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Bifold Doors vs Sliding Doors – Which Are Better for Your Home?

Patio doors come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Homeowners that want to let in a cool breeze from the ocean or open up their bedroom space to bring in the warm Australian sunlight have many options from which to choose.

Two of these options are bifold doors and sliding doors. You may wonder: “What are the differences between these two door types? What are the benefits? When should I use one instead of the other?” Let’s dig into the answers below.

What are Bifold and Sliding Doors?

First off, let’s clarify what we mean by bifold and sliding doors:

  • bifold door is a door set that has two fixed pivots, one on either end and two or more door panels on each side that can fold inwards or (more commonly) outwards as the doors open.
  • Sliding doors are the most common type of patio doors. They have two or more side-by-side panels mounted on a track, which allows these panels to roll back and forth easily.

What are the Benefits of Bifold Doors?

Bifold doors offer significant advantages in the following areas:

  • Openness. For homeowners that want a wide, open doorway that is uninterrupted by panelling, bifold doors make a lot of sense. When fully open, the panels on both sides are compactly stacked together, leaving the vast majority of the entrance free and clear. During indoor/outdoor parties, when you have the BBQ going and guests are constantly coming in, and out of the house, the area feels open so people can move about freely. Being able to open the area up completely can be particularly beneficial if you have children who love to combine indoor and outdoor play. 
  • Space saving. Along with the openness factor, bifold doors are great when you need your panels to take up as little space as possible. It’s no wonder that bifold doors are extremely popular for closet spaces!
  • Unobtrusive. The nice thing about bifold doors is that, once they’re completely open, it’s almost like they’re not even there anymore. This makes them a very “unobtrusive” option for a patio entryway.
  • Functional. Bifold doors are very easy to use, with a simple operation you do not need much physical strength to open and close them. Their low threshold or entrance allows for elderly and disabled people to move about freely. With custom design choices, bifold doors can be an excellent choice for the liveability of your home. This is particularly true when you have people of different abilities or multiple generations living together.
5 panel bifold doors by Versalite Windows
Striking black aluminium framed bifold doors make a statement in this installation – a local cafe where the doors open up, leading to an outside alfresco patio to increase the available dining space.

What are the Benefits of Sliding Doors?

Sliding doors have their own unique set of benefits for homeowners. For instance:

  • Room space. If you want a door type that takes up absolutely zero room space, then sliding doors are the doors for you. Since they stay on the doorframe’s track, they’ll never encroach on your indoor or outdoor areas.
  • Airflow control. Unlike bifold doors, sliding doors give you a lot of control over how much air to let into your home. Some sliding doors even come with screens that allow you to open them up all the way and still keep out any unwelcome bugs. If you enjoy letting the fresh air in, then you may prefer sliding doors over their bifold counterparts.
  • Elegance. Sliding doors offer a simple elegance to patio entryways. Their clear, open windows and smooth movement make them a beautiful addition to almost any home. They are commonly used to link the garden area to the home’s living space.
  • Maximise light. Aluminium sliding doors are designed for installation in areas with generous dimensions. Through minimising the aluminium’s visible area, more light can pass through into the room.
  • Functional performance. Similar to a bifold door, sliding doors are easy to use and require minimal strength to open. When designing a home, you can choose to have the threshold installed so that they provide ease of access for those with mobility issues.
sliding patio door and screen by versalite
White framed aluminium sliding doors open up to the outdoor living area in this new home build.

Choosing the Right Doors for You

So, the question is: should you go with bifold doors or sliding doors? Of course, the answer is entirely dependent on the physical space of your home and your personal taste. 

If you want a doorway that’s as open as possible, then you should choose bifold doors. Their ability to be compact and unobtrusive allows them to be used predominantly in areas where you are looking at combining indoor-outdoor living. Bifolds are commonly used in alfresco entertaining patios and BBQ areas, or for joining the swimming pool courtyard and rumpus room. They create a link between a kitchen and outdoor eating area or can be useful in linking two activity areas together. They close perfectly flush, creating a great looking aesthetic.

If you want more control over airflow and zero encroachment on your inner or outer spaces, then you should go with sliding doors. Sliding doors will help to minimise heat loss or gain through carelessly opened doors. In smaller houses, they are an excellent option for large openings between the inside and out. They also offer expansive views due to the large open glass panels.

However, you may have a lot of other questions. For instance, what materials should your doors be made from? How much maintenance do bifold and sliding doors require? What is a typical price tag for them? A lot of homeowners have found that tasteful, low-maintenance aluminium-framed doors make a lot of sense, money-wise and style-wise. If you’d like to learn more, reach out to Versalite Windows today.

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