Remember our ugly dining room? Well, it no longer looks like this as we’ve just had bifold patio doors installed and they’ve transformed the room from this…
… into this!
We’re in love with the new bifold patio doors. From the very first moment I viewed the house, there we two things that I knew would make it so much better. The first was knocking down the wall between the kitchen and dining room which is a job we’ve already done (you can read about how we removed a load-bearing wall here.)
And the second thing was installing bifold patio doors in our dining-living area that would lead out to a fabulous decked outdoor area. We obviously still need to build the decking but our new timber bi-folding doors are already a huge improvement on the ugly and surprisingly narrow uPVC that was there before.
Installing timber bifold patio doors isn’t a cheap home improvement to do and there are a lot of things to consider before you can install them. That’s why we’re sharing everything we learned about having folding doors installed along with a cost breakdown to give you a better idea of what to expect if you want bi-folding doors in your home, too.
6 Important things you need to know when installing bifold patio doors
Check if you need building work done
Before you can even think about installing folding patio doors you will have to check if it’s even possible in your home. It’s likely that you will need some minor improvements carried out before you can install bi-folding doors in your home.
If you live in an older property, one of the most common upgrades that you’ll have to make is exchanging the lintel over your existing doors for a steel one that will be strong enough to cope with the additional weight of the bifold patio doors. This is something we also had to do as the existing timber lintel wasn’t sufficient.
We also had to remove part of our wall under the existing window to make the opening in the wall large enough for our new bifold exterior door. In addition to the new lintel and enlarging the opening, we also removed a course of bricks to be able to lower the threshold of the door.
All of these jobs weren’t huge but they will add to the cost and timescale of your project.
They are not cheap
There’s no getting around the fact that installing bifold patio doors is expensive. In most cases, bifold doors are large and it’s important to invest in high-quality bifold doors that will look good and be maintenance-free for a long time.
So, how much do bifold patio doors cost?
As always, a lot will depend on your building and circumstances. How big is the opening? How many folding elements will you need? Will they be easy to install in your house? What materials are you using? Even where you live can influence the cost of your doors dramatically.
To give you a better idea of what to expect, we’re sharing exactly what we paid for our doors.
The building work in preparation for the doors, including making our opening slightly larger and removing the brickwork under the windows, removing the old wooden lintel and installing a new steel lintel over the whole window and removing a course of bricks to be able to install the doors with a flush threshold cost £400.
The bifold patio door including installation and removing the old windows came in at £3500. So that’s a total of about £4000 to install our bifold external doors. This didn’t include any making good around the door like plastering or installing new architraves as we did that ourselves to keep the cost down as much as possible.
(Update for 2022 – With material prices at an all-time high, I would expect to pay almost double what we paid when we had our doors installed).
Choose your materials wisely
It’s always helpful to plan your projects to avoid any surprised and get achieve the results you want and when it comes to planning bifold doors there are a few things you should consider, too.
There are three main types of available materials for patio folding doors (they are sometimes also called accordion glass doors) to choose from and like most things, all have pros and cons.
Our doors are made of timber but other options include uPVC and aluminium. If you have a large opening, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to have uPVC bifold doors because they tend to warp if they are too large.
When choosing timber doors it’s important to look at the type of wood in your quote, too. Some timbers like Accoya or Afrormosia are strong and have a high rot and insect resistance. Afrormosia is on the endangered list so not necessarily a type of wood you want to choose though.
Aluminium is a fantastic option for large doors as you can have extremely large doors with slim profiles but they are expensive and can look out of place in old properties.
Depending on where you live there may be restrictions on the type of material you can use, so check the rules and regulations where you live before you make any decisions.
Which way should bifold patio doors open?
When folded together bifold doors allow you to have a fantastic large opening but they do take up quite a lot of space when folded together so it’s important to consider in which direction the doors will open.
You can have them folding to the left or right, or even open them in the middle so you can fold them away to both sides of the opening.
It’s also worth considering if you want them to open inwards or outwards. Think about how you use your space both inside and outside and figure out where the stacked doors will be least intrusive.
In our case, it was a very simple decision. We wanted them to open outwards so as not to take away any space in our dining room and we folded them towards the garden fence so that they wouldn’t block the view or path into the garden.
Plan the threshold
Do you want a completely flat surface between the inside and outside? Or would a step be acceptable, too?
We wanted a smooth transition between indoor and outdoor living and didn’t want a barrier between the inside and outside so removed one course of brick to give us additional space for the frame.
Because the door is installed at a slightly lower level the frame finishes flush with the floor giving us a perfect barrier-free threshold.
It’s not a complicated thing to do, but it does have to be planned before you order your doors!
Look at other options
Bi fold patio doors are fabulous and we love ours but they aren’t the best solution for every space. There are other door systems like sliding doors which are a great alternative to bifold doors and are generally slightly cheaper, too. Sliding doors also have less frame area which means that you’ll have more glass and frames blocking your view.
Another great option, especially for period properties is double french doors. They can look classic or super modern and allow you to create a large opening without the expense of bifold doors.
Bifold Patio Door FAQ
We spent a total of £4000 on our doors. This included all building work, the doors and installation but not the making good on the inside. We had our doors installed in 2016 and prices have increased a lot. I’d expect to pay around double that at the moment.
We loved our doors and are planning on installing them in our new home, too. We think they are worth splurging on but it’s always worth looking at other options to find the best solution for your house.
Yes, we found that bifold patio doors are about 30% more expensive than sliding doors (based on the quotes we got). This will always depend on the size of your doors, materials, location and house as well though.
We still have so many home improvements we need to do in this room including replastering around the window and we still need to add an architrave around the window, too.
We’re also looking forward to installing some fabulous decking to connect the inside and outside even more.
What do you think – was it worth spending extra on bifold patio doors? Would you install bifold doors in your home?
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