panoramic slide and swing doors

Why our Ultra Slim Bi Folds outshine the rest

Hinged or Hingeless?

Our bi folding doors are available in two styles: hinged or hingeless.

Traditional hinged bi folds require side frames or at least 3" / 75mm whereas hingeless glass door side frames ure under 1" / 20mm. Less frame = more glass and spectacular panoramic viewing!

It follows that, without hinges, the doors can stack closer together too, for maximum access between areas (e.g. home and garden). Hingeless doors are not joined at the sides, giving other possibilities - such as spacing them anywhere along the opening.

spaceable sliding-stacking doors

Hingless doors are not truly folding-sliding, they are slide and pivot doors. As the doors can be placed wherever you want, it means that the walk through space or spaces can be where you want. You can open up a single door, all doors or any number in between. We have prepared an illustration of how bi folds and slide-pivot doors differ in use.

When you contact us for a quotation, we'll provide both hinged and hingeless to help you with your decision. We look forward to hearing from you.

slim bi folding doors

Bi Folding Doors vs Slide & Swing

Features & Benefits: Bi Folding or Slide & Swing Doors

Bi folding Doors are fully retractable, they can slide towards the left or right side of the space that leads to the outside or between rooms. As the set of bi folds are pushed along the guides, the doors fold in accordian or concertina fashion, to rest at the edge of the opening. They hang inwards or outwards from the threshhold as they are pushed open and hinges on each side of each door enable the folding or pleated doors to open as a single entity.

Slimline aluminium frames need to accommodate sturdy hinges and hold the weight of the double-glazed bi fold doors as they jut out from the guides. The frame width needs to be approximately 75mm and the hinges are visible on open door profiles .

Slide and Swing doors: slide and turn or sliding pivot doors look like bi folds, but with narrower frames, sightlines and profiles. Each door slides individually prior to opening inwards or outwards, which means that there are no hinges to consider. UltraSlim aluminium side frames are less than half the width of comparable bi-folds - under 2cm (approx.¾”).

ultra slim black framesThe door panels are less heavy to manage. The first door opens normally for general use then each additional door is able to slide along the guides to rest wherever required. To fully open more doors, slide each one towards the first door, where they can be swung open to rest against the other doors.

Note that our comparisons are based on our aluminium framed bi folds and ultraslim door systems.

Bi Folding doors vs Slide & Swing doors

In addition to the slight differences in looks and opening actions, there is one other major difference that may influence your choice of bifold vs slide and turn - where you want the main opening door to be and where the doors should stack.

With bi folding doors, the main door opens at one end of the opening and the whole set opens towards the opposite side.

With slide & swing (sliding pivot) doors, the main door opens at one end of the opening and all other doors stack at the same end. Note that if only one or two open door spaces are necessary, they can be anywhere along the aperture.

You can download a visual illustration of master door location and stacking options for bi-folds vs slide-pivot doors.

For more details or a quotation, please contact us.

Bi Folding Doors with special RAL colour option

Aluminium, Timber or PVC door frames for Bi Folding Doors?

What Frames are Best for Bi Folding Patio Doors?

The three most popular materials for bi folding door frames are: Aluminium (metal), Timber (hard wood/soft wood) and Composite (uPVC reinforced with metal/aluminuim). How do they compare?

The first uPVC doors generally failed to stand the test of time. Until they were reinforced to make them stronger, they would bend, twist, split or all three. The newer frames can be very good. Sometimes a special finish, such as wood-effect, is available but most often, the choice is white.

panoramic views with ultraslimTimber frames are available in softwood, which is cheaper to produce and to buy, but requires more maintenance than the hardwood option. Wooden frames, particularly the cheaper ones, may warp or shrink to create a draughty home. South-facing doors will need re-varnishing or painting every one or two years and excess rain and damp on north-facing doors may also cause a problem in exposed areas.

We chose aluminium frames for bi-folding and slide-pivot doors because they are stronger, require less maintenance* and can be powder-coated in a choice of 200** colours! In addition to these benefits, the strength of aluminium means that the frame-width and profiles to are slimmer than PVC or wood.

*wipe a damp cloth over the frames to remove sticky finger-prints, etc. and keep the floor channel free of grit and dust by using a vacuum cleaner nozzle.

**approximately; our most popular colours are available as standard and other RAL colours will incur additional costs.

Interested? Contact us for a quote for bi folds, slide and turn or both doors.

bi folding doors, fully retracted

A History of Patio Doors: French, Sliding, Bi Folding & Slide-Pivot

French Doors, Sliding, Bi Folding and Individual Slide & Swing

Long before Bi Folding or sliding patio doors were available, upper-class French and British property owners enjoyed the ease of walking through to the lawn or terrace via double doors. French Doors are centuries old and still popular today, often included in smaller new-builds, where space is scarce.

In England, in the 1950s, large scale housing projects took place just outside cities, particularly London. During the '50s and '60s modern homes were often fitted with sliding patio doors, bringing light into the house and access to gardens. Unfortunately, the build quality wasn't the best - they were often single glazed and didn't slide very well along the grooves, as the technology we have today wasn't available.

Sliding doors did improve, using metal or nylon casters or wheels to ease the sliding process and, during the 1970s, double-glazing was becoming standard in all doors and windows. In general, home-owners had a choice of modern sliding doors or traditional French doors. Often though, the timber used for French doors would warp, causing draughts.

Following the turn of the century, a new concept in patio doors enabled the doors to fully be retracted. Bi folding doors opened up virtually the whole "wall" for people to access between two spaces. Bi folds were fitted to external walls to the patio or to a conservatory; people enjoyed a whole new level of entertaining guests during the summer.

spaced slide-swing-stack doorsWithin ten years, a British door company launched a new type of door; like bi-folds but without hinges. Slide and swing doors are now available from a number of suppliers but UltraSlim Doors are only available from one manufacturer. More chic and sleek than bi folds, they slide, turn and stack, have slim profiles and ultra slim aluminium frames in a range of contemporary colours.

Contact us for your bi folding or sliding-stacking patio doors.