10 Feb Lift and Slide vs Bi-fold
The market for Bi-fold doors lost 7% last year, does this signal the way of things to come? Has the shift to lift and slide doors begun?
For some time now discerning homeowners have looked to the bi-fold to open up their home to outdoor spaces, light and views. However there has been a shift towards Lift and Slide doors. Firstly let’s be clear Lift and Slide doors are different to traditional sliding doors.
Standard sliding patio doors (often called straight slide) run on tracks in the bottom rail and rely on the user pushing the full weight of the door and glass to open with little mechanical assistance. As a consequence, larger doors can be noisy as weather-strips rub at the bottom and are difficult to manoeuvre for some users.
Lift and Slide doors operate differently, as turning the handle downwards lifts the door panel up from the bottom rail and free of the weather stripping, and its heavy duty wheels allow the user to move large, heavy units, often up to 300KG, with minimal effort.
Furthermore, the lift/slide opening door panel can be “dropped” back down at any point on its travel, and with the handle locked with the key, it’s almost un-movable, offering incremental ventilation along the length of the track (find out more).
When deciding between the bi-fold and lift and slide there are pros and cons on both sides…
Open an aperture
Bi-folds allow you to almost completely open up an aperture and over a considerable distance up to 7000mm. This is great if you have a patio or love to entertain in the garden. You are truly able to let the outside in. The lift and slide will inevitably still have a portion of the aperture closed as other panels slide on top (the exception of this of course is when it is hidden within a wall pocket!)
Bold architectural statements
For bold architectural statements cornerless opening is also available in both bi-folds and Lift and Slides. Opening up an entire corner of your home to nature, without a post getting in the way.
However ask yourselves in the UK, how often would you want to open an entire aperture? The downside of a bi-fold of course is that you cannot open just a few inches or just a few feet, save using the slave door. With a Lift and Slide you can open a small amount for ventilation, let the cat out or children in.
Let’s now consider the space, Lift and Slides do not require any additional opening space, the bi-fold by comparison needs space to fold inwards or outwards and be stacked there. This can be required on both or just one side. For many this is not an issue but in a small area this is of course a consideration.
In terms of efficiency the lift and slide with its larger glass panels tend to have better U values than its bi-folding counterpart. With suppliers now offering a diverse range of Aluminium and composite doors with either double or triple glazed options gone are the days of the door being cold.
The biggest downfall of the bi fold is the way it chops a stunning view into sections. Don’t get me wrong if you have a fantastic view a bi-fold makes more of this than a standard sized window but consider in a 5000mm by 2500mm opening you could be looking at 5 panels for a bi-fold, with a lift and slide you could have only 1 minimal sightline in the centre.
If you are considering either a bi-fold or a lift and slide door then you will fall one side of the fence or the other. It will come down to price, style, performance and space, and either will allow you to add a contemporary edge to your home. We would recommend visiting a showroom to experience the doors yourself before making a decision. To find your nearest showroom, get in touch.