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AG Millworks

Looking for project inspiration, before and afters, FAQs, and expert advice? You've come to the right place! Explore the blog to learn more about our folding, sliding, and swing door systems.

Bi-Fold or Lift and Slide Doors, whats best for you?
Friday, April 12 2013

This 5-Door Bifold is 15 feet wide and 10 feet tall

and all doors fold to the right with a daily door.

Large-scale patio doors that open up entire walls are becoming more popular than ever. And it’s easy to see why people are planning them into their new custom homes. If panoramic views and indoor/outdoor living appeal to you, then read on to learn which type of patio door is best for your home, your lifestyle, and how you might use the door in your every day life.

Bifolding Patio Doors (also known as Bifolds, Bi-folds, and Accordion Doors)

Bifolds are a series of patio door panels hung from the head jamb and hinged together to slide accordion-style and stack against one edge of the opening or the other (see above). The benefit of a bifold door is that when the doors are all open stacked to the side, you have only a small part of the opening used because the door faces are stacked against each other. You need a strong header in the opening to install the bifolding door system to, or the doors will not fold smoothly.

If there is a downside to a bifold door system, it is that the doors fold to the exterior, so the bundle of folded doors will stick outward onto the patio as much as 36.” Bifold door panels can’t be too wide because they hang from the head jamb, so they require a larger number of doors to bridge an opening, and when closed, the door panels sit side by side (edge to edge), which makes for less daylight than in a sliding door system.

Bifold Design Tip: When planning your bifold door system, be ODD! That’s right, an odd number of doors folding in one direction gives you a Daily Door on one side. Just heading out to the barbecue? The daily door can fold with the rest of the doors, and also serves as a single swinging french door when you don’t want to fold open the entire unit. So think 3,5 or 7 doors for the most user-friendly door system.

Lift and Slide Patio Doors

Lift and slide patio doors are a more massive version of the typical sliding patio door system you may be familiar with. European hardware makes it easy to smoothly slide doors that are extremely wide and thick so you can open up entire walls with the turn of a handle. The doors slide on a staggered track system and “telescope” (pull the door behind it along as   When fully open, lift and slide doors stack directly behind one behind the other, and when closed their stiles (vertical members of the door that block the view) overlap so you have more daylight per door than with a Bi-Folding system.

The downside to sliding patio door systems is that there is always a door or doors covering up part of the opening, even when all the doors are in the fully open position. Another consideration is that each lift and slide door is 2-1/4″ thick, so in order to slide more than a few doors in any direction, you will need a fairly thick wall to accept the sliding door jamb. This wide wall can be easily planned into a new home, but if you are remodeling your existing home, you might have to do some reframing of the wall where the lift and slide is going to go.

Pocketing Lift and Slide Patio Doors

The best possible way to live the indoor/outdoor lifestyle is to have your builder construct a “pocket” in the wall that all of the doors can slide into and hide whenever you want the wall open. Pocketing sliding doors can be ordered with either removable handles or folding handles, so the doors can slide all the way into the pocket and disappear. When you want to close off the opening again, a retractable pull in the leading edge of the first door can be popped out and used to begin sliding the doors out of the pocket.

So, bifold or lift and slide? We’d like to hear how you will expand your world view!

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    Welcome to AG Millworks, where we combine extraordinary designs with traditional old world craftsmanship and innovation to produce ageless millwork creations that will bring your building project to life.

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    Phone:  (805) 644-4494
    3111 Golf Course Drive
    Ventura, California 93003