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Sliding vs Bifold Doors

When it comes to choosing between sliding and bifold doors, there are many things to consider such as framing details, views through the system and size of the opening.

Sliding doors tend to have slimmer frames and when closed the sightlines are the same thickness as the profile width. When bifold doors are closed, the meeting point is double the thickness of the frame width.

Glass doors are desired by many as they maximise natural light within the home and create a strong bond to the outdoors. Using large glazing elevations around a property can help to reduce the need for artificial lighting during the day.

Choosing between sliding and bifold doors can be difficult, and this article will go through the differences between sliding and bifold doors.

sliding biparting glass doors as part of a double height glass facade in a luxury new build home y the coast
bifolds in a corner opening configuration by an indoor dipping pool in a luxury coastal home

Framing Details Sliding vs Bifold Doors

With any type of external glazing, thermal performance is a factor that should be carefully considered. Although the days are gone when glazing was a major source of heat loss, some systems still outperform others by far.

As the biggest area of heat loss through glazing is where the glass and frame meet, using systems with higher glass to frame ratio increases the thermal performance.

Glass panes in sliding door systems can reach larger sizes than those in bifolding doors, allowing sliding doors to have a higher glass to frame ratio. In our minimal windows 4+ system each pane can reach an impressive 12m2.

When closed bifold doors tend to have thicker sightlines where the panes meet as the sightline is at least double the profile width when the doors are closed.

With sliding door systems, as the doors slide over each other when they are closed the sightline is the same as the profile width, offering clearer uninterrupted views of the outdoors and letting in more natural light.

The aluminium framing used for our high-quality aluminium sliding doors is fully thermally broken offering outstanding thermal performance, especially for such a slim framed system.

bifold doors with white aluminium framing and a flush threshold
sliding pane with three panes by a large open plan luxury kitchen diner area

Indoor-Outdoor Living and Barrier Free Access

Some individuals desire a completely clear structural opening and feel they can only achieve this with bifold doors. This can still be achieved with sliding glass doors if they are designed in a pocket door configuration, although this does depend on the building structure.

To create an indoor-outdoor living space, which is becoming increasingly sought after, a flush threshold is a must have. This base detail allows a completely smooth transition between the internal and external living spaces.

Bifold doors can have flush thresholds but these tend to have a millimetre or so slight ramp. This is unnoticeable to most, however, minimal windows sliding glass doors offer a completely flush threshold with a recessed base track which is certified for barrier free access DIN 18040-1 and DIN 18040-2.

In order to completely merge internal and external spaces; corner opening configurations are an excellent choice. Bifold doors usually have to be at a 90 degree angle, although some companies offer 135 degrees, whereas the angle for corner opening minimal windows sliding doors can be anywhere between 65 and 177 degrees.

This allows greater flexibility with the design and if the corner of the living space is at an unusual angle, our aluminium sliding door systems can be used to completely open up the space and merge it with the outdoors.

When building a home with a biophilic design, our slim sliding doors are the perfect choice to create a strong connection between the indoors and outdoors all year round.

sliding minimal windows corner opening sliding glass doors opening at a wide angle
bifold doors in a corner opening configuration in a modern home extension

Saving Space and Control

Bifold doors will encroach on either the internal or external living spaces when staked to one side, sliding doors do not do this.

This means that minimal windows slim sliding doors can be used for glazing solutions such as Juliet balconies. For bifold doors to be used in this type of balcony they would have to open inwards which takes up room in the internal space.

Not only do sliding doors offer more space but also greater control. They can be opened an inch for a light breeze, a couple of feet to nip outside or all the way to let the outside in.

minimal window sliding glass doors can be automated and integrated within smart home systems for easy operation and smooth sliding action.

Automated bifold doors are not a common occurrence as to make bifold doors automated it incurs a significant increase in costs and the system has to have a visible motor ruining the minimal design.

bifold door with five panes and bold dark frames
sliding glass door with floor to ceiling glass and fixed panes to create impressive glass walls

minimal windows® vs Other Sliding Doors Systems

Once it is decided that sliding doors are the right choice for your project, then comes the decision of which system to use.

minimal windows sliding door systems use concealed head and base frames for the most minimal and frameless effect. This allows views out of the doors and light flow in to be maximised.

When sliding doors are used in a biparting configuration the slim sightline can be lost as the meeting stile will be double the width. With minimal windows systems the tracks can be offset, allowing the meeting point of the doors to maintain an ultra slim sightline of just 21mm.

Our systems have a wide range of locking options including manual thrust lever locking and electromagnetic locking. This ensures homeowners will be able to select a locking option that suits all their requirements.

Our sliding doors systems can reach a staggering 12m2 per pane and although we recommend a maximum of four tracks per sliding door there is no maximum number. Overall, our systems are unmatched in both performance and design.

For more information on our slim sliding doors, get in touch with the team today.