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Bifold door security: locks, glass and childproofing

Bifold doors offer durability, stunning aesthetics and an increase in house value. However, how secure is a bifold door? External bifold doors need to at least provide the same amount of security as a standard door. In this guide, you will find the best ways to ensure your bifold door is secure.

How secure are bifold doors?

With multiple folding panels and large panes of glass, you may believe that bifold doors are less secure than a standard patio door. This is false.

A reliable and secure bifold door will have two key attributes:

  • A multipoint lock system
  • Safety glass (either toughened or laminated)

A multipoint lock system offers up to five-times more security than a standard lock. And safety glass means that gaining entry through the glass panels is next to impossible.

Other aspects can improve security, such as safety screens. However, as long as your bifold has the two aspects mentioned above, you can rest in the knowledge that your bifold is secure.

Continue reading to find more detail on why bifold doors are so secure.

Locking systems

The best types of bifold doors use a multipoint locking system as it provides up to five-times security as the standard single point lock.

What is a multipoint locking system?

A multipoint lock is screwed or fixed into the door edge. The locking system is unique because, as the name suggests, it uses multiple types of locking mechanisms. This may include:

  • a deadbolt
  • a latch
  • a combination of rollers, mushrooms, hooks and bolts

Vufold supplies door handles that fit a Vectis type multipoint lock with timber and composite ranges. Vectis type locking systems are accredited with Secured By Design.

What is Secured by Design?

Secured by Design is an industry-standard that is police backed. SBD is designed to promote products that offer top security and support crime prevention. If a product is accredited with Secured by Design, you can rest in the knowledge that the product provides the highest levels of security.

Multipoint vs Euro cylinder vs Mortice

Type of lock Pros Cons
Multipoint
  • Additional locking points for added security
  • Can be Secured by Design accredited
  • Weight of the door spread across different mechanisms meaning more durability
Can be challenging to lock if you don't know how the mechanism works. However, it is not complicated.
Euro cylinder
  • Star rating means you can choose the level of security
  • Star rating can be confusing/missed and can leave doors unsecured
  • Cylinder can be snapped meaning criminals can gain easy access
Mortice
  • Multiple doors can use the same key
  • Can be upgraded
  • Harder to force open compared to traditional locks
  • Part of the door needs to be hollowed out for mortice locks which can increase costs
  • Requires a certain door thickness
  • If lock is damaged it needs to be replaced in its entirety

Bifold glass security

One of the main appeals of bifold doors is the beautiful views they provide and the natural light they can bring to a room. This means that glass takes up the most room of almost any bifold.

Glass is also the main reason that some people believe that bifold doors are unsecure. They may believe that the glass is fragile and easy to break, which could not be further from the truth.

Types of safety / security glass

There are two main types of security glass:

  • Laminated glass
  • Toughened glass

Both provide additional security in different ways. See below for more information:

Laminated glass

When smashed, normal glass will burst - this means holes can be created, which creates access for criminals. Laminated glass holds in place and remains as a single unit, making it much harder to gain access.

Laminated glass is created by sandwiching a piece of vinyl between two panes of glass. This process bonds the two panes together so when the glass is smashed it remains on the vinyl.

Every time the glass is struck, it makes a sound. Because laminated glass does not create holes, criminals will have to strike the glass repeatedly to make any sort of progress. This noise can easily attract the attention of neighbours who can contact the police.

Toughened glass

Toughened glass (also known as tempered glass) is five times stronger than standard glass of the same size and thickness. This makes it much more challenging to gain entry.

Toughened glass is created by rapidly heating and cooling the glass during manufacture.

Unlike laminated glass, toughened glass shatters into pieces when finally broken. The shattered pieces will not be sharp jagged shards.

Laminated glass vs toughened glass

Laminated glass Toughened glass
Strength
  • Same strength as standard glass
  • 5x Stronger
Shatter behaviour
  • Does not shatter
  • Remains as one unit
  • Explodes into thousands of pieces
Price
  • More expensive
  • Standard price

Does glazing affect security?

While glazing doesn't make as much difference as the type of glass used, it can help add security. With each layer of glazing added, you essentially create another barrier between the outside to the in.

Double or triple glazing made from laminated glass is considered almost completely burglar-proof due to how hard it is to gain entry.

Do materials affect security?

The bifold door material itself is unlikely to affect the security profile of a door. However, the cost associated with the material can affect security.

Are aluminium bifold doors more secure than UPVC?

Aluminium is considered a premium material for external bifold doors. You expect to pay slightly extra to get a material that is durable, thermally efficient and aesthetically pleasing. The additional price you pay will likely also go towards the actual quality of the product. You will probably find your aluminium door is fitted with the most secure locking mechanism, be double or triple glazed and is simply produced with higher quality hardware.

On the other end of the spectrum, uPVC is popular because it is one of the cheapest materials available. However, this low cost means that there's a potential the door is made from inferior quality products. This means the door is less durable, more prone to damage and easier to break into. There may be ways to increase the security of a cheap uPVC door but this will increase costs.

It’s worth investing in a higher quality door regardless of material. A higher quality door will last longer and provide a better level of security.

Safety screens

Bifold security screens are meshes that can be mounted either in front of behind your door, meaning you can keep your doors open during summer with a layer of security.

Safety screens are more prevalent in warmer countries and can be hard to source in the UK. It’s likely an unnecessary purchase unless you live somewhere particularly hot (which is unlikely in the UK).

Should you secure internal bifold doors?

It is generally considered that added security is unnecessary for internal bifold doors compared to exterior doors. You are unlikely to find bifold doors with added security glass due to the increase in width and cost.

If extra security is needed internally or in between a conservatory and living area, Vufold recommends the Elite or Master range with an internal cill. This gives you all the added benefits of an external door, including thermal efficiency and security but with a bottom track designed for dividing 2 rooms and that can run flush with your floor.

Benefits include:

  • Multi point lock –– extra added security with one of the most highly regarded locks
  • Double glazing –– adds to the thermal efficiency and sound proofing
  • Easy operation –– simple lift of the handle to activate the lock and then turn the key to lock in position
  • Cost –– less expensive than external aluminium doors but with all the added security features included

Are bifold doors childproof?

Bifold doors should not pose any extra risk to a child than a standard single door. Like any door care will need to be taken. Children should only operate the door with an adult nearby or after being shown how to properly operate the system.

Vufold utilise high-quality hardware and substantial track system which increase safety during operation.

Related content

External bifold door locations

Patio doors: bifold, sliding and French doors

External bifold doors: aluminium vs uPVC