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Bi-fold vs French vs sliding – which to choose for your extension, and why?

Bi-fold vs French vs sliding – which to choose for your extension, and why?

The doors you choose for your extension can make all the difference to its look and practicality. How do you use the space, what is the feeling you’re looking to create and how important is it to create a flow from your indoor space to your outdoor space?

These are all important questions to ask when considering what will be the right kind of door for your home extension.

The three most common choices to select from are bi-fold, French and sliding. All found in homes throughout the South East of England and across the country.

French doors

This is the classic option, the one many older properties will already have. The primary benefits of choosing French doors are the character they bring to the home and their ease of installation. Their often bevelled panes and white-painted woodwork offer clean lines and charisma. However, they don’t let in anywhere near the light of the other options due to their grid-like frames and small opening in the wall. So, French doors offer the least light of the trio of options, but they’re often far more affordable than the other two.



·      Character

·      Cheaper

·      Easier to install

·      More in keeping with older properties

·      Smaller window space

·      Less light

·      Smaller opening

 Sliding doors

These offer up visions of the ’60s and ’70s, thick metal or UPVC frames with clunky locking mechanisms, maybe a little perpetual condensation to finish off the picture. But sliding doors have evolved. They’re now far more reliable, safer from a security perspective, and they look much nicer if you choose the right ones. So, while sliding doors will not open up the entire wall as bi-fold doors can, they may let in as much light, open your inside up to your outside spaces and cost far less than the bi-fold option.



·      Greater unbroken view

·      Simpler, more reliable mechanism

·      Cheaper than bi-fold doors

·      Smaller opening than bi-folds

·      Tend to lock from one point so slightly less secure than bi-folds

·      Often thicker frames to carry larger glass panes

 Bi-fold doors

They’re chic, they let in loads of light, they suit a modern home well and they concertina away to open up an entire wall to the patio, decking, veranda or garden. They’re also more secure than the other two, often with locks at each panel of the door. They are the modern must-have, but they come with a price tag to match. Bi-fold doors are expensive. There’s no getting around that and this is why many can’t afford them, no matter how well they may go with the design of their extension.



·      Access

·      Light

·      Ventilation

·      Style

·      Modern

·      Level threshold

·      Can be expensive

·      Multiple frames across the door

·      More complex to install

·      May not suit all homes

The reality is that, while it’s easy to talk about the generic pros and cons of each of these popular door options, what will suit your Victorian, Edwardian, 1920s, 1930s, 1960s, 1980s, modern, cottage, Tudor-style, Georgian-style property is a very personal thing. What’s best is to ask your builder round for a chat so they can see what your home is like, discuss how you’d like it to be, and lay out the options available to you.

We’re here to help you to transform your home with a new extension, loft conversion or refurbishment. Let us know what your dream home looks like and we’ll help make it a reality. Call us on 0203 021 2140 or email.

Anthony Panayi
Anthony Panayi

From a young boy following his father around while he was carrying out building works, Anthony knew the building industry was in his blood. He completed a City and Guilds course in carpentry, worked in the industry as an apprentice on new builds through to grand listed buildings. He grew his knowledge and experience and decided to start up his own company back in 2007 and has never looked back.