Aluminium Bifold vs Slider Door - which is more robust? Which will last the longest?

8 Sep 2010
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South West Wales
United Kingdom
Hi all

We're looking to have new doors put in soon. The opening is 2.1m wide x 2.05m tall. I've been reading and thinking lots about it these last few days and I've got all the usual pros and cons covered, i.e. being able to open the whole thing up with bifolds (but needing space for the concertina'd folds), smaller sight lines of sliders, etc. etc.

For my situation both could potentially work. If going for sliders I would look for something with 2 panels and a sightline of around 35-45mm. If going for bifolds I would only consider 3 panels, and models with the smallest sightlines. So the Smarts Visofold 6000 would be the pick of the bunch at 94mm, though I might consider the Origin OB-49 at 110mm (and there's a couple of others in between).

The thing I'm not finding much info on - and what could end up being a deciding factor - is how robust they are. A local supplier / fitter recently said he would choose sliders every time. He said they are often going back to repair bifolds put in years ago and some customers are opting to have them changed for sliders because they just keep having problems. Would anyone agree / disagree with this.

If there is some truth in it, could it also be the case that having bifolds with smaller frames could mean they're even less robust?

Or in our case, would a triple pane in a 2.1m opening means the leafs are small enough to be ok even of the frames are thin?

Any thoughts most welcomed :)

Many thanks

PS - Definitely don't want french doors.
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At that size, I'd go for sliding.

I've helped a mate install a bi-fold and the one he had got, was OK, but over time I can see issues with sagging etc.
He bought it second hand... made me wonder if the original owner had had issues with it.

My slider is engineered wood with an alloy outer skin, triple glazed.
Not the cheapest, but top quality and it's a please sliding it open and closed... lovely bearing sound... I know sad!

Also I think when you factor in all the frames for each leaf, you are losing a bit more light.
I would possibly go for sliders, however - my bifolds are (there's probably a proper name for it) one fixed door and two folding panels - which means the bifold bit will get very little use/wear and tear given British weather. I think they'll be a bit more expensive than the standard panel ones.

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My two penny worth, if you go for a Bifold then make sure you get a decent make that you know will provide a lifetime of spares and won't frighten any door repairers off, avoid anything from the sheds.
How long will you deliberate this? :confused:

May I ask how much are they for this size, have you had a min/max price already?
Thanks for the replies. Still mulling it over! Decisions, decisions....
Ali bifold will create the biggest opening , sliders will only give less than 50% of the total opening. As has been mentioned spares is the key in the event something goes wrong. Siders parts have been around years ( except some handles have changed ) , Bifolds I have already started to notice that some handles are no longer available but my biggest worry would be when Hinges and rollers start breaking ( 10-20 Yrs time). I'd also watch the type of threshold you have , NO bifold is severe weather rated with a low wheelchair type threshold ( which is what everyone wants as its a seamless link to outdoors. If you do go bifold , i'd humbly suggest open out, as when you get wind aganist it it will be blowing the doors on to the seals/gaskets

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