Comparing Hinged, Sliding, and Bi-Folding Doors: Understanding the Distinctions

No matter where you are in the world, doors remain an integral aspect of any residential structure. While doors inherently serve the primary function of facilitating ingress and egress, the vast array of door types available introduces a multitude of options, each with its distinct set of advantages and drawbacks. For meticulous homeowners who value attention to detail, understanding the nuances of different door types can prove beneficial, yet it may also lead to confusion when it comes time to make a final decision.

Is a door simply a door? In reality, doors are not all created equal, nor are they designed for the exact same purposes. For those intrigued by the diverse world of doors, delving into the variations becomes crucial for making informed choices. Here, we unravel some fundamental differences among door types, providing you with insights to navigate and select the most suitable option for your needs.

Hinged Doors

Ubiquitous in their presence, stand as the standard and widely adopted door type. Recognized for their ease of installation, reliability, and robust construction, these doors have earned their popularity. Available in diverse designs and crafted from a broad range of materials, hinged doors are the default choice for conventional houses and pre-fabricated structures that demand enduring and dependable entrances. While their sturdiness is unquestionable, one drawback of hinged doors is their potential interference with decor aesthetics. In the context of modern or minimalist styles, these doors may not be deemed the epitome of stylish, presenting a trade-off between durability and adherence to specific design preferences.

Sliding Doors

Revered as the preferred choice in many Asian cultures and a prominent design element in Japanese and Ottoman civilizations, represent a significant evolution in the realm of doorways. Unlike their hinged counterparts that open only partially, sliding doors incorporate a mechanism that enables them to effortlessly slide aside, redefining the concept of entryways.

This distinctive feature not only allows for a broader opening but also facilitates the seamless entry of large and often unwieldy objects—a feat that hinged doors struggle to achieve. Moreover, due to their inherently wider nature, sliding doors offer a canvas for enhanced aesthetic ornamentation and elegance, with the level of sophistication often determined by the materials used in their construction. The allure of sliding doors lies not only in their functionality but also in their capacity to elevate the visual appeal of a space, providing a harmonious blend of practicality and aesthetics.

Bi-folding Doors 

Represent a distinctive fusion of functionality and space efficiency, essentially comprising multiple hinged panels that operate in a manner reminiscent of sliding doors. Similar to sliding doors, they offer the advantage of creating expanded entryways, yet they possess a unique characteristic—the ability to fold into a configuration resembling a pair of bellows. This innovative design has found enduring popularity in regions influenced by Italian and Spanish aesthetics and continues to be a sought-after choice.

When considering your preferred design, functional requirements, and budget constraints, any of these door types—hinged, sliding, or bi-folding—can effectively serve as durable, long-lasting, and reliable entrances for your home. The choice ultimately depends on your specific needs and the aesthetic appeal you seek to achieve in your living space.

Bifold Doors vs. Sliding Doors: A Comparative Analysis of Pros and Cons

Bifold doors operate by folding back against themselves, akin to a concertina. Typically, these doors consist of two to seven panels interconnected by hinges, running along a concealed track on either the floor, ceiling, or both. On the other hand, sliding doors are typically composed of two or more large panes of glass that slide horizontally to one end of a frame. A notable distinction lies in the fact that sliding doors do not project outwards, whereas aluminium bifold doors Adelaide necessitate space for the panels to be stacked to one side.


Flexibility is a key aspect where sliding doors take the lead. They provide precise control over the degree of openness, allowing for various scenarios—from just an inch for a gentle breeze, a couple of feet for quick access outside, to fully opening up to seamlessly merge indoor and outdoor spaces.

For those opting for a bifold system, incorporating a ‘traffic door’ or access leaf is a noteworthy consideration, especially if the door serves as the sole access point to the garden. This single panel functions like a regular door, allowing you to go outside without the need to fold the entire set of panels back. This can be particularly convenient, such as when hanging clothes outside. The design of the traffic door can vary—it may stand as an independent panel hinged on the wall side or be integrated into the folding door stack, depending on the overall configuration. This additional element enhances the adaptability of bifold doors to cater to different preferences and practical needs.

Fully Openable

One key benefit of bi-fold doors is their ability to be fully opened, almost entirely retracting and creating a seamless connection between your indoor space and patio or garden. This feature adds a significant “wow” factor to your home, providing a dynamic indoor-outdoor experience. In contrast, traditional sliding doors typically offer a limited opening, usually to the left or right, covering approximately 65 percent of the total space. Pocket doors, an alternative solution, involve glass doors sliding into concealed pockets within external walls, enabling a larger area to open up. However, it’s important to note that this configuration may result in reduced cavity wall insulation as a potential drawback.


Threshold considerations play a significant role in the choice between sliding patio doors and bifold doors. Sliding patio doors often feature a frame that necessitates stepping over when transitioning from indoors to outdoors. On the other hand, bifold doors offer the option of a flush threshold, seamlessly opening to your patio or garden without any raised barrier.

While it is possible to specify a ‘low threshold’ with sliding patio doors, typically involving an aluminum strip around 12mm in height, the options are somewhat limited due to the sliding roller mechanism within the frame. However, achieving a low threshold is indeed feasible. Opting for a flush or low threshold holds various advantages, including facilitating wheelchair access, simplifying movement for individuals of different age groups, and eliminating obstacles that could pose a tripping hazard—an aspect that resonates with the preferences of many homeowners.

Aesthetics – frame or glass?

When it comes to aesthetics—frame or glass? Sliding doors hold a distinct advantage with fewer panels and larger expanses of glass, enabling an abundance of natural light to flood into your living space, thereby brightening your home. In contrast, while bi-fold doors can be elegantly pulled back to create a broader opening, when closed, there is a notably greater vertical frame visible compared to sliding doors. In simple terms, sliding doors boast a higher glass-to-frame ratio, ensuring unobstructed views of your garden or the surrounding fields. If your priority is maximizing natural light or enjoying expansive, unobstructed views throughout the year, sliding doors may emerge as the preferable choice.

The choice between bifold and sliding doors extends beyond aesthetics and functionality; it also encompasses ease of use, a crucial factor facilitated by modern materials and innovative technology. Both types of doors can be designed to be lightweight and user-friendly, offering a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces.

These doors are available in various materials, including aluminum, wood, and UPVC. Among these, aluminum bifolds stand out as a popular choice among homeowners due to the inherent strength of their frames, surpassing the durability of UPVC alternatives.

Ultimately, determining the best option comes down to personal preference. It involves a careful consideration of the pros and cons associated with each type of door. Seeking advice from building professionals, who can provide insights based on your specific needs and the characteristics of your home, is a valuable step in making an informed decision that aligns with your preferences and practical requirements.

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