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Oak bifold doors: Benefits, considerations and finishes


Oak bifold doors combine beautiful aesthetics with practicality and durability. In this guide, you will find information on the benefits, costs and finishes of oak bifold doors.



Benefits of oak bifold doors

  • Thermal efficiency –– Oak bifold doors are energy efficient due to the denseness of the wood. Oak bifold doors help trap heat during the cold winters, which can help keep your energy prices down
  • Timeless style –– Oak is a popular type of wood and compliments many different types of furnishings including wooden floors, tables, chairs and cupboards. The natural wooden tones mean that no matter your home’s decoration, oak doors are a fantastic option
  • Durable and long lasting –– Doors should be an investment and they should last you a long time. Oak doors are solid and incredibly durable, which is why Vufold offer up to a 15-year guarantee on some of our oak bifold doors
  • Environmentally friendly –– Oak is a natural material and requires less manufacturing compared to synthetic materials. Less manufacturing means less harmful carbon dioxide. Vufold’s oak doors only come from responsibly sourced locations and are compliant with environmental, health and safety protection requirements
  • Sound absorption –– Oak is not only excellent for thermal efficiency but sound absorption as well


Oak veneer vs solid wood

When researching oak bifold doors, you will find two terms that are frequently used: oak veneer and solid wood. These terms reference the way the doors were made.


Oak veneer

Oak veneer is created by glueing layers of wood veneers together over an engineered core. Oak veneer is an extremely popular contemporary door type because:

  • It is less likely to warp when applied over an engineered core, ensuring durability

  • It is a sustainable material due to the amount of veneer that can be created from a single block of wood

  • It is versatile with a range of beautiful styles to choose from


Solid wood

As the name suggests, solid wood doors are made from a solid wood slab. Solid wood doors are a viable option but can be more costly. They are also more likely to expand and contract due to varying temperatures and exposure to moisture.



Costs

The benefits mentioned above mean that oak is not the cheapest material available. However, an oak door is an investment. Cheaper materials risk poorer quality doors, higher chances of damage and reduced longevity.

The table below showcases the prices for aluminium, oak and uPVC bifold doors. Oak sits comfortably as a mid-range material that doesn’t sacrifice quality for a lower price.


Costs: aluminium, oak, uPVC

 

Aluminium

Finished Oak

UPVC*

1.8 Metres

£1849

(2 door)

£1699

(3 door)

*£1249

(3 door)

2.4 Metres

£2649

(3 door)

£1999

(3 door)

*£1499

(3 door)

3.0 Metres

£2749

(3 door)

£2629

(4 door)

*£1749

(4 door)

3.6 Metres

£3449

(4 door)

£3199

(5 door)

*£1999

(4 door)

*Based on average prices. Vufold do not stock uPVC bifold doors.



Internal and external oak bifold doors

Internal and external bifold doors require different considerations. For example, weatherproofing needs to be considered for external doors but not internal doors.

In this section, you will find considerations you need to make depending on whether you are choosing an interior or exterior oak bifold door set.


Considerations for internal oak bifold doors

Key considerations:

Access

How much you intend to use your internal bifold door set will influence whether you need a daily access door (also known as a lead door or traffic door). A traffic door acts as a traditional door that opens without having to operate the entire folding door.

If you are installing oak internal doors in a location with high footfall, you should look at purchasing a bifold with a lead door. The Vufold Inspire range is available with two, three or four doors (depending on the size). The three and four-door versions include a central opening door that offers daily access.

Space and stacking

The amount of available living space you can sacrifice for your interior door system should inform which side and direction the bifolds will open. Your bifold door should open into the room with the most space.

Internal bifold doors can open towards or away from you. This can be decided before fitting but cannot be changed after, so ensure you take the time to plan.

For a standard three-door bifold, such as Finesse or Edge ranges, you need to choose whether your doors will stack to the left or right. This can also be chosen prior to installation but not after. See the diagram below for some examples of how bifold doors can stack.

4 door systems using bifold doors

You can also find four-door systems that utilise an access door along with three leaves which operate as a standard three-door system.

SPACE SAVER: VUFOLD INSPIRE

The Vufold Inspire range utilises a brand-new design to help save space. Unlike standard bifolds, Inspire doors open centrally and fold 180 degrees against the wall on either side (except on a two-door version). This maximises the size of the opening itself and minimises the stacking size. A lead door is provided for easy access.

The Vufold Inspire range is perfect for houses where living space is an issue. You can find out more by visiting the Vufold Inspire product page.

An open internal bifold door


Finishes

There are two door finish options for Vufold's oak bifolds:

  • Unfinished oak –– this allows you to add your own finish including stains, varnish or paint. This is available for both external and internal bifold doors
  • Finished oak –– this is only available for external bifold doors

Internal bifold doors can use clear finishes as they will not require protection from UV rays. They will need refinishing every few years to ensure durability.

You can find out more about finishes including a comparison between finished or unfinished oak in our section below.


Best oak internal bifold door: Edge

An Edge bifold door set will add a stylish contemporary look to your room, utilising four glass panes of toughened safety glass. The Edge range combines specially designed hardware with a top-hung system for smooth operation.

The top hung system means that Edge doors can be installed with or without a threshold (also known as trackless). Trackless systems are perfect if you are looking for a seamless transition between rooms. A track system is better for stability.

Prices start from £1,109.

An example of an internal bifold door leading to a couch



Considerations of external oak bifold doors

Key considerations:

Thermal efficiency

Ensuring your bifold door is thermally efficient is incredibly important. Thermal efficiency keeps your rooms cool in the summer and warm in the winter. A thermally efficient bifold door does this by trapping heat whilst allowing some ventilation. A thermally efficient bifold door can also be described as energy efficient because it will require less energy to keep your rooms hot/cool, saving you money.

To ensure your bifold door is energy efficient, you need to check it’s overall U-value.

What is the U-value?

The U-value is the measurement of material insulation effectiveness. The lower the U-value, the better the insulation of a material.

What is the overall U-value?

Bifold doors have two U-values—one for the glass and another for the door frames.

The overall U-value is worked out by combining the U-value of both components. The U-value of the glass is generally better than the frame due to thermal breaks installed in the glass. It’s important to ask for the overall U-value, not just that of the glass.

According to the Building Regulations for existing dwellings, the overall U-value should be 1.8 W/m2K or less.

Glazing

Glazing is important for external bifold doors due to its ability to improve the overall U-value of a door system. There are three types of glazing available:

  • Single–glazed –– mostly found on listed buildings, consisting of a single pane of glass
  • Double–glazed –– the most common type of glazing, taking two glass panes and separating them with a spacer bar
  • Triple–glazed –– uses the same technology as double glazed but adds an extra layer for further thermal insulation

You are very unlikely to find any single-glazed external bifold doors unless they are specially made. You should try to install double or triple glazing to ensure thermal efficiency.

Security

Keeping your house secure will be high on your priority list. Bifold doors offer excellent security features without sacrificing aesthetics. These features include:

Locks

A high-quality lock ensures a top level of security. Vufold recommends multipoint locks. A multipoint lock uses several different types of locking mechanisms for extra stability and security. They are an excellent choice for any security-conscious buyer, offering three times the level of security offered by standard deadbolt or mortice locks.

Vufold supplies door handles that fit a Vectis type locking system. Vectis type locking systems are safe and secure due to their high security specifications.

Glass

All external bifold doors should use glass that is safe and secure without being detrimental to quality. Most external bifold doors come installed with one of two types of glass:

  • Tempered (toughened) glass which is four to five times stronger than standard glass, created by heating and cooling standard glass in a tempering furnace

  • Laminated glass which does not shatter when impacted and is created using a vinyl layer sandwiched between two pieces of glass

UV protection

External doors that are exposed to the sun’s rays will eventually become damaged. The best way to protect your oak bifold door is by purchasing a tinted finish. It will be able to protect from UV damage for many years, with regular maintenance.

Best oak external bifold door: Elite

The Vufold Elite range boasts strength, durability and reliability, as well as the slimmest door stiles on the market, with a greater glass area for better views. A combination of stunning aesthetics and finger-tip operation cements the Elite as one of the best external bifold doors available.

Elite doors are prefinished with three coats of microporous factory-applied finish for maximum UV protection. The glass is double-glazed toughened tempered safety glass for excellent thermal efficiency.

Prices start from £1,489

An example from a bifold door leading outside onto a patio



FINISHED VS UNFINISHED OAK

When purchasing oak bifold doors, you will need to make a decision between purchasing doors that are unfinished or factory finished. Both choices have their benefits and drawbacks.


Finished Wooden Bifolds

A finished door is one that comes ready for installation. These kinds of bifold doors are manufactured to specific standards by using cutting-edge equipment and techniques that are far beyond what you can afford to do at home. Factory conditions ensure your doors arrive in an optimum state, with less risk of accidental damage or contact with moisture prior to finishing.

Vufold’s factory finished doors are painted and stained to the highest quality. The doors are also provided with all frames, tracks and hinge positions pre-cut to size, along with all hardware and fixings, ready for simple onsite assembly.

PROS

CONS

Factory finish conditions are optimum and there is less risk of your doors being exposed to the elements or scratched prior to being fully sealed and varnished

You cannot influence the final colour as much as you can with a local tradesman

Your warranty with Vufold dictates that the doors are professionally sealed and varnished

 

The doors will go through a rigorous coating progress to strengthen and increase durability, with a micro-porous finish to allow the timber to breath

 


UNFINISHED WOODEN BIFOLDS

An unfinished door is designed to be finished either by you or your installation team. If you have a particular finish or colour in mind, an unfinished door will be your best choice.

Vufold’s unfinished oak doors are also pre-cut to size and ready to assemble, with all hardware supplied.

The downside to unfinished doors is that they require the application of several coats. This should be done after sanding and cleaning the door. This ensures that your door surface will be smooth and reduces the risk of moisture getting trapped in the wood.

PROS

CONS

You get complete control over the final door finish and look

If you make any mistakes during the treatment process, it may invalidate your warranty

You can save money on your order, especially if your doors are being fitted as part of a wider project such as a new extension

Vufold only recommends using a microporous wood coating system. Your warranty will be invalidated should you not follow these explicit conditions as listed in our owner’s manual. Vufold does not recommend the use of a wax or an oil

 

You have more risk of damage and/or exposure to the elements before the wood is properly sealed and varnished