How Much do UPVC Bifold Doors Cost?
A buyers’ guide to UPVC Bifold door features & prices
It has long been the material of choice for replacement windows, so it’s going to come as no surprise that it is now being used to great effect in modern UPVC Bifold door designs.
So if you are thinking of installing a set of medium to large size internal doors or a new patio door, here is a short guide that will cover:
- The Basics – what is a bifold door?
- The main design features of bi-folding patio doors.
- Differences between UPVC & other types of Bifold Doors?
- What are the different opening options?
- Advantages & Disadvantages.
- How much do UPVC bifold doors cost?
What we hope you gain from reading this article is a more rounded understanding of what you can expect from UPVC bifold doors in terms of performance, features and cost.
Back to Basics – What is a Bifold Door?
A typical bifold patio door, also sometimes referred to as a multi-folding door, is made up of a series of full length (double or triple) glazed panels connected adjacent to each other. The panels are joined together by a hinge system that allows them to concertina (fold) and slide to the side.
The doors are kept within the frame by rollers fitted to the top and bottom of the doors. The rollers themselves are locked within guide tracks that are fitted within the outer door frame.
The rollers are the things that take the weight of the doors. You can have the weight taken by the top set of rollers (top hung) or by the bottom set (bottom hung). This roller system is low friction and therefore makes the doors easy to open or close.
When bifold doors are opened they “stack” to the side of your choice, left, right or both. You also have the choice that, once moved to the sides, the folded door panels can be on the “inside” or “outside” of the room.A design feature that is very useful in sets of bifold patio doors with a lot of panels is the traffic door. A traffic door is one panel that is fitted in such a way as to open and close like a regular door. So, if you just want to go outside and the weather is not that good, you only have to open the one door to do so.
Once the doors are fully open they leave an almost 100% fully clear space, a super wide uncluttered view of your exterior. It is this panoramic view that’s making Bifold doors the preferred option in contemporary design.
Bifolds are internal and external, with the opening mechanism functioning the same for each. A bifold can have anywhere between two to six or even more panels. These panels slide with the help of rollers attached at the top and bottom of the door frame.
What are the main features of UPVC Bifold Doors?
The design aspects are going to be more or less the same with each material used in the frame construction, with just minor visual features being different
However, you do have a choice of which material to use for the frames and, apart from UPVC obviously, there are wooden bifold doors or aluminium bifold doors.
- Timber bifold doors can expand or contract during prolonged wet or dry periods, which can present itself by the doors fitting less well. The swelling or shrinking can cause the doors to stick, jam or deform making them difficult to open and close properly. Excessive shrinkage will allow water & wind to enter.
- Aluminium bifold doors are definitely good looking, energy efficient and strong, but they come with a higher price tag. If you live in a coastal area, the high amount of “salty air” could encourage corrosion to form.
Exactly opposite to UPVC or timber, aluminium is a natural conductor of heat and cold. So to combat this you have to make sure there are really effective (and long lasting) thermal breaks built into the frame. If the thermal break fails, then it’s unlikely to be able to be repaired and the door or frame will need to be fully replaced.
UPVC is a light, durable, long lasting material that has proven itself over many years as a great product to use in windows and doors, because it lasts such a long time with very little looking after.
The other properties of UPVC, such as being a naturally insulating and non-reactive material, just go to improve the suitability for using it in the manufacture of bifold patio doors.
A typical door height will be around 6’ 6” or just about 2000mm (plus the frame), so the UPVC door frames are quite long. In order to make the doors rigid and improve the structural strength, galvanised steel reinforcing is used within the UPVC profiles.
The profiles themselves are multi-chambered and this is where the reinforcing goes. The chambers also help with lightening the weight and improving thermal efficiency (6 or 7 chambers are best).
External uPVC bifold doors are very customisable, and come in all widths and lengths depending on the area you are planning to cover.
Typical features of external UPVC bifold doors
- Slimline frame options
- Low-level or flush fitted threshold tracks
- Storm proof weather seals (BS 6375/1:2009 / certified to PAS23/24)
- Internal glazing beads
- Nylon or stainless steel rollers
- 3 or 5 lever mortice lock
- “D” pad handles operating shoot bolts & multi-point hook locks
- Up to 28mm double glazed units
- Low-e energy saving glass
- Tempered / Toughened / Laminated glazing
- Triple glazing options
- Internal / integrated window blind options
- Multiple colour options / dual colour options
- Concealed hinges and gear
As a major feature of a bifold door, the glazing that you choose to fit is very important, particularly so in relation to safety & security or energy efficiency.
Safety & security wise, toughened glass should always be used. In any case, UK building regulation compliance would mandate the use of safety glass in a full length door like this. Laminated glass is the safest option, although quite a bit more expensive.
Energy wise, double glazing should be fitted to external bifold doors as a minimum. To improve the energy saving properties of the double glazing you can use gas filled sealed units (Argon / Krypton / Xenon) and have solar control glass, such as metal oxide coated low emissivity products.
The thickness of the sealed unit will also have a bearing on the energy efficiency (as well as the sound deadening properties). Sealed units vary in thickness, but a recommended minimum gap size would be 16mm.
With the glass being 4mm thick, that would give an overall dimension of 24mm. 20mm gaps will improve the performance further (giving an overall unit thickness of 28mm).
In terms of appearance, UPVC bifold doors can come in up to 20 different colours, depending on the supplier / manufacturer.
Popular colours would be:
- White / White Ash
- Chartwell Green
- Light Oak / Irish Oak / Golden Oak
- Rosewood / Mahogany
- Black, Brown / Back Ash / Anthracite Grey
On top of these you have two more options which are:
1Wood-grain / Timber-grain effect surfaces
It is usually the outer surface which is textured to replicate the look and feel of a wooden door. Created by a process known as foiling, the textures are bonded to the profiles during manufacture which makes it last the lifetime of the door. It won’t peel off or get faded from exposure to direct sunlight.
You can elect to have one colour UPVC on the outside of the frame, and a different one on the inside, such as:
- Golden Oak / White
- Rosewood / White
- Irish Oak / White
- Black Ash / White
- Anthracite Grey / White
What are the different opening options for UPVC Bifold Doors?
The patio door versions will start even with a 2 panel configuration, but to be fair, bifolds’ work best in wider openings, so that you get the “full effect” of that super wide clear opening.
Traffic doors can be used where there are 3 panels or more, but to be honest, why would you want to use a traffic door in a 3 panel set? Doors can fold to the left or right and stack to the inside or to the outside.
Typical Installation sizes and panel configurations
- 2 door set: Left or right opening / stack in or out / up to 2500mm
- 3 door set: Left or right opening / traffic door / stack in or out / 2400 to 3000mm
- 4 door set: Left or right opening / traffic door / stack in or out / 3000 to 4000mm
- 5 door set: Left, right or centre opening / traffic door / stack in or out / 3500 to 4500mm
- 6 door set: Left, right or centre opening / traffic door / stack in or out / 4000mm and over
What are the Advantages of Using uPVC Bifold doors?
Bi-folding patio doors add the illusion of extra space by opening up the room and allowing loads of natural light to get in.
If you keep in mind the features available, what you have is an energy-efficient, eco-friendly design that is “kind” to your energy bill whilst keeping your home secure and allowing you to enjoy a panoramic view of your exterior.
UPVC takes hardly any effort to maintain and so all the hassle of regular painting & other upkeep is a thing of the past. Add to that the cost effective nature of UPVC products and you have the closest thing to a perfect solution
Are There Any Drawbacks to uPVC Bifold Doors?
You should know that bi-folding doors are not the least expensive type of patio doors. They do have a few complicated moving parts, such as the rollers. They will require maintenance and some replacement parts. After several years of service, they may end up being difficult to find or cost more than those used for regular patio doors.
Another thing to consider is the large amount of light that enters the room and the fact that you may be exposed to prying eyes. However, this potential disadvantage is no more problematic than with any type of full length glass door and can be resolved by simply installing integral blinds, vertical blinds, tinted glass etc.
How Much Do uPVC Bifold Doors Cost?
A set of uPVC bifold doors can cost around £1,200 for a simple three panel design but the same design can go up to £1,900 if manufactured with more advanced materials or has a few additional features.
You should bear in mind that with each panel added, you’ll be paying a few hundreds of pounds more.
What is meant by that is, for example, both a 3 door and 4 door option can fit within a 3000mm opening, but a 4 door set will cost more than a 3 door set.
If you go the route of supply only and have the doors fitted by a contractor, installing a bifold will take around 1.5 to 2 days (depending on the size & complexity of the job). You will most definitely have to hire no less than two persons.
A carpenters’ rate is typically £150.00 per day (£15 to £20 per hour), while a labourer would cost around half that – giving a daily rate of between £225 to £250.
You could possibly find that doing it this way may be less expensive than having the door supplied and fitted by a double glazing company, but you need to think about things like guarantees and warranties.
The doors will also have to meet, and be certified as meeting, the UK building regulations. Accredited installers by FENSA and CERTASS are qualified to do this on your behalf and is included in the costs. If you don’t use an installer who is allowed to self-certify, you will have to do it yourself by getting a local authority inspector to visit your home and pay the associated fees for certification.
How much do 2 panel bifold doors cost?
2 PANEL COLOUR PRICE RANGE
120cm x 210cm UPVC White from £1,900
150cm x 210cm UPVC White from £2,000
180cm x 210cm UPVC White from £2,500
How much do 3 panel bifold doors cost?
3 PANEL COLOUR PRICE RANGE
180cm x 210cm UPVC White £2,600 to £2,800
210cm x 210cm UPVC White £2,700 to £2,900
250cm x 210cm UPVC White £2,900 to £3,500
How much do 4 panel bifold doors cost fully fitted?
4 PANEL COLOUR PRICE RANGE
300cm x 220cm White £3,000 to £3,500
300cm x 220cm Irish Oak £4,000 to £4,500
350cm x 220cm White £4,000 to £4,500
It’s easy to see why the appeal of external uPVC bifold doors have made it one of the most popular door designs today. If you’re looking for a way to bring the great outdoors into your home, then choosing a bifold patio door will surely be the perfect solution.
Their durability, flexibility, functionality and appearance is proof that modern-day technology does wonders for interior and exterior home design.
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