I am sure plenty of you made the most of the amazing weather over the weekend. After what seemed like a very long and dull Spring, we now seem to have jumped headlong into Summer, with the start of June proving to be very sunny, dry and even hot. The forecast for the next week or so still looks fantastic, even into Father’s Day weekend.

It was nice to be able to finally open the bi-folding doors fully in our Kitchen and connect our garden to our home properly once again. It also reiterated to me that despite the rise in popularity of sliding patio doors, I still prefer bi-folding doors.

Bi-folding doors over sliding doors

To be clear, I don’t have a strong dislike for sliding doors, and I do love the huge expanses of glass that you can achieve with patio sliders. However, as this weekend proved to me, the ability to open bi-folding doors all the way across and open up an entire space remains one of the strongest and most desirable USPs of the product.

I don’t have a massive span of doors in my Kitchen. It’s 2400mm wide roughly. But to be able to open up that entire space in our garden which we had landscaped a couple of years ago, making the most of the hot sunny weather, was perfect for me. Had I opted to go for a patio slider, whether in aluminium or PVCu, I would have had less than half of that in opening space. Given the weekend we have just had, and the week we have forecasted, this would have been a shame to miss out on the indoor/outdoor living which we have learned to love.

White aluminium bi-folding doors

I also like the ability to open up a single leaf of the doors, leaving the other two fixed in place. During less settled weather, I can just nip out into the garden to do what I need to do then come back. I don’t have to open up the entire thing. Yes, you can just slide a patio across a bit and achieve the same effect, but you are still stuck with a door which gives you less than half the opening space of the actual brick opening.

More than anything else though, bi-folding doors have allowed me to connect our home and garden together in the summer months to create a nice indoor/outdoor flow. You don’t really get the same effect with French doors or sliding patios, and there is something pretty cool about the way in which the doors fold across the space. During the pandemic, we realised how lucky we were to have a decent amount of garden to utilise as we were stuck at home. It kicked us into getting the garden landscaped properly and the doors replaced to make the most of what we had.

Bi-folding doors are more of a lifestyle product than just another window or door product. They’re used much more often than some windows in a home. They connect spaces and transform the look of a home when opened. They create that bridge between the indoors and outdoors that no other product can, and with it invite a certain lifestyle with it.

Glazing vs splits

One of the major reasons that sliding patio doors have become popular once again is the large spans of glazing you can achieve with them, especially in aluminium. If you have a view or a garden to make the most of, sliding patios with slim sightlines are one of the best ways to frame as much of that view as possible.

I have a Decalu88 bi-fold at home with two splits, as you can see from the image above. It’s a great door. Had I opted for a slider I could have had two 1200mm (roughly) sashes with just one split down the middle. That way I would have been able to view the garden with fewer visual interruptions. But, as I eluded further up, I wouldn’t have been able to open up the entire space during this weekend’s amazing weather.

This for me is where the debate lies between the two products. Both have their pros and cons in their own rights. Both are good products – assuming you have a good fabricator! But the decision on which to pick if you are undecided comes down to how you are going to use the door and where it is positioned in the house. For me, bi-folds were the better option as we had a garden to take advantage of and the space to not have to worry about the doors stacking to one side. Had the space been more limited though then this would not have been the right option, and a slider would have been better in that scenario.

On the flip side, if you are building an extension or already have a room in the house with a large space opening, perhaps around six or seven metres, then you’re not going to worry so much about the opening space. With a triple track slider, you’d be able to open up more than half of that space and still feel open, and maybe have just a couple of splits to have to contend with.

So it is circumstantial as to what product a person picks, but for me, the ability to open up a room completely to the outdoors and embrace that healthy outdoor living is more important than anything else.

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