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Bifold doors styles and types: UK guide 2024

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Bring the outside in with bifold doors. Read our guide to the most suitable bifold door types and styles for your home.

What are bifold doors?

Bifold doors have multiple interconnected panels that are intricately designed to slide open. When you open a bifold door, the panels conveniently fold or stack together. When closing the door, the panels separate and retain their original shape. These sliding doors provide an alternative to traditional windows or French doors, creating a great view and helping to connect rooms to the outdoors, due to their larger expanse and ability to open fully. They can also be used inside a property, offering an excellent way of creating an aesthetic divide within larger rooms, between living room and dining room areas, for example.

As a lot of bifold doors have narrow aluminium frames with a tempered glass insert, they can increase the amount of natural light coming into a room. More natural light means you can potentially save on your electricity bills. Another advantage of bifold doors is they’re built to maintain a low profile when opened – offering a compact and discreet design. These sliding doors also create a larger aperture, compared with traditional hinged French doors, for example.

How do bifold doors work?

The design of a bifold door can be likened to that of a concertina. The panels of the sliding door feature hinged, foldable frames with a glass insert in the middle, making it a more compact design. Unlike average French doors, bifold doors comprise panels that are flexibly locked together on built-in runners, which is how they stack or fold together without limiting your entranceway.

Types of bifold doors available in the UK

Aluminium bifold doors

Aluminium is a good choice of material for external bifold doors because it has very good weather-resistant qualities. It also offers a high degree of durability, helping to provide additional protection against damage.

Pros Cons
Available in a variety of sizes Expensive
Very durable Highly susceptible to environmental staining
Low maintenance
Available in a slew of finishes and colours

Wooden bifold doors

Wooden bifold doors are another great option for maximising the visual aesthetics of your patio doors. In addition, solid wood sliding doors can complement and enhance your interior decor. Moreover, wooden bifold doors are highly customisable in terms of the choice of wood, colour, shape and size, while still enabling a good amount of natural light to flood into your home.

Pros Cons
Good durability Requires yearly maintenance
Enhanced visual aesthetics Prone to weather-related warping
Looks beautiful with glass inserts Expands in high temperatures
Environmentally friendly

uPVC bifold doors

Compared to materials such as aluminium and wood, uPVC bifold doors are a very budget-friendly alternative. The material offers excellent energy efficiency and is more durable than wood.

Pros Cons
Offers very good thermal efficiency Not that visually pleasing
Requires little maintenance Prone to expansion and contraction
Highly versatile Not very sturdy
Good insulation

Composite bifold doors

Composite bifold doors offer enhanced durability and weather resistance. That’s because they’re manufactured with two materials (aluminium and wood). The exposed side of the window is made with aluminium while the interior side is made with wood, giving you the best of both materials.

Pros Cons
Made with multiple materials Very pricey
Enhanced thermal insulation Can be tricky to repaint
Excellent durability Prone to weather-related expansion and contraction

Oak bifold doors

Solid oak bifold doors offer good durability and versatility. Plus, you can choose from a wide variety of colours, shapes and sizes.

Pros Cons
Provides excellent thermal efficiency Very expensive
Complements different types of interior décor Requires yearly maintenance
Incredibly durable
Sustainable material
Good sound absorption

Corner bifold doors

Corner bifold doors are installed along adjacent sides of a structure, so that the aperture opens up a whole corner of a room, without any supporting columns getting in the way.

Pros Cons
Can be installed without the need for a corner post You’ll need to remove an adjacent wall or window
Come in a blend of different materials (aluminium, wood, uPVC) You’ll need to install blinds to enhance privacy
Greatly enhances your room’s connection with the outdoors Very expensive
More natural light

Bifold patio doors

Patio bifold doors are manufactured with multiple glass panes that easily stack or fold to one side, creating a larger aperture. Plus, they connect your interior with your outdoor space.

Pros Cons
Low maintenance Small threshold
Help increase the amount of natural light Can be expensive
Good energy efficiency
Visually pleasing

Internal bifold doors vs external bifold doors: Pros and cons

Internal bifold doors are built to stack or fold onto themselves. These doors typically comprise a minimum of two connected panels that are reinforced with a durable hinge. The stacking or folding feature of internal bifold doors means they tuck neatly inwards, rather than opening outwards, therefore saving space. Because the panels are made of glass, bifold doors allow for a lot of natural light inside.

On the other hand, external bifold doors are designed to separate the interior of your property from its exterior. These types of bifold doors are an excellent way to allow natural light to flood inside along with drastically improving your airflow, making them an excellent option for warmer seasons. External bifold doors function as a superior form of a traditional patio door, offering a much larger opening, blurring the line between indoors and out.

Pros and cons of internal bifold doors

Pros Cons
Glass panes allow for more visibility and light between rooms, compared with traditional doors Very expensive (aluminium and wood bifold doors are pricey)
Versatility (use to divide rooms or leave fully open to create one large space) Cleaning can be a bother (bifold doors come with a lot of moving parts, making them harder to clean)
Offer a stunning, modern look Require frequent maintenance of door hinges and frames

Pros and cons of external bifold doors

Pros Cons
Excellent thermal efficiency (also available with double and triple glazing) Potential security issues (however, you can opt for bifold doors that come with multipoint locking systems)
Sublime outdoor views Using bifold doors will take some getting used to
Easy to install Quality bifold doors can be pricey

Things to consider when buying bifold doors

Whether you’re looking to increase the amount of natural light coming into your home or want to enjoy an open-plan lifestyle, bifold doors seamlessly function as portals between the interior and exterior of your home. However, before you install bifold doors, you need to carry out some due diligence to help you make the right decision. In light of this, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most important considerations to keep in mind when installing bifold doors. 

Types of materials

The first step is to consider the materials available for bifold doors. In terms of popularity, aluminium bifold doors can be a great choice. They’re sleek and will give your bifold doors a narrow profile. What’s great about aluminium bifold doors is they provide a more unobstructed view of the outdoors. They aren’t designed to be chunky, come in clean finishes and are ideal for modern constructions. In addition, aluminium doors offer a high degree of durability and don’t require a lot of maintenance.

If you’re on a budget, it doesn’t get any better than uPVC bifold doors. Not only are they incredibly simple to maintain, but they offer a lot of customisations. For example, you can opt for wood-grain finishings, polished chrome or any other material that complements your interior décor.

However, if you have a bigger budget, you can opt for solid wood bifold door frames. In terms of visual aesthetics and interior elegance, it doesn’t get any better than classic oak frames. But keep in mind wood door frames will require yearly maintenance. 

Number of panels

The number of bifold door panels you require will depend on the size of the wall you want the doors to be installed in. Typically, homeowners aim to use as much width of the wall as they can. In addition, if your objective is to flood your interior with natural light, you should opt for more glass panes between the panels.

Safety and security

One of the most important things to consider is the security of your bifold doors. Fortunately, modern bifold doors are built with multi-locking systems. Moreover, you can opt for double-glazed bifold doors, which make it difficult for an intruder to lift the glass pane running along the bifold mechanism.

Thermal efficiency

When shopping for bifold doors, pay special attention to the U-value of the door frame and glass. The U-value is an indicator of how temperature-efficient the bifold door is. Go for door frames and glass that have very low U-value, which means that they’re going to retain a lot of external heat. Talk to your supplier about local UK building standards and the U-value required.

Top-hung vs bottom-rolling

Bifold doors can be installed fairly quickly. However, when selecting your bifold door frame, it’s important to consider whether you want the doors to be installed in a top-hung position or a bottom-rolling position. These terms refer to the angle and position where the weight of the bifold door will be supported.

For ease of installation and use, homeowners commonly go for bottom-rolling installation, as it doesn’t require a lot of structural support because you won’t be pulling the weight of the door at a downward angle. However, keep in mind that the door’s rolling mechanism may give you problems if it’s surrounded by fallen leaves or if there’s a lot of dirt jammed into it.

Top-hung internal bifold doors come with an added requirement – you’ll need a structural beam that can support and withstand the weight of the doors. But one of the best benefits of a top-hung frame is that the mechanism will be hidden and you won’t have to contend with an exposed frame base, unlike a bottom-rolling mechanism.

Best bifold door colours


White bifold doors are a go-to choice for homeowners who want to keep things sleek and complement their interior décor. Plus, the colour helps improve the feeling of ambient light. 


Black bifold doors add a degree of sophistication.


One of the best things about this colour is its neutrality. Grey bifold doors pair well with other dark and neutral tones, which makes it an ideal colour for both internal and external finishings.

Frequently asked questions about bifold doors

Generally, you won’t have to contend with any building regulations or require planning permission to install bifold doors. That’s mainly because bifold doors come under the category of permitted development. So, if you’re installing bifold doors or replacing traditional doors, you won’t need to apply for any permits.

Yes. According to some real estate experts, installing bifold doors can be a great way to add value to your home. There are a couple of reasons why. First, bifold doors are an excellent way to increase thermal efficiency, through insulation, which inadvertently means that you may be able to save money on your energy bills. Furthermore, bifold doors help transform the visual aesthetics of your property. Both these factors can improve resale value.

On average, bifold doors offer more value for money compared with sliding doors. For instance, the average price of an 8ft internal bifold door is £2,699, while a sliding door with similar dimensions will cost you around £3,579.          

While bifold doors offer superior thermal efficiency and can help increase the amount of natural light coming into your house, there are several disadvantages you should consider. For instance, internal bifold doors are built with several frames. This means each pane of glass has a separate frame, which can potentially obstruct your view. This can be good in terms of safety, but if the door isn’t professionally installed, the wind may easily blow any groundwater inside your home.

Bifold doors are very energy efficient, depending on the type of door and its material. For example, a double-glazed internal bifold door has a U-value of 1.1-1.4 W/m2K, which not only helps retain internal heat but also functions as an effective noise dampener.

Yes. Reputable companies offer an extensive range of high-quality, bespoke bifold doors.

Shameel Kazi


Shameel is a writer renowned for his dual expertise in VPN and online security matters, coupled with a deep understanding of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

With years of experience as a VPN and security writer, Shameel’s work delves into the world of Virtual Private Networks, guiding readers towards enhanced digital protection.

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Through articles, guides, and expert analyses, Shameel’s blend of knowledge bridges the gap between digital security and blockchain innovation, making him a go-to source for those seeking an understanding of the digital landscape.

Amy Reeves


Amy is a seasoned writer and editor with a special interest in home design, sustainable technology and green building methods.

She has interviewed hundreds of self-builders, extenders and renovators about their journeys towards individual, well-considered homes, as well as architects and industry experts during her five years working as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating, part of Future plc.

Amy’s work covers topics ranging from home, interior and garden design to DIY step-by-steps, planning permission and build costs, and has been published in Period Living, Real Homes, and 25 Beautiful Homes, Homes and Gardens.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Amy manages homes-related content for the site, including solar panels, combi boilers, and windows.

Her passion for saving tired and inefficient homes also extends to her own life; Amy completed a renovation of a mid-century house in 2022 and is about to embark on an energy-efficient overhaul of a 1800s cottage in Somerset.