Introduction to bi-fold doors

If you're exploring options for entry points and doorways in the home, you've probably already come across bi-fold doors. Bi-fold doors allow you to create an elegant yet practical point of entry to spaces in the home. So what are bi-fold doors and how do they work?
The first thing to know about bi-fold doors is that they're made of a series of panels, usually between two to seven, and are designed to slide open by folding the panels against the wall. Much like a concertina, bi-fold doors are designed to be folded-over in order to stack up against the walls. This not only frees up the space that's usually required for conventional, single-leaf doors, but it also gives you an unobstructed view and complete access to the next space in your house.

Bi-fold doors work by using a tracking system along the panels that are connected on a train. As the doors fold in on themselves, they glide along the tracking system with the support of a lower tracking system or a series of wheels. This means they're smooth and quiet to operate.
Bi-folds come in a range of designs, so you can use them in indoor-to-outdoor exit points or as interior doorways. You can have bi-fold doors that are glazed with large glass panels to let the light in, or have your bi-folds in solid materials like wood for privacy.

What to consider when installing bi-fold doors

When choosing bi-fold doors, start by checking whether your space is suitable by asking for an opinion from an architect or a bi-fold door expert. They can give you advice on the most appropriate size of frames, and the best areas for bi-folds in your home.

Configurations

The configuration of your bi-folds refers to the number of panels in your door, as well as how they’ll open (either inwards or outwards). For example, you can have five panels in your door that all open in one way, or you can have two panels opening in one direction and three panels in the opposite way. How you configure your panels depends on the size of the opening and the space you have around the panels.

You might choose to have a lead door which can be opened by itself without needing to open all the other panels. Additionally, you can add extra interest and bring in more light by adding features like glass panels or fly screens in your bi-fold doors for clear and uninterrupted views.

Price

So how much does a bi-fold door cost? The price will depend on your configuration. The more panels you have in your door and/or the larger your panels, the more you'll be paying.

Colour

Bi-fold doors are available in an array of colours, so you'll probably be able to find one that complements the colours of your interiors. For example, you could choose from attractive solid colours, or metallic shades for a futuristic, modern look. You can also get bi-fold doors in classic wood-grain finishes, and even have panels with a different colour on either side.

Materials

You can purchase bi-fold doors made from aluminium, and this is a popular material as it's lightweight, easy to maintain, and durable. You can also get bi-fold doors made from PVC or timber. PVC bi-folds tend to bring more energy-efficiency benefits than aluminium, while pure timber bi-folds tend to be heavier. So when choosing the material, consider your design preferences as well as energy efficiency.

Thickness

Consider also the thickness when you're choosing your bi-fold door. Take a look at sample frames in person so you have a good idea of what they look like and how they feel. Bi-fold doors are often popular because they give you an unimpeded view when closed, but when you open them and have multiple panels stacking up, you end up with a considerable amount of material against the wall of your entry points. If the panels are fairly thick, you may decide to have fewer and larger panels.

To find out more about bi-fold door configurations and screening solutions, read this guide on bi-fold doors.

Read Guide

Screening bi-fold doors

Contrary to popular belief, bi-fold doors are not too difficult to screen. Screens won't interfere with the operation of your bi-fold doors if installed properly. In fact, they'll open up a new world of enjoyment as you'll be able to make the most of your bi-fold doors, enjoy clear outdoor views, and stay protected from flies and other insects. You can add screens to any type of bi-fold door, and they’re a wonderful, safe addition to your house as they allow you to open up your interiors to fresh air while keeping out the insects and pests. They won't take up a lot of room, and they're so easy to operate that even kids will be able to use them. Elegant and subtle, screens are a great complement to your bi-fold doors and they allow you to enjoy your views rather than take away from them.

When choosing a screen for your bi-fold doors, consider the size of the doorway as well as how you're using this doorway. For example, if you have three panels or more and they're opening to one side, you could have a single screen opening to the same side or a double screen in the offset configuration. You can also have other screening solutions for four or five panelled bi-fold doors.

How do retractable fly creens work?

On a practical level, retractable fly screens work like a roller blind. When you open the screen, the mesh rolls into a cassette which can be located at the top of the entry point or to either side. The spring-tensioned roll helps the screen gently roll back into the cassette for easy operation.

How do pleated screens work?

In contrast, plated screens feature a more streamlined approach to blinds, as they do not feature a cassette with a spring-tensioned mechanism. Instead, pleated screens quite logically use stacked pleats that conveniently fold as opposed to rolling back when the screen is put away when you put the screen away. Pleated screens are particularly well suited towards wide areas which bi-fold doors often demand.

Why screen bi-fold
doors

Bi-fold doors can be complemented by fly screens as they’re a discreet, elegant addition to your doorways. By adding pleated fly screens to your bi-fold doors, you keep flies and other insects outside where they belong. You'll be able to stay comfortable and free of nuisances inside your home while enjoying fresh air and amazing views outdoors.

Your concerns
answered

Myths about screening bi-fold doors persist despite the availability of high quality screens that can seamlessly complement your bi-fold doors. If you still have doubts, check out the answers to these common questions.

(i)

Will the screen take away from my view?

Your screen can be designed and installed to minimise any interruption to the view through your bi-fold doors. A reputable manufacturer will understand the point of your bi-fold doors is to open up your interiors to outdoor views and allow you to transition effortlessly from interior to exterior, and vice versa.
Great screening products are discreet, easily tucked out of view when not in use, and they're designed to be close to invisible when in operation. Depending on your doorway width, you could have one screen spanning the entire space, meaning you have no screen frames interrupting your view. If two or more screens are needed, they can be designed to meet at the centre with minimal view interruption.

(ii)

Will the screens take up more space?

The best screening products are designed to be compact in nature and roll or stack away out of view. With a wider doorway, you'll have a larger cassette and pleat stack back. The wider the opening, the less obvious the screening sections will become and so the more likely it'll blend easily into your doorway.

(iii)

Will they interfere with the door?

Bi-fold door screening options won't interfere with the operation of your doors, provided they're installed correctly. The most popular options suitable for bi-fold doors, including retractable and pleated screens, roll in and out or extend back and forth without interrupting the operation of your bi-fold doors. The cassette into which your retractable screen rolls fits to the side of the door, and if the doors are open, the screen won't come into contact with handles and hardware on your doors.
If there’s potential for any contact, you can have your screen mounted to the face of the door frame, or otherwise built so as to clear it. In the majority of cases, you can have screens installed in a way to eliminate any potential for contact between door and screen.

To find out more about screens for bi-fold doors, read our guide here.

Read Guide

Home extensions and bi-fold doors

Bi-fold doors are one of the best features to keep in mind when planning renovations in your home. They're perfect for integrating two spaces that might be separated as they give you the option to quickly extend one space into the next, or alternatively make a space more intimate and cosy. Bi-fold doors are also great for opening up barriers to outdoor living spaces and introducing an uninterrupted outdoor view. Versatile and stylish, bi-fold doors can make your home extension spaces look bigger, while boosting security and energy efficiency. Remember to add pleated insect screens to your bi-fold door budget, as screening your doorways will enable you to achieve full enjoyment without the nuisance of insects.

When considering bi-fold doors in extending your house, think about the size of your garden and make sure the extension is proportional to the size of your garden. If you have plenty of doorway space, you can include more panels, but bi-fold doors with fewer panels work best for narrow doorways. Remember to work with professionals and check with the council about any permits required before you get started.

To learn about bi-fold doors for home extensions, read more here.

Read Guide

Landscaping and your bi-fold doors

Bi-fold doors can be used anywhere in your home, but one of the most popular ways to use them is as an entry point between interior and exterior spaces. For interior living spaces, bi-fold doors can provide the perfect transition point from your living area out into your backyard. Complemented with discreet, elegant fly screens, your bi-fold doors will allow you to enjoy the views without letting insects into your house.

You'll want to ensure you’re looking at a beautiful view through your bi-folds, so use these quick tips to upgrade the landscaping in your garden.

  • Outdoor living spaces You can have your bi-fold door open out onto an outdoor living space, such as a deck with outdoor furniture, barbeque, or even an outdoor kitchen. You can add umbrellas, sails, or a roof to these living spaces to extend their usable period throughout all seasons.
  • Hedging for privacyIf you live in a high-density area, why not plant some screening hedges or tall trees to block out the neighbour's views into your backyard and interior spaces?
  • Balconies and small gardensIf your view is a balcony or small garden, add pots and think vertical. Use vertical planters or walls to bring nature to smaller outdoor spaces.
  • Focal pointsEnliven a bland landscape by introducing focal points like fountains, pools, sculptures, feature walls, urns, archways, or even statues.
  • FeaturesAdd interest to your landscape with additional features like bricked or graveled pathways. Pathways look great, but they also help with setting divisions between grass, garden beds, and different sections of the garden.
  • ColourAdd colour throughout the seasons by choosing blooming flowers and evergreen plants.
  • LinesCreate symmetry and contrasts with boxed, tall, and short hedging, shrubbery, and lines of trees. Use borders, walls, raised garden beds, and pathways to create lines and interest in your landscape.

Conclusion

Bi-fold doors are versatile, classic additions to your home and they can create excellent transition points between interiors and exteriors. When choosing a bi-fold door, consider options for materials, configurations, colours, and thickness, and match these to your decor goals and practical preferences. If you're carrying out home extensions, bi-fold doors are also a great addition to consider, and you might want to take the opportunity to enhance your view by upgrading your garden landscaping. For full enjoyment and utility, your bi-fold doors are best complemented by fly screens, so consider adding rolling or pleated fly screens to your bi-fold door.

Artilux has been Australia's leading supplier of premium retractable fly screens for the last 30 years. We're committed to a customer-first philosophy and so we offer extensive warranties and free, on-site consultations. To find out more about how our products combine the best of style, performance and convenience, contact us for a discussion today.