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Bi fold door advice  >  Internal  >  Comparing internal bifold door materials: Timber vs uPVC vs Aluminium

Comparing internal bifold door materials: Timber vs uPVC vs Aluminium

When you’re looking for internal bifold doors for your home, considering the right material for your new doors is important. Timber bifold doors are usually designed to be fitted internally. In some instances, uPVC and aluminium bifold doors are chosen but these materials are traditionally used for exterior bifold doors.

An interior bifold door will have different requirements to external bifold doors and each material has its own benefits and drawbacks. In this guide, we will discuss the factors you should consider when looking for the perfect internal bifold door for your home.

Quick summary: How do the materials compare?

open internal bifold door
Timber uPVC Aluminium
Made for internal use? Yes, specially designed for internal use Unlikely Unlikely
Maintenance Requires little maintenance Requires little maintenance Requires little maintenance
Style
  • Offers the widest range of styles
  • Can be varnished or painted in a wide range of colours
  • Looks cheaper than alternatives
  • Some options available in finish and colour
  • Has a distinct metallic look
  • Comes in a wide range of powder-coated finishes
Glazing Single glazed 4mm toughened safety glass If external – double glazed If external – double glazed
Durability
  • Durable
  • Can be easily re-finished to match a change in room decor
  • Durable
  • Not easily re-finished
  • Durable
  • Not easily re-finished
Price Low to mid-level Mid-level Most expensive

Which materials are best for internal bifold doors?

Internal bifold doors have a different set of requirements to external bifold doors. For example, thermal efficiency is incredibly important for external doors to protect your home from the elements. This means they are usually fitted with double or triple glazing, which increases door depth.

Deeper doors take up more space when they are stacked, which can be a problem in smaller rooms where space is an issue. For internal bifold doors, double glazing is not necessary and can be seen as superfluous with increased costs (and loss of space).

Many uPVC and aluminium doors that are stated to be ‘internal’ are actually designed to be external doors. They contain a number of unnecessary requirements, which increases their price. This means you will pay for additional features that are not needed.

Vufold’s internal wooden bifold doors are specifically designed to be fitted internally. They can easily be fitted flush (at the same level as the floor) and do not contain unnecessary utilities such as door hardware or double glazing. Internal bifold doors have slimmer frames than external bifold doors to make sure they can be used easily as an internal door. Instead, they utilise new technology and designs to save space and create a modern look for your home.

Maintenance required for each material

Maintenance includes things like painting, repairing or replacing doors. Internal folding doors require much less maintenance than external doors, as they do not have to face intense weather damage.

Timber uPVC Aluminium
Maintenance level
  • Low maintenance
  • Very low maintenance
  • Very low maintenance
Maintenance required
  • Repairing or changing door colour to suit a décor change is easily achieved
  • Occasionally clean with a damp cloth to keep them in good condition
  • Repairing or changing door colour to suit a décor change is very difficult
  • Doors can also expand in the sun making them difficult to operate, so try to keep the doors out of direct sunlight area’s
  • Occasionally clean with a damp cloth to keep them in good condition
  • Aluminium is very low-maintenance
  • Doors are powder coated and so won’t require refinishing however damage or changing the colour of the doors is very difficult.
  • Occasionally clean with a damp cloth to keep them in good condition.

What style can each material offer?

Style can be the deciding factor for a lot of people. You want your internal folding doors to complement the interior rooms. This can sometimes be tough to achieve, so it is worth physically seeing the material beforehand, to ensure you will have a match.

closed internal bifold door

Timber

  • A popular choice as it’s one of the most stylish materials
  • Very versatile—its natural aesthetic works with almost any living space, whether contemporary or traditional
  • Can be stained or painted in virtually any colour, offering a huge range of finishes
  • Vufold’s Urban Edge range of internal bifold doors helps to provide an industrial look to your home or match with your existing décor
  • If you’re looking for a bifold to match your room tones, timber is probably the best option

uPVC

  • Can be unattractive and cheap looking
  • A more limited range of finishes
  • Many people try to use a type of colour or wood effect on the material, but this will cost extra and won’t improve the look all that much
  • Rarely used for interior doors

Aluminium

  • Can be powder coated with different finishes
  • Wood-effect finishes can be used on an aluminium bifold door, but these can often look cheap
  • An aluminium bifold doors is often made with thinner frames, which can complement a room but can detract from it too
  • Rarely used for interior doors

Glazing options for internal bifold doors

Internal bifold doors do not need double glazing. They can make the folding doors deeper which will take up precious room when they are stacked as well increase the weight (and price).

glazed internal bifold door

Timber

  • All Vufold’s wooden internal bifolds use single glazed 4mm toughened safety glass
  • Every pane of glass is compliant with European standards BSEN12150 and BSEN12600
  • Vufold’s Finesse Clear range of internal bifold doors is available with clear glass to help improve the natural light between rooms in your home
  • Vufold’s Finesse Frosted range of internal bifold doors is available with frosted glass to help maximise natural light in your home as well as provide privacy for rooms such as a dressing room.

uPVC

  • A uPVC bifold is generally designed for exterior doors, so will likely be double glazed

Aluminium

  • Like a uPVC bifold, an aluminium bifold will likely be double glazed

How durable is each material for internal bifold doors?

If your internal bifold doors will get lots of use, you will want to ensure the material will withstand it. Resistance to damage and general wear and tear is important to increase the longevity of your folding doors.

Timber uPVC Aluminium
  • Vufold doors use timber engineering to make doors that are much stronger than standard solid timber, increasing durability.
  • A strong and sturdy bifold material which doesn’t sacrifice appearance.
  • Vufold internal stainless steel hardware offers silky-smooth operation is fully adjustable and is cycle tested to the equivalent of 40 years opening and closing.
  • Resistant to damage but not structurally strong can feel flimsy
  • Hardware is usually of Low quality and is rarely adjustable.
  • Resistant to weather damage, which is great for external bifold doors but makes no difference when used inside the home.
  • A strong metal, meaning it can support thinner frames than the other choices, if that is the style you want to go for.
  • Robust hardware that is long lasting but rarely adjustable.

Cost comparisons

The cost of an internal bifold door will always be one of the main deciding factors for homeowners. If you are working on a budget, the cost will obviously dictate your choice. Some materials offer a wide price bracket, which means bifolds for any budget!

The cost of your internal bifold door will vary depending on:

  • Overall width of your folding doors
  • The material you choose
  • The finish you choose – fully finished, white primed, unfinished
  • The number of doors and configuration you choose

Timber

  • Cheaper option as not full of features not required
  • A wide variety of doors at every level of budget
  • Budget timber bifolds available
  • Some Vufold doors are more competitively priced than UPVC

uPVC

  • A cheaper option
  • You get what you pay for in quality and aesthetic

Aluminium

  • By far the most expensive interior door
  • High manufacturing costs mean a higher cost

Installing internal bifold doors

Whether you’re installing your folding doors into an existing opening within your home to replace an existing door or you’re creating a new opening, knowing how easy the doors you choose to install are will make a difference in your decision. Having the right hardware and parts available will be essential to the functioning and longevity of your doors so you will need to ensure that you have everything you need when you order bifold doors for your home to make installation as easy as possible.

All Vufold bifold doors are provided as a complete ready-to-assemble package. This means they come with everything you need, including parts and hardware, to install them within your home yourself, without the need for a tradesperson.

Our kits include items such as:

  • Hinges
  • Tracks
  • Hardware
  • Ironmongery
  • Glazing
  • Fixings
  • Seals

All you will need are the following tools:

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Spirit level
  • Drill

Find out more about our ready-to-assemble door sets.

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