fitters excellent product!
Paulo R.
Paulo R.
17:45 07 Jun 20
Open Living installed Origin bi-folding doors for our home. Their quality and service has been excellent throughout. Very trustworthy company. Right from the start, they provided good advice to help us select the right doors for our home; their quote was very competitive; their customer service was excellent throughout as they kept us updated on progress. The quality of the doors and the installation has been top-notch. Would highly recommend.
Kinjal P.
Kinjal P.
11:06 05 Jun 20
Bought a bifold door for our house extension. Great quality products and fantastic service. Very happy with Open Living
Ajith S.
Ajith S.
14:37 21 May 20
We have just had are bifolding doors fitted,We're over the moon. Marsha is very helpful and friendly.Service was great 😀Would recommend open living.Geoff
Geoff P.
Geoff P.
10:01 18 May 20
Open living installed our ORIGIN bi-fold doors about a year ago now. The fitters were great guys with really good standards. We are so pleased with our installation. It’s great 👍
Phil B.
Phil B.
22:48 02 May 20
We purchased 1 set of bifold and 1 set of French patio doors, both Origin. Sales approach and customer service was excellent. Fitting and installation also excellent. Can't fault the product, either. Would have been 5 stars if it wasn't for an issue we had around the height of the threshold, which turned out to be much higher than we wanted/were expecting. This issue was resolved in a satisfactory way after discussion. Would definitely recommend, but my advice is to make sure the threshold height for patio doors is agreed at the survey and written on the paperwork before parting with any money.
Ashley B.
Ashley B.
07:52 10 Mar 20
Lovely people to do business with, we bought some BiFold doors and a window from OpenLiving. We did have a couple of minor teething issues once fitted but these were dealt with quickly and without fuss. Recommended!
Dino L.
Dino L.
14:03 28 Sep 19
I looked into a number of companies before deciding on Open Living in Letchworth for our bifold doors. I wanted the bifolds to be from a manufacturer that was very regarded, and Origin (though Open Living can also supply from Schuco and some other suppliers) certainly fall in that camp. I also liked the fact that Open Living were close to home, which made repeated visits to their showroom easy to make. Throughout the process, Linda and Marsha were professional and courteous and I would thoroughly recommend anyone who is looking to get bifolds to put OpenLiving Ltd on their shortlist.
Roy
Roy
16:16 04 Jul 19
So far I have ordered 12.5m sliding doors, 1 set of aluminium bi-folds and 5 windows from Open Living. The fitters are all great guys, and they take time to do a good job.The service and the products supplied have been excellent. I will be ordering more windows and do not hesitate to recommend them.
jeff H.
jeff H.
11:30 17 May 19
Had some OW80 windows that were fitted some time ago (by other installers, who had lost the cill caps).Marsha kindly helped me get some replacement items from Origin despite there being no financial incentive for open living to do so.Assistance has been very much appreciated and would highly recommend.
Mark I.
Mark I.
07:32 13 Mar 19
Great service and choice of products. Highly recommend Open Living
Allison M.
Allison M.
11:11 10 Dec 18
Great service from start to finish. The origin windows and doors look fab. Can highly recommend.
Emma G.
Emma G.
11:15 27 Nov 18
Great price on a roof lantern. Installed on schedule.
Niall R.
Niall R.
14:51 31 Oct 18
Great Service from start to finish. Communication was great. The fitting team were first classWw will recommend and use again in the future.
Asa H.
Asa H.
18:30 04 Sep 18
Superb all roundMarsha was polite and informativeThe system itself is sleek and works greatThe fitter I had was polite and very effective, clean and professionalAnd the price was not only reasonable but the cheapestI genuinely don’t know why you would opt for a more expensive system or company when the origin system provided by this company does it allSuper happy and will use on other properties I haveUse these guys, awesome3772.00 for 3 leaf fitted in a week!! Immense !LukeBishops Stortford
luke J.
luke J.
18:33 18 Aug 18
Great service and brilliant product. Really happy with how the house now looks. Couldn’t recommend them any higher.
Stuart C.
Stuart C.
18:06 23 Jun 18
Had a great experience with Open Living. We had a 6m run of Origin bi-fold doors, an Atlas sky light some upvc windows installed. Customer Service and communication was good throughout, the installation guys did a good job and their technical guy was helpful with determining levels so we could achieve a level and flush threshold on the door. On top of this they were by far the lowest priced installer we found for the Origin doors which we had quoted by another three suppliers. Would recommend to others and will use again.
Richard N.
Richard N.
20:02 22 Jun 18
Great customer service from start to finish. Very helpful and competitive price.Installation was fast and of good standard.Would highly recommend Open Living.
Noleen P.
Noleen P.
11:15 06 Jun 18
We weren't quite sure what bi-folding doors would be best but all the options were clearly and concisely laid out before us and some great solutions suggested to the issues we hadn't been able to work out on our own or with our builder. The showroom has lots of choice, brilliantly set out. We decided that Open Living would install our doors and they came and did a wonderful job.Looking forward to the spring to really get our new "open living" lifestyle underway!!
Paul S.
Paul S.
17:26 27 Feb 17
11 Amor Way Letchworth Point, Letchworth SG6 1UG
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday09:00 – 17:00
Saturday09:00 – 14:00
01767 448 005