How to: Specify and Incorporate Bi-Fold Doors Into Your Project

Bi-fold doors are a great way to maximise the daylight that feeds into your construction project. Whether it’s a residential or commercial property, they provide a smooth, flexible transition between open plans and privacy.

Why Choose Bi-Fold Doors?

It’s 2018, and we’re still striving towards hygge as hard as we ever have. Pronounced hoo-gah, hygge is a Danish word referring to that inimitable warmth associated with being surrounded by homey comforts.

Our gardens are wonderful for creating that cosiness we crave: It’s a way of connecting to the outdoors, but in a controlled manner. That being the case, there’s nothing quite like the luxury of inviting our manicured patch of nature into our homes.

Bi-fold doors dissolve that barrier between your indoor and your outdoor space. When closed, they provide a beautiful view of the garden, while providing excellent insulating properties. A well-kept garden then becomes an extra room in the house.

How to Specify and Incorporate Bi-Fold Doors Into Your Project - cover
Blurring the barrier between the indoors and the outdoors. Image: Shire Doors

Even better: Bi-fold doors present a magical aperture into the garden when open. And because the doors concertina into themselves, you’re left with an obstruction-free view to your outdoor living space.

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Alternative to Traditional French Doors

Bi-folds can do everything French doors can, but with significant advantages.

Traditional French doors require considerable clearance around them to accommodate the doors when open, and can become a real obstacle when allocating the room’s layout in your design.

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Meanwhile, bi-folds take up a fraction of the space.


One of the principal benefits of incorporating bi-fold doors into your construction project is the versatility they bring to the aesthetic of a space: blending subtly with any colour scheme when the doors are closed.

There’s a wide variety of finishes available for the frames. Choose from super-thin beams for a more subtle effect or thicker, more substantial frames for a statement piece.

The frames can be customised to suit a colour scheme or selected to provide a near-invisible outline when the doors are open.

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Image: Shire Doors

Bi-folds can also:

  • Open fully or include a traffic door, providing access without opening the entire entrance
  • Provide superior running systems that glide lightly
  • Include child-safety features, preventing fingers from getting trapped
  • Open into the house, or out to the garden
  • Be used between interior rooms
  • Function as the front door

Creating Space, and Blurring Indoor and Outdoor Boundaries

Bi-folds doors are most classically used at the exterior of the home, blurring the boundary between the garden and the interior.

However, they’re also perfect for interior use, and can even enhance the curb-appeal at the front of a property if the frontage is secluded.

Perhaps the single most attractive attribute of bi-fold doors is the daylight that floods into the room. This is especially crucial for smaller spaces, as light helps create the illusion of greater expanse.

If your building has a large anterior garden, shielded by trees from the street outside, bi-folds are a great way to invite the outdoors into your cosy interior.

A particularly stylish approach is to mirror the flooring between the patio and the interior room. Match the aesthetic of a decked patio by laying the decking in the same direction as the interior floorboards.

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Image: Shire Doors

Swanky, huh?

This helps to create a continuous flow from the indoor space to the outdoors.

Bi-fold doors are most commonly found at the back of a property, but that’s because the posterior of the home is usually more secluded.

However, if the front of your building is secluded from the street, then bi-folds are a viable option. What better way to create a welcome than to have a vast open space at the front of the home? If you’re designing the frontage to a shop or cafe, a wide-open space is welcoming and exotic.

How to Specify and Incorporate Bi-Fold Doors Into Your Project - anterior
Image: Shire Doors

Bi-fold doors also add an enviable sense of luxury to upstairs balconies, especially in bedrooms that are bolstered by fantastic views.

Common Dimensions

Bi-fold doors do come in standard sizes, which makes a project easier to price. If there are no constrictions on budget, however, you can get them made to measure.

Most external bi-fold doors fit brickwork openings of 1.8m in size or larger. There’s a range of configurations, starting from just two doors, up to six doors for the largest openings.

The configuration varies upon your requirements. A six-door configuration could be made up of 3 + 3 doors (enabling the doors to concertina on each side), or you could go for a 5 + 1 configuration or a varied combination.

The standard opening height is 2,095 mm tall. Other sizes can be accommodated but are likely to affect the price because they’ll need to be custom-made.

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Standard dimensions for external doors are:

Overall width

  • 1800mm
  • 2100mm
  • 2400mm
  • 2700mm
  • 3000mm
  • 3600mm
  • 4200mm
  • 4800mm

Doors are usually calculated in millimetres rather than centimetres. It’s recommended to get an expert to measure up: A couple of millimetres of inaccuracy could affect the efficacy of the insulation.

To measure your doors, take into account the size of the aperture, as well as the tracks used to slide the doors in and out of place.


Your doors can be made from a variety of materials, but most typically from uPVC, aluminium, or wood.

In terms of colour, you can generally choose your colour and finish — usually prepared in the factory before fitting.

Most common is:

  • White gloss finish
  • Anthracite grey matt
  • Black matt

Again, however, if budget is no major issue, you can have your doors prepared to your exact specifications.


Glazing is typically fully transparent. However, you can choose from a variety of glass types, such as frosted, if you require greater privacy.

If you’re considering how to open up compact spaces, then bi-fold doors offer versatility, security, and insulation to your construction project.

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