Advice & Inspiration

Patio Doors or Bifold Doors: Which is Right For You?

The gateway to your home, quite literally, comes in many forms. When it comes to framing the transition from indoors to outdoors, the discussion of patio doors versus bifold doors is one that hinges on much more than mere aesthetics. As a homeowner or interior designer, understanding the nuances of these two popular door options can make a substantial difference in functionality, ambiance, and space utilisation.

Patio doors had fewer aesthetic options and a smaller selection of customer-selectable materials and colours in the beginning. These days, you may have external patio doors manufactured to order in any size, shape, or configuration you desire for your installation. There are several designs, hues, and materials to choose from to make sure that every detail flawlessly complements the style of your house.

Let’s swing open those insights and take a detailed look at which door might offer the perfect passage in and out of your living space!

The Importance of Choosing the Right Door

Our homes are the canvases on which we paint the stories of our lives. Every design choice reflects something about our personalities, tastes, and the way we love to live. The doors we choose are no exception. 

They dictate the flow of light, the sound of the breeze, and the ease of movement from one space to another. 

It has been demonstrated that exposure to natural light improves mood and encourages restful sleep, among other health benefits. One essential source of vitamin D is sunlight. Your body will be able to absorb more light when there is more natural sunlight in your home, especially in the winter.

And when it comes to choosing between patio doors and bi fold doors, there’s more than meets the eye. Let’s walk through the garden of possibilities that each of these presents.

Patio Doors

Patio doors, or sliding doors, conjure images of seamless transitions and unfettered views. These doors typically have two or more large glass panels, one of which slides horizontally to open and close. They’re a timeless choice for many homeowners, offering a classic look and easy functionality.

Characteristics and Benefits of Patio Doors

Patio doors are known for their simplicity. They don’t need a wide sweep of space to operate, making them ideal for more compact gardens or decks. Their large glass panes also allow for abundant natural light, which can foster a connection to the great outdoors all year round.

One significant benefit of patio doors is their durability. When properly installed and maintained, they can withstand the elements without compromising insulation or security.

Considerations for Choosing Patio Doors

If your goal is to maximise the indoor and outdoor space fusion, a sliding door is a solid choice. The sliding mechanism typically requires less room than doors that swing open. They are also known for their user-friendly operation, especially for older individuals or those with mobility restrictions. While less insulating than wall space, the energy performance of modern patio doors has improved significantly, reducing thermal bridging and overall energy loss.

Bi folding Doors

External bifold doors, or bi-folds, offer a level of open space that is unmatched by traditional doors. Composed of multiple door panels, they concertina-folding neatly to one side to allow for an almost complete uninterrupted view and open path. The bifold door has gained popularity for their ability to make a large opening feel even larger.

Characteristics and Benefits of Bifold Doors

Bifold doors are about drama and showmanship. When open, they create an expanse that blurs the line between the indoors and the outdoors. They are a particular favourite for those who enjoy entertaining or who desire flexibility in their living space.

In terms of aesthetic, bifold doors can offer a contemporary and chic feel to the living space. Moreover, they are highly customisable, with options to increase the number of panels and choose from various woods, metals, or UPVC finishes to suit different architectural styles.

Considerations for Choosing Bifold Doors

For all their stylish flair, bifold doors need a bit more clearance to operate than sliding patio doors. This means that the posts and lintels supporting the door must be substantial enough to accommodate the weight and the movement.

Additionally, bifold doors usually require a level threshold to avoid tripping hazards, which can mean more work during the installation phase. 

Comparison and Contrast

When we pit patio doors against bifold doors, the decision-making process often boils down to a range of comparative points. Let’s examine the most critical factors side by side.

Design and Aesthetics

Patio doors exude a classic charm that fits well with most home styles and can be styled with window coverings. Their unfussy design means they integrate seamlessly into the architecture, providing a clean, unobtrusive look. On the other hand, bifold doors offer a sleek, modern, and on-trend appeal that can elevate the design of any space. When open, they create a true statement piece, transforming the room.

Functionality and Versatility

The sliding mechanism of patio doors is straightforward and functional, requiring minimal effort to open or close. They can be left partially open without impeding the space. Bifold doors, while slightly more intricate to operate, fold away smartly, which is particularly favourable for spaces where the open door may encroach onto usable walkways or living areas.

Energy Efficiency and Security

Both patio and bifold doors have come a long way in terms of energy performance. However, with more seals and increased panes of glass due to its folding design, bifold doors have more potential areas for air leakage. Patio doors, with their fewer mechanical parts and sliding operation, often offer better seals and insulation properties.

In terms of security, both types can be made to meet high standards. But, again, the more complicated folding mechanism of bifold doors offers more points of entry, which may need to be considered and addressed to ensure security.

Factors to Consider: Bifold doors vs Sliding doors

Choosing the right door for your home goes beyond just the door itself. Your decision should take into account several key factors to ensure the door complements your home and lifestyle.

Space Availability

The space both inside and outside where the door will be installed is crucial. You’ll need to think about how the door will operate within the space and ensure that its functions do not cause any incumbrance.


Patio doors or sliding doors tend to come with a lower price tag, thanks to their simpler mechanisms and construction. Bifold doors, with their larger number of panels and more complex installation, tend to be a more significant investment. Your budget, therefore, will play a significant role in your decision-making process.

Personal Preferences and Style

Your personal tastes and the look you wish to achieve play an integral role. Consider the overall aesthetic you’re aiming for and how the door choice can either blend in or serve as a focal point in the design.

Looking for Elegant Patio and Bi Fold Door Options?

In the end, the choice between patio doors and bifold doors is a personal one, based on your unique circumstances, space, and vision. By weighing the characteristics, benefits, and considerations of each, you can make an informed decision that will open up your home to the world around it, in a way that reflects your personal style and enhances your daily living experience. 

Whether you opt for the classic grace of a sliding patio door or the vibrant theatricality of bifold doors, one thing is for certain: the right door can transform your home in ways you may not have even imagined.

DoorsDirect2U have over 40 years of experience providing internal door and external door solutions to suit all budgets and specifications. You can purchase with confidence safe in the knowledge all products are backed with a manufacturers guarantee.

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Patio Doors or Bifold FAQs

Are patio doors energy efficient?

Yes, modern patio doors are designed with energy efficiency in mind. Their insulating properties have improved significantly over time, making them an energy-efficient option.

Can I install bifold doors myself?

While patio doors are relatively easy to install, bifold doors may require professional installation due to their heavier weight and more intricate mechanisms. It is recommended to seek professional help for proper installation and to ensure safety. However, some bifold door kits can be installed by homeowners with basic tools and DIY experience.

Which is better for security – patio doors or bifold doors?

Both types of doors can be made to meet high standards for security. However, it is important to ensure the proper installation and use of secure locking mechanisms for either type of door. Bifold doors may have more potential points of entry due to their multiple panels, so it is important to carefully consider security when choosing bifold doors. Ultimately, both types can be made secure with proper installation and maintenance.

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