What to know about bifolds

Neil Ginger, CEO at Origin, gives Glass Times his key pointers to the industry for selling bifold doors.

Homeowners have become more savvy when it comes to their choice of materials for bifold doors and, as a result, the sale of aluminium bifolding doors has increased by 50% over recent years, according to Palmer Research.

This is because, while PVCU and timber might be cheaper options, customers appreciate the slim sightlines that aluminium creates and longevity it brings.

Aluminium allows for narrow, more aesthetically pleasing frames and better sight lines. It is extremely low maintenance and tends to come with longer guarantees. Unlike timber, it is also resilient to flexing, expanding or contracting, so will stand the test of time.

Bifolding doors can be configured from two leaves to eight, to open in a variety of formations. They can open in one direction or split to fold into opposite sides of the opening. This versatility means a new dynamic can be added to a property of any shape or size.

It is always best to think in odd numbers, so the doors can fold in the same direction with a multi-point locking system. Opting for fewer door panels will also keep costs down due to the majority of material costs coming from the door profiles. Choosing a configuration with a lead door is also recommended as this can be used as an everyday access door.

A team that knows exactly how the bifold doors are made are more likely to have fewer technical difficulties and issues during installation, which is why we have introduced an installation training programme to support our trade partners and improve the quality of service offered to end users. Our ‘Fitter Fitter’ training demonstrates the most efficient and technically accurate way to install Origin’s bifolding doors, allowing trade agents to cut down on errors, while maintaining the high levels of service and performance expected from an Origin partner.

The best indicators of thermal efficiency are U-values. U-values show the amount of heat lost in watts (W) per square metre of material, so, the lower the number, the better the thermal efficiency. The required U-values for bifold doors within the UK must be 1.8W/m2K for replacements or 2.0W/m2K for new builds and extensions.

As with any external door, your customers will want to ensure it is as secure as possible. There are a few easy ways to check the security of the bifold door:

  1. That the whole system conforms to PAS 23/24 security standards.
  2. It has a multi-point locking system on the lead door.
  3. The locking cylinder/barrel is anti-pick, snap, lift and drill.
  4. Hinges should also be made of a strong material, such as zinc.

Glass is also a major factor of bifolding doors. Double and triple glazed panes are reasonably strong. However, if your customer wants to increase the security further, they could opt for laminated glass, but it does come at a premium.

Ordering and installing bifolding doors can be a lengthy process, which is why Origin has introduced an online quoting and ordering system for its customers. Origin’s Sale Safe (OSS) is the first system of its kind, designed to improve the efficiency and speed of ordering, as well as minimising the risk of mistakes. Simplifying the quotation process allows Origin’s partners to save time on admin, turning around orders in record time and increasing overall productivity.

In regards to delivery, the standard industry lead time for bifolding doors is normally six weeks, but Origin can deliver doors within 48 hours of placing the order, which really shortens the build schedule.

The standard industry guarantee is 10 years, but some manufacturers will offer different warranties on the paint and components. The Origin guarantee is for 20 years and covers all manufactured parts and paint.