Bifold doors furnish an elegant transition that integrates indoor and outdoor living while maximising natural light. Combined with double-glazed windows, they enhance energy efficiency and comfort, making them a smart, stylish choice for any modern home.

What is a bifold door?

Bifold doors work by folding panels in sections along a track, much like a concertina. This mechanism allows them to open completely without taking up too much space, creating a wide entrance. Typically, one of the panels acts as a master door that can be opened independently of the others for quick access or ventilation without having to fold the entire door system.

Top-hung bifold doors

Top-hung bifold doors are supported from the top, meaning the door’s weight is carried by a track installed above it. This setup allows for smoother operation and less track maintenance, as the ground track doesn’t bear any weight.


Smoother operation with less friction. Cleaner appearance with minimal visible hardware on the floor. Reduced debris accumulation in the floor track, leading to less maintenance.


Requires strong structural top support to carry the door weight. Requires complex installation, potentially increasing costs.

Bottom-rolling bifold doors

Bottom-rolling bifold doors rely on a track on the ground to support the door’s weight, while the top track acts as a guide to keep the door upright and in place.


Easier to install, as they don’t require heavy-duty structural top support. Suitable for wider openings where top support might be insufficient.


Floor track can collect debris, which requires regular cleaning. Visible floor track may detract from the stylish appeal.

What are the benefits of bifold doors?

The advantages of bifold doors make them a popular choice for homeowners looking to add functionality to their living spaces while preserving style and comfort.

  • Maximised space: bifold doors are compact when folded, eliminating the barrier between indoor and outdoor areas. 
  • Enhanced natural light: their large glass panes allow abundant natural light to flood a room, making spaces appear larger and more inviting.
  • Improved aesthetics: bifolding doors offer a modern and stylish look that can enhance the kerb appeal of any home, adding elegance and contemporary design.
  • Versatile design options: bifolding doors are available in a variety of materials, colours and finishes. They can be customised to fit the design and decor of any home.
  • Energy efficiency: bifold doors are either double glazed or have appropriate weather seals that, when closed, can improve thermal efficiency and help keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
  • Low maintenance: unplasticised polyvinyl chloride (uPVC) or aluminium bifold doors need very little care. Timber models, however, require more maintenance.
  • Increased property value: bifolding doors can be an attractive feature for home buyers, potentially increasing property value due to their practical and style benefits.
  • Better access: bifold doors reduce physical barriers and improve the flow between spaces when fully open, which is ideal for entertaining or enjoying an indoor–outdoor lifestyle.
  • Security: modern bifold doors come with high-security locking mechanisms to give you peace of mind that your home is safe and secure.

Downsides of installing bifold doors

Bifold doors can provide a connection with the garden through their wide opening capabilities. (Adobe)

While bifold doors offer numerous benefits, considering the negatives is crucial when deciding whether these doors are the right choice for your home. It’s a good idea to balance their aesthetic and functional appeal against cost, maintenance and practicality.

  • Higher cost: bifolding doors are more expensive than traditional single doors due to their complex mechanism and the higher quality materials often used.
  • Building regulations and planning permission: widening existing door or window openings to accommodate bifold doors might mean having to navigate building regulations or obtain planning permission, which can add to the time and cost of the project.
  • Thermal efficiency: modern bifolding doors are designed to be energy efficient. However, their large glass panes can potentially lead to greater heat loss compared to a solid wall, especially if the doors are not well insulated or properly installed.
  • Complex installation: bifold doors can be more complicated and time-consuming to install than other types and may require professional installation to ensure they operate smoothly and efficiently.
  • No threshold: bifold doors typically lack a raised threshold, which reduces trip hazards. However, if not installed correctly, this may allow water to enter the home during heavy rain. Installing a drainage system or designing a slight slope away from the doors can prevent this issue.
Bifold door configurations

Choosing the right bifold door configuration for your home depends on the dimensions of your space, your lifestyle needs and your finish preferences. A typical configuration consists of three panels, with one acting as the master door. Consider these factors as well:

  • Available space: your opening width will dictate how many panels your doorway can fit. Larger spaces will allow for more, though each panel will need space to stack when the door is open;
  • Support: larger panels or more numerous sections may require additional structural support. Ensure your wall can accommodate this without compromising stability;
  • Panel weight and operation: heavier panels might offer better insulation and security. Remember to consider ease of operation, too;
  • Aesthetics and sightlines: more sections can maximise the opening, but too many frames can disrupt your view. Consider how vital uninterrupted sightlines are to you; and
  • Access needs: bifold doors used as regular entrances and exits influence the importance of including a master door in your configuration. Think about how often you’ll want to use them.

Which materials can bifold doors come in?

Bifold doors can be made from various materials, each offering unique advantages in terms of finish, durability and maintenance requirements.


  • Affordability: uPVC bifold doors are typically more budget friendly than wood or aluminium options.
  • Lightness: uPVC is lightweight, making installation easier and reducing strain on the door mechanisms.
  • Low maintenance: uPVC is resistant to rot, corrosion and fading, requiring minimal maintenance over time.
  • Insulation: uPVC provides good thermal insulation, but not as much as wood.
  • A variety of finishes: uPVC doors come in various finishes and colours to suit different design preferences.


  • Strength and durability: aluminium is lightweight yet strong, making it ideal for sizeable bifold door panels.
  • Low maintenance: being resistant to rust and corrosion, aluminium requires minimal upkeep.
  • Energy efficiency: aluminium bifold doors can incorporate thermal breaks to improve energy efficiency, though they may not be as effective as other materials in terms of insulation.
  • Slim profiles: frames made from aluminium can be engineered to have slim profiles, maximising the glass area for better views and natural light.
  • Modern appearance: aluminium offers a sleek and contemporary look suitable for modern architectural designs.


  • Cost: wood bifold doors tend to be more expensive than other materials.
  • Insulation: wood provides good insulation properties, helping to regulate indoor temperatures and reduce energy costs.
  • Maintenance: regular maintenance, such as sealing or painting, is required to protect the wood from moisture and prevent warping or rotting.
  • Longevity: wood will outlast uPVC or aluminium if properly maintained.
  • Natural aesthetic: wood bifold doors offer a timeless and warm charcter that complements various architectural styles.
  • Customisation: wood can be easily customised with different stains or paints to match your interior or exterior decor.

How much will a bifold door cost?

Primary factors affecting the price of bifold doors are the chosen frame material, type of glass and number of panels, with uPVC offering the cheapest options.

Material Potential cost of a three-panel bifold door Potential cost of a four-panel bifold door Potential cost of a five-panel bifold door
uPVC £2,230-£3,030 £3,190-£4,000 £3,500-£4,490
Aluminium £2,900-£3,940 £4,140-£5,370 £4,780-£6,200
Timber £3,340-£4,550 £4,780-£6,200 £5,270-£6,740

Installation costs for bifold doors

For straightforward installations involving existing wall openings, labour costs typically range from £150 to £500 per day. However, more complex and time-consuming installations are likely to exceed £500.

Frequently Asked Questions

A sliding glass door with large panes offers unobstructed views and seamless indoor–outdoor flow and requires less space to open than a bifold door. Sliding doors provide a sleek, modern look, easy operation and often, superior energy efficiency due to fewer seals and joints, making it a preferred alternative for some homeowners.

Bifold doors tend to be expensive due to several factors. First, they require precision engineering to ensure smooth operation and proper sealing, which increases manufacturing and installation costs.

Second, materials such as wood and aluminium that contribute to their durability and aesthetic appeal can also drive up the price. Potential customisation options can add to the overall cost. In addition, features like energy-efficient glazing or hardware upgrades can increase their price.

The size of the bifold doors you can install depends on various factors, such as available space, architectural design, personal preference and budget. Typically, they have between three and seven panels, each around 700mm to 1,000mm wide.

However, it’s crucial to consider the structural integrity of the opening, ensuring that the doors can be supported when folded open and when closed. Consulting a professional installer can help determine the ideal size for your needs.

Written by Katharine Allison Energy Saving Expert


As a writer for FMB, Katharine researches and interrogates products and companies to find the best consumer purchases on the home improvement market – including heat pumps, home security systems and windows. Her high standards for up-to-date information and expert advice ensures that our readers can be assured that the products we recommend are top-rated and high-quality.

Katharine has worked with a wide variety of content publishers over her 12-year career as a writer, including Gordon Ramsay, Transport for Wales, Northern Rail, Cuvva Car Insurance, and a number of large construction firms and environmental organisations. Her work has been published in some of the UK’s leading publications, including The Independent and Architectural Digest. Katharine has also completed three degrees – fine art, philosophy and psychology – and is undertaking a fourth, in STEM, at the Open University. She co-founded the mental health charity Inner Allies and can often be found giving advice on their helplines at weekends.

On top of her impressive career and educational background, Katharine runs a racing team of sled dogs. She enjoys early morning dog walks along her local beach, watching the wildlife while looking forward to the first of many coffees.

Edited by Amy Reeves


Amy is our production editor, dedicated to fact-checking and prioritising accuracy and expertise. She is passionate about encouraging consumers and homeowners towards investing in their homes and creating a greener environment.

After graduating from The University of Leicester with a degree in English in 2016, Amy worked for Thompson Reuters before joining Future plc as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating. During her five-years in this role, she interviewed hundreds of architects, industry experts, self-builders and home-improvers on topics ranging from renewable technology and home insulation to kitchen design and DIY advice. Her work has been published in Period Living, Real Homes, Homes and Gardens and 25 Beautiful Homes.

In her spare time, Amy can normally be found with a hammer or paint brush in her hand; she completed a whole-house renovation in 2022 and is about to embark on a eco-retrofit project to her cottage in Somerset.