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Bifold door advice  >  External  >  Bifold doors for extensions: Considerations, types & FAQs

Bifold doors for extensions: Considerations, types and FAQs

Bifold doors are an excellent addition to any extension, large or small. Like all external bifold doors, there are considerations to be made when choosing your bifold door. In this guide, you will find the main options you’ll be confronted with, the typical types of extension available and the best bifold doors to use with them.

In this guide:

Considerations

Cost

Cost should always be a factor when purchasing bifold doors. However, some people forget to consider the cost of a door when planning their extension. This can lead to last-minute cheap purchases and a poorer quality door. When planning, you should incorporate the cost of the bifold door into your overall extension costs to ensure better value, quality and longevity.

Vufold bifold door price comparison
Bifold door range Price
Elite (Oak) From £1,399
Master (Wooden) From £1,599
Status (Aluminium) From £1,849
Supreme (Aluminium) From £2,399
Ultra (composite) From £2,799

Material

The material of your extension bifold doors is an important consideration as it will play a part in the aesthetic, durability and cost of your bifold doors.

Supreme aluminium range

The table below compares the three main materials: aluminium, timber, uPVC.

Extension bifold doors: aluminium vs timber vs uPVC
Consideration Aluminium Timber uPVC
Maintenance
  • Very low maintenance
  • Only needs an occasional wipe with soapy water
  • Needs occasional clean with soapy water two times a year
  • Will require re coating between 2 – 5 years
  • Prone to contracting and expanding
  • Looks worn faster than alternatives
  • Regular maintenance required to ensure smooth operation
Style
  • Has a distinctly contemporary look
  • Comes in a range of powder-coated finishes
  • Offers the widest range of styles
  • Can be varnished or painted in a range of colours
  • Looks cheaper than the alternatives
  • Available in different colours
Thermal efficiency
  • Very thermally efficient
  • Triple-glazing is available for added efficiency
  • Wood is a naturally good insulator Offers the widest range of styles
  • Double and triple glazing available for external doors
  • Thermal efficiency can vary between manufacturers
  • Expansion and contraction can reduce thermal efficiency
Durability
  • Very durable
  • Durable
  • Durable
Cost
  • Highest initial cost
  • Paying for durability and quality
  • Low to mid-level
  • Wide range of styles to fit most budgets
  • Mid-level

You can find out more about the differences between aluminium and uPVC by visiting our guide:

External bifold doors: aluminium v uPVC

Glass/Glazing

The glazing of your bifold will affect the thermal efficiency. There are three main types of glazing:

  • Single glazing – just a single pane of glass with very little thermal insulation. You will mostly find them on listed buildings where other types of glazing cannot be installed
  • Double glazing – the most common type of glazing in the modern home. It is created by separating two panes of glass with a spacer bar. The gap between the panes is filled with air or an inert gas (Argon) which reduces heat transfer between the outside and your home.
  • Triple glazing – uses the same technology as double glazing, but includes an extra pane of glass for added thermal insulation.

For external doors, you should try to purchase a bifold with double or triple glazing.

Extension size

The benefit of bifold doors over alternatives is that they can fit almost any size. Vufold offers doors from 1.8 metres to over 6 metres in width. If your extension requires a unique size or style, you can contact Vufold for prices on bespoke doors.

Expert quote: “Bifold doors can have a big impact on smaller extensions. They can bring in more natural light and draw your eye to the garden, creating a feeling of space” -Rick Collins, Director, Vufold

Daily access (traffic/lead) doors

A daily access door, also known as a traffic or lead door, is the part of a bifold that acts as a traditional opening door. It opens and closes as a normal door would with a handle. This means you don’t need to operate the entire bifold if you are passing through.

Why should I have a traffic door?

The two main reasons you should have a traffic door is:

  • The bifold door is the only access to the garden - you can just open the Lead door if you’re for example letting the dog out for a run.
  • The bifold door will all stack to one side when open – Bifolds with an odd number of doors all fold to one side.

How big does a bifold have to be to include a traffic door?

Wooden bifolds include a traffic door from 1.8m widths upwards, Aluminium and uPVC doors are 2.1m and upwards. If your opening is smaller you may want to look at French doors.

Types of extension

In this section, you will find information on the main types of extension, some considerations to make when installing a bifold, and the best bifold for the job.

The main types of extension are:

Kitchen extensions

Kitchen extensions can come in many different shapes and styles. The right bifold door can suit both traditional and contemporary-style kitchen extensions. This means that the main decision you have is personal taste. However, ventilation is also a key consideration.

Ventilation

Good ventilation keeps condensation to a minimum. Boiling liquids produce a lot of steam which, when it makes contact with something cool, turns into condensation. You can ensure your kitchen has decent ventilation by:

  • Purchasing an extractor fan
  • Ensuring there is at least one window as well as your bifold door
  • Choosing a bifold with a trickle vent (a small opening that allows a small amount of ventilation), if your kitchen has no window

Best bifold for contemporary style kitchen extensions 

The Vufold Master range

The Vufold Master range is a stylish modern bifold with a hardwood veneer. It comes in a choice of white or grey—perfect colours for a contemporary kitchen.

Key features:

master range
  • Slim sightlines, offering more light and better views
  • Energy efficient
  • Easy installation and operation
  • Multi-point locking system for added security

 

From £1,599

Best bifold for traditional style kitchen extensions

The Vufold Elite range

The Vufold Elite range offers a timeless oak style. It is available with a high-quality finish or unfinished, allowing you to stain, varnish or paint your bifold to any style you desire.

Key features:

elite range
  • Easy installation and operation
  • Energy efficient
  • 10 year guarantee
  • Comes with chrome handles as standard
  • Stainless steel hardware

From £1,399

Bedroom extensions

Fitting extra bedrooms in your home can increase your property’s value. Alternatively, if you are looking to improve your current bedrooms, bifold doors can still add light and create a feeling of space.

Ground floor or top floor?

If your bedroom is on the ground floor, you will likely want the bifold to lead into the garden. It is worth considering whether you would like a traffic door. A traffic door can open separately from the bifold, meaning you can access the garden through a single door without having to open the whole set. We recommend choosing a three-door bifold if you require a traffic door.

If your bedroom is on the top floor, your bifold doors will be leading out to a balcony. Depending on the size of balcony, your bifold door can either open outwards or inwards. If you decide your doors should open inwards, you will need to take the space required into consideration. The Vufold Status or Supreme ranges are available as open-out or open-in.

Ventilation

While bifold doors do let air in and out of a room, you may also want to consider a more passive option. Try to ensure you have at least one window in a room along with your bifold doors. This simply adds an easier way to ventilate the space.

 

Best bifold door for bedroom extensions

Vufold Ultra bifold door range

Beautiful in style and design, the Vufold Ultra bifold door offers a contemporary look with low maintenance practicality. It offers the benifits of aluminium bi-fold doors and timber.

Key features:

ultra range
  • Top-hung for fingertip operation
  • Triple glazing for the highest level of thermal efficiency
  • Resilient aluminium cladding outside and fashionable oak on the inside, to match interior flooring and furnishings
  • Matching window suite
  • 10 – 15-year guarantee

From £2,799

Conservatory extensions

conservatory extensions

Standard and lean-to conservatories are unlike normal extensions as the roofs and most (if not all) of the walls are made from glass. This means the structure isn’t as strong as typical bricks and mortar extensions. For external bifold doors from your conservatory to the garden, you will likely need to use bottom-rolling bifold doors.

From £1,849

A downside of standard bottom-rolling bifold doors is the main track can get filled with debris that block or damage the roller, causing the door to jam. However, Vufold offer two ranges of doors that can solve this issue:

Vufold Status bifolding doors

The Status range utilises a sealed outer frame that helps stop debris from falling into the main track. This stops any blockages and ensures smooth operation.

Key features:

  • Energy efficient
  • Slim sightlines
  • 15 year guarantee
  • Matching window suite available

 

Vufold Supreme bifolding doors

The Supreme range offers bottom rolling technology that is self-cleaning and fully adjustable, for smooth operation.

Key features:

bifolding doors
  • Self-cleaning track
  • Easy installation
  • Fully adjustable hinges
  • Energy efficient
  • 15-year guarantee

From £2,399

If your conservatory is small, it may be worth viewing French doors. Vufold French doors offer easy installation, affordability and robust quality.

You can find out more about French doors by visiting our guide:

Patio doors: bifold, sliding and French doors

Small extensions

Small extensions can still look fantastic with bifold doors. The doors create a feeling that the extension is bigger than it actually is by bringing in natural light and drawing your eye to the garden. Your main consideration for small extension bifolds is whether to include a traffic door or not.

Do I need a traffic door for a small extension?

If your bifolds doors are the only way to access the garden from your small extension, we highly recommend that your bifolds have a traffic door included. Smaller two-door bifolds do not include a traffic door.

Traffic doors provide easy access between areas without having to operate the entire bifolding door. They are a necessity for any high-traffic area such as conservatories, as they save time and effort when operating the door.

We recommend a minimum of a three door bifold of 1.8 – 2.1 metres.

 

Best bifold doors for small extensions

The Vufold Master bi-folding door

The Vufold Master range offers affordability and style with a hardwood veneer. The Master range is available in a three-coat factory finish of white or grey.

small extensions
  • Biggest glass area on the market—offering more light and better views
  • Simple installation
  • Fully adjustable hinges
  • 10-year guarantee
  • Multi-point locking system for added security

Living/dining extensions

living and dining room extensions

Living room and dining room extensions are a very popular style of extension. Many people like the idea of combining a dining experience with the stunning views of their garden. Almost any room in the home can be improved with more natural light, and living and dining rooms are no different.

You may want to consider blinds for living rooms as light can cause glare on television screens. Vufold offer specifically designed blinds for both their Master and Elite bifold range.

FAQs

Will bifolding doors provide enough light in a north-facing extension?

Bifold doors are mostly made from glass, meaning they can allow a lot more light into the room than a standard window (or wall). For ventilation purposes, we recommend you also have a window in your new extension, which will also illuminate the extension.

Do you need planning permission to install bifold doors?

It is unlikely that you will need to obtain planning permission for bifold doors. However, this isn’t always the case. See below, to find some of the reasons you might be purchasing bifold doors and whether you will need planning permission.

Changing existing doors in the home: If you are replacing doors and keeping them similar to the existing doors, you will not need to obtain planning permission. However, if your new bifold doors require structural changes to the building, you may need to apply for planning permission.

New extension in the home: If you are building a new extension, you will obviously need to apply for planning permission. The planners will check the boundaries of your home and decide if the new structure will have any impact on your neighbours. The inclusion of bifold doors is very unlikely to affect planning permission.

Conservation areas or listed buildings: If your property is part of a conservation area or is a listed building, you should contact your local council. Their planners will check to see how your bifold doors will affect the character of the structure and whether it is in keeping with the original property.

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