Bifold doors are becoming one of the UK’s most popular home improvements and it’s really not hard to see why. Interior and exterior designers think of bifold doors as a genuine luxury-level addition to a home. Once only for the rich and famous, bifold door prices have been coming down in recent years making them an increasingly affordable addition to a home.
Imagine being able to open up the back of your home so that your indoor living space and outdoor gardens became one beautiful, seamless area? If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with a balcony overlooking your gardens and the wider countryside beyond, imagine being able to make the balcony part of an indoor/outdoor entertaining and chill-out zone.
In this article, we look at:
- what bifold doors are,
- 2018 bifold door prices,
- uPVC bifold door prices,
- aluminium bifold door prices,
- bifold door installation and bifold door installation cost
- bifold door planning permission, and
- how smart homeowners save money on their bifold doors.
What are bifold doors?
A bifold door is a type of door made from either uPVC or aluminium panels which are securely hinged together. When you open the door, the panels slide along a rail towards the wall and the panels fold up against each other. When the bifold door is fully open, all the panels are neatly bunched together.
Think of the way the body of an accordion or a concertina works when it’s been squeezed to see in your mind’s eye the visual effect created by a bifold door when you open and close it.
Generally, bifold doors use two to seven panels in their construction. The great news is that they are not one size fits all – your bifold doors will be made to compliment their location in your home and the space they open up to.
How much are bifold doors?
For the most popular uPVC bifold door installations, these are the price ranges you’d be looking at:
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uPVC is the same material that most double-glazed windows are made from. Most installers will allow you to choose the colour you want the uPVC to be painted in – some even offer a wood-effect type paint.
Aluminium bifold doors prices
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Aluminium is the more expensive option, attracting a premium of around 20-25% on uPVC installations. Why choose aluminium over uPVC? Just as with uPVC, you can choose the colours and the effect you want your panels painted in. The advantage that aluminium bifold doors offer over uPVC bifold doors are the aluminium bifold door panels are slimmer meaning that you get to enjoy even more of the views with this option.
Why have bifold doors become so popular?
There are three big reasons, in our opinion, that bifold doors are growing in popularity. The first is the unashamed stylishness of the way the doors look.
Homeowners who have had bifold doors installed in their property love the grandness they add to a room and there’s something very satisfying about the sleekness in how they move when you open and shut them.
If you’ve ever seen any of the episodes of “DIY SOS” or “Grand Designs” when the surprised homeowners see their newly renovated properties for the first time, they always seem to make a beeline for the bifold doors.
Second, the views. If you enjoy your garden or if you enjoy the wider views from a higher floor in your property, no other installation quite allows you to drink those views in like bifold doors. When they’re closed, bifold doors afford you a magnificent panorama of the outside. When they’re open and it’s a glorious day, the world outside becomes part of your living space not only by what you can see before you but by the sounds and smells of nature coming into your home.
Third, the integration between the indoors and the outdoors. Think of when you’ve been on holiday in the Mediterranean. Our European friends have the right idea about how to meld your private indoor space with the world around it. In the summer and on warmer days, bifold doors permit a continuity between your inner space and the need to enjoy the sun coupled with a gentle cooling breeze. In the winter, you don’t have to open your bifold doors fully to get outside – simply use the panel at the end which acts as a normal door when needed.
Let’s not leave out the other benefits:
- You have options on the colours you can select for your bifold door panels.
- If the environment is important to you, bifold doors provide your home with really energy efficiency.
- You can save space too – speak with an installer about whether you want outward- or inward-closing doors.
- Incredibly easy to clean and maintain. If you get marks on the windows (typical in any household with toddlers!), simply wipe it clean as you would another pane of glass. Every now and again, give the rail a light clean to make sure nothing gets stuck in there which might impede the opening and closing of the doors
- And, last but not least, they can add serious value to your home – look at this couple who added £845,000 to the value of their London property by spending £150,000, some of that spending going on amazing bifold doors.
Fitting bifold doors
When it’s time to install your bifold doors, there’s a couple of things you need to consider:
- the current relationship between the inside and the outside space, and
- the time it’ll take to install your bifold doors themselves.
Bifold doors work particularly well when the level of the floor in your outside space is at the same level as your indoor floor. It looks great and the join between outside and inside feels seamless. It’s not essential to have this done before you start, by any means, and there’s nothing to stop you doing the work after the installation, don’t forget.
Depending on the layout of the room connecting with the outside with your bifold doors, you may need to do some internal work, particularly if there are radiators or electrical switches on that wall. In most cases though, inner preparation is minimal.
What about the installation itself? Is it worth fitting your bifold doors yourself?
If you choose DIY bifold door installation, first be confident about your ability to do it. It’s a reasonably major change to your home and it will take a lot of work from you. You won’t be able to do it on your own so if you have friends or family who could help, it’s best to agree a time and a day with them to start the work.
You will definitely need your DIY bifold door installation to be checked by a building inspector. You could choose one from a private firm or ask the local council. What they’ll do is make sure that your DIY bifold installation conforms with current building regulations. If you don’t get this certificate, it could delay the sale of your home and may put some buyers off entirely.
The other option is to get a professional company in to do the work for you. You will pay extra for this, of course, but, in most cases especially when you’re not a trained builder, it will be worth it. A professional bifold doors company installer will be keenly aware of the relevant building regulations and s/he’ll want to make sure that everything complies – after all, no bifold doors installer would want a bad review about them to appear on the internet.
One important thing to ask any potential installer about is whether they are a member of a professional association that allows self-certification of work compliance. An added bonus is also members of a trade body there to represent both installers and their customers.
Trade bodies to look out for when choosing a bifold doors company are:
- Glass & Glazing Federation (GGF),
- The Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme (FENSA),
- Certification and Self-Assessment (CERTASS), or
- FairTrades / TrustMark accreditation
How long does installation take? If you’re having a smaller door fitted, it can be done in a few hours. A larger door may take all day. Supersize installations may take a couple of days.
Last but not least, when choosing an installer, don’t discount or underestimate your gut feeling. You’re going to be inviting these people into your home to make a major structural change to it for which you will pay a decent amount of money.
Make sure you feel comfortable with the person who gives you their quote and if you need further reassurance (like speaking to another customer or seeing pictures of previous installations), all reputable bifold doors installation companies will be more than happy to provide you with it.
Bifold doors versus sliding doors
Sliding doors have seen a similar surge in popularity to bifold doors in the last few years. What are the differences between bifold doors and sliding doors?
With sliding doors, you’re not able to benefit from a full opening up of the room unlike with bifold doors. They generally tend to be more popular where space is a real concern because they don’t need space inside or outside in the same way that a bifold door does.
Sliding doors work out around 25% more expensive than bifold doors with aluminium frames.
Bifold doors planning permission
For the vast majority of homeowners, you will not need to seek permission from the local council to install bifold doors on your property.
Bifold doors will usually be considered a major alteration to your home and if you live in a listed building, a home in a conservation area, or a home under what’s known as an “Article 4 Directive”, you will almost certainly have to apply for planning permission.
How does that work? When you submit your planning permission application for your bifold doors installation, they will either give you permission, deny you permission, or allow you to resubmit certain to subject changes being made to your proposal.
If your council replies asking you to make changes to your bifold doors installation proposal, they may want to alter the number of panels used in the proposal, the material used, or the colour or style of the panels.
Bifold doors quotes
We can put you directly in touch with three or four local bifold doors installation companies where our team have been satisfied (after extensive checking) that these installers have the skills, the experience, and the history that would give a homeowner peace of mind in choosing them as the company they would like to work with.
Just as important as that peace of mind is the knowledge that, because three or four companies will be in competition for your business, you’ll see prices go down and not up. Each installer knows that they will be one of three or four we put in touch with you so they know you’ll be keen to secure the very best price.
To get three or four quotes from trusted local bifold doors installation companies, please fill in the form at the top of the page. Our service is completely free to you and please remember that our partner companies don’t install high-pressure sales techniques and that you are under no obligation to accept any of the quotes you receive.