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Folding Door Choices
Choosing a bifold door is not just about choosing the type. Although a large part of the decision is between wood, uPVC, aluminium or clad bifolding doors, there are so many other options to consider.
What appearance do you envisage for your property? Folding doors are available in large wide glass panels or slim narrow glass panels. If you choose the larger glass panelled doors, you can have fewer panels or if you opt for the narrower glass panel doors, you can have more panels. Once you have chosen the number of panels and panel size you would like, you can consider the opening configuration. Perhaps you decided on this long ago, for example, maybe you have a small interior space you would like to open up on hot days, thus preferring an opening out configuration to maximise the space inside. It could be that you have a large inside space, and would prefer that the door panels opened inwards, so you can neatly fold back the doors, leaving the outside space obstruction-free.
When you have decided on the configuration of your folding sliding doors, you can begin to think about the appearance. The choice of frame finished available is dependent on the frame type. For example, uPVC is only available in a select number of colours, often less than 10, a limited choice in comparison to the hundreds of colour options available for wood or aluminium frames. With wooden frames, you not only have the choice of a coloured finish, but you also have the option of choosing a varnish that stains and protects the wood but allows the grain to show through. Of course with wood you get the advantage of being able to sand off the old finish and apply a new one whenever you feel like it.
After making a decision on the colour, it is time to consider hardware finish. Some companies do not offer a choice on this, but good companies offer at least the choice between two - brass or chrome. Other companies may also offer matte black and matte white hardware, which can be used to contrast colours or match white uPVC bifold patio doors. Some companies offer different styles of handle. Most use flat handles for the middle glass door panels, so that the bifold doors fold back neatly and not at an angle.
Finally, you should consider the additional options. If your bifold door is being installed into a small apartment with a balcony, for example, you may wish for some privacy or to block the light out occasionally. Standard blinds or curtains cause and obstruction to the doors. Luckily, most suppliers give the option of integral blinds. These blinds are encapsulated within the door panel glass, giving you all the usual advantages of blinds without limiting the doors function. Also, they never need cleaning!
If you can, it is important to see the bifolding doors offered by a company before buying, so that you not only have an idea about the appearance, but so you can test them too. Older designs and poor quality bifolding doors are difficult to operate. They are quite heavy and occasionally get stuck on their tracks. These are the kind of bifold door you want to avoid. Modern bifold doors are top quality with up-to-date hardware. They operate smoothly and consistently - unless damage occurs they always open and close with ease.