Your Guide to Understanding the Basics About Folding Doors

Recent designs of folding doors are opening up new possibilities for homeowners and architects in contemporary home design.

Folding DoorsView in gallery

These doors allow access to closets and outdoor spaces without the space constraints of hinged doors. They also make seamless indoor/outdoor entertainment possible.

Unlike folding doors of the past, these new doors have a sleek and sophisticated design style that interior designers welcome.  

What are Folding Doors?

Folding doors, or bifold doors, are doors that have panels that are hinged together in vertical sections. These open and close in an accordion style and move on an upper or lower track.  

Folding doors allow you to access large openings with effortless control and bring in an abundance of natural light. They are also a more cost effective option compared with other large opening door systems.

Materials Used in Folding Door Frame Designs

Folding doors have become more popular in recent years, so manufacturers have created more bifold door options using varied materials.

  • Wood – Wooden folding doors are popular because of their natural warm look. People love the style of wood bifold door systems because they complement a wide range of design styles. These are some of the most expensive types of bifold doors, and they do require maintenance like painting and staining.  
  • Vinyl – Vinyl bifold doors are also a popular option with homeowners. These doors have a versatile style and work in both hot and cold climates. Vinyl folding doors are some of the least expensive choices. Vinyl bifold doors are used as exterior doors.
  • AluminumAluminum is another popular option for bifold door systems. Aluminum is lightweight and powder coated, so they are durable in all kinds of weather. The aluminum frames have a slim profile that is attractive to homeowners because of the additional light that the thin frames allow. Aluminum bifold doors are used in interior and exterior spaces.
  • Molded Composite – Molded composite doors are used as pantry and closet doors. These doors are not suitable for the outdoors because fabricators craft them from wooden pieces combined with a resin which deteriorates in moist weather.  
  • Fiberglass – Fiberglass has become a popular option for bifold doors. Fiberglass is a durable material and energy-efficient material that resists warping, rotting, and rusting. Also, you can customize fiberglass doors to resemble more expensive materials like wood. Fiberglass is not as expensive as wood, but it is one of the more expensive bifold exterior door options.
  • Exterior Composite – Some exterior folding doors feature a mix of materials like fiberglass and wood. The materials that are more durable like fiberglass or aluminum will face the outdoors while materials that are more attractive like wood will face the interior space.

Are Folding Doors A Good Idea?

Homeowners are always looking for the best door options for their homes. Folding doors have many benefits, but there are some situations where folding doors are not a good idea.  

Pros

  • Clearance – Both interior and exterior folding doors create large openings which make it easy to see multiple items or for indoor/outdoor entertainment.
  • Maintenance – Folding doors require little maintenance over time. 
  • Light – Some exterior and interior folding door designs feature large windows that allow gorgeous sunlight to flood your interior spaces.
  • Style – There are many style options for bifold doors. You can complement a variety of design styles from traditional to contemporary.

Cons

  • Frame – Some frame designs of bi-fold doors obstruct your view to the outdoors.
  • Water – Folding doors do not feature a threshold. Because there is no threshold, water can seep under the door if the patio or porch has not been sloped.  
  • Space – The accordion-style doors take up valuable space in the room when you open and store them on the side of the room.  

Folding Door Ideas

Interior designers and architects are using folding doors in more home designs as there has been growing interest in connection to outdoor spaces. We have gathered some inspirational ideas for you to see when considering bifold doors for your home.

Folding Patio Doors

Folding Patio DoorsView in gallery
bspk design inc.

bspk design inc created this gorgeous entertainment space at the La Canada Residence. They used folding doors from the living room to the patio so that the homeowners can entertain using the entire patio and interior area.

Folding Closet Doors

Folding Closet DoorsView in gallery
Contractors Wardrobe

Enhance your bathroom with a mirrored folding glass closet door. The Trimline Bifold closet door from Contractors Wardrobe has a spare but functional design.

Glass Bifold Door

Glass Bifold DoorView in gallery
Cravotta Interiors

Glass bifold doors suit both indoor and outdoor spaces. Cravotta Interiors used this metal and glass folding door to span the doorway of this contemporary family room in Austin. It is an ideal way to create two distinct spaces while keeping them connected.

Folding Exterior Doors

Folding Exterior DoorsView in gallery
LaCantina Doors

LaCantina Doors installed these gorgeous wooden folding doors in this rustic style home to maximize the stunning view.

Folding Glass Doors

Folding Glass DoorsView in gallery
Level One

This black metal frame folding door works well with this transitional style home. It keeps the look minimal and simple yet classic.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What is better than bifold doors?

Sliding doors have some advantages over bifold doors in that they have a threshold to keep water out, they allow larger window openings, and more minute opening options. You can create larger openings with bifold doors and these doors have a more modern and more pleasing style. In the end, these are both good options and it is up to the homeowner to decide which is better for them.

Do bifold doors break more than other doors?

No, bifold doors are not more prone to breaking than other types of doors like sliding panels or french doors. Use the highest quality rolling hardware in order to avoid future issues.

How long do bifold doors last?

Aluminum folding doors last around 45 years with proper maintenance. The same is true for fiberglass folding doors. Vinyl doors will not last as long. Make sure to care for your doors and maintain the hardware in order to prolong the life of your doors.

Are bifolds cold?

Doors with glass are more difficult to insulate than solid door options. If you want to make your home as energy efficient in the winter as possible, invest in insulated folding doors as these will minimize your heat loss throughout the cold months.

Conclusion

Folding closet doors have been utilized in home design for many years, but designers and homeowners are beginning to see the advantages of folding doors for exterior spaces as well. Today, most people are seeking to take advantage of the outdoors in a more organic way. There are few better ways to do this than to create flexible openings with large folding doors that connect all your spaces in a seamless way.