A guide to choosing exterior doors for your home

With so many options available, choosing between bifold doors vs sliding doors might seem like a daunting prospect but it needn’t be…

At Benchmark Windows, we understand that installing or replacing exterior doors represents an important investment in your home and we’re here to help. Our guide to choosing exterior doors for your home will allow you to weigh up the pros and cons of sliding doors vs bifold against other options, such as our stylish bespoke French doors.

Three advantages of bifold doors vs sliding doors

 Bifold doors have seen a meteoric rise in popularity with homeowners in recent years. With a concertina-like design, bifold doors have a number of hinged panels that fold backwards along a concealed track that can sit flush to the floor and upper lintel. Configurations may vary but bifold doors are typically composed of two to seven glazed panels, dependent on the width of aperture and overall design.

Adding style and drama

As springtime heralds warmer temperatures and your garden begins to bloom, thoughts turn to ‘bringing the outside in’ and enjoying more outdoor entertainment.

Bifold doors can be folded completely back on themselves – offering you the potential to open one side of your home to your terrace or garden space – to achieve that sought-after flow, from indoors to outdoors. By contrast, standard sliding doors can usually open by about 65%, with glazed panels stacked against each other when the doors are open.

Thanks to their ability to create a wide opening between your indoor and outside spaces, bifold doors add a real ‘wow’ factor to any home – especially beneficial when entertaining outside.

Sleek modern design

The desirability of bifold doors has seen no sign of wavering – this is more than a passing trend. Dark grey or black aluminium frames provide a stylish industrial edge to modern and period properties alike and can be especially effective when used in Victorian properties with modern extensions.

Safer access

Bifold doors can be installed with a completely flush threshold, opening onto your garden or patio area, whereas sliding doors tend to require a frame to step over (due to the sliding roller mechanism). A flush threshold removes any trip hazard and makes access easier and safer – especially for small children, older people or wheelchair users.

Three benefits of sliding doors vs bifold doors

Sliding glass patio doors usually consist of two or more expansive panels of glass which slide sideways – along a track, to the end of a frame – and can be used to create a sense of connection between your home and garden, all year round.

Maximise views and light

Sliding doors generally have fewer panels – meaning a larger ratio of glass to vertical frame – when compared to bifold doors. This will provide unhindered views while also maximising the amount of natural light that can enter your room. If unobstructed views over your garden and the surrounding scenery are what you’re looking for then a sliding door will offer you minimal sightlines.

Requires less space to open

Sliding patio doors move along horizontal tracks – sliding one behind the other, aligned with the wall of your home – whereas the hinged panels of bifold doors will project outwards and therefore require a certain amount of space to one or both sides.

Flexibility

Sliding patio doors can be opened just a crack or a couple of feet – to get some air or access the garden – or all the way, whereas standard bifold doors need to be opened with the entire set of panels folded back.

That said, it is possible to have a ‘traffic door’ added to your bifold system – allowing you to keep the other panels shut while having one single opening section to act as a conventional door out to your garden.

Three benefits of French doors

When choosing exterior doors for your home, you will be governed by various considerations including available space and the period and style of your property. As well as sliding doors and bifold solutions, we also offer a range of bespoke French doors for a more classical look.

Ideal for limited space

French doors – sometimes known as French windows or patio doors – are ideal for slightly smaller spaces, when it’s not practical to dedicate a length of wall to glazing. Due to their size, French doors are generally more affordable and easier to install.

Bringing light into your home

Glazed French doors can be a good addition if you’re keen to bring more light into your home.

Straight-forward access to your garden

French doors are hinged to open fully – with no restrictions, unlike sliding patio doors – allowing you to move seamlessly between your home and outside spaces.

Choosing exterior doors? Choose Benchmark Windows

We offer a broad range of high quality double or triple-glazed French, bifold and sliding doors – from classical to contemporary. In aluminium, engineered timber, uPVC or hybrid materials, our exterior doors are durable, practical, thermally-efficient and secure.

When it comes to choosing exterior doors, our knowledgeable and dedicated team of door and window specialists will guide you in the right direction and help you to find the perfect solution for your lifestyle and home.

As accredited members of the Double Glazing & Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS), you’ll have the assurance that every Benchmark Windows installation comes with peace of mind guaranteed for at least ten years.

For more advice on exterior door options for your home, please visit our Lancing showroom or give our friendly team a call on 01903 337749 for a free quote.