Sliding Doors vs. Bifold Doors – Which Style is Right for You?

As homes veer increasingly towards open living spaces, it only makes sense that stacking or bi-fold doors would help create more space and seamless entertaining between outdoor and indoor living. 

Below we look at the pros and cons of sliding and bi-fold doors to help you decide what suits your home best and complements your style of entertaining.

Bifold Doors

Whether you’re building or renovating, bifold doors allow a lot of natural light into your space and can take up much less interior space due to their ‘stacking’ or accordion-like fashion. 

So, What are Bi-fold Doors?

Bi-fold doors were traditionally invented to divide interior rooms, connect rooms to a shared outdoor space, or even just divide space. Bayview Timber windows can custom-make your bifold doors to fit any space in your home. 

Bifold doors have had a certain level of class and luxury for a long time, adding security and style to most homes. Bi-fold doors allow you to flow effortlessly between your indoor and outdoor spaces and have many different choices regarding colour and size.

There are several different configurations with bi-fold doors, so you can design a system that works best for your space and the traffic coming through your home. There are also many different colours and sizes to choose from.

Bi-fold doors don’t lend themselves as easily to flyscreens as sliding doors, so if you want to open your doors yet keep out bugs, you will have fewer options with a bi-folding system. However, there are retractable screening systems that you can use with bi-fold doors as well as sliding doors.

These doors look fantastic when fully opened, giving you a complete sense of inviting the outdoors in, but when closed can block your view more than sliding doors as the door panels are smaller. However, these doors can also be more bulky and cumbersome to open, so they aren’t convenient in a space where you will often be opening and closing them.

Why are Timber Bifold Doors the Right Choice for Me?

  • Bifold doors are perfect for maximising the natural light in your space
  •  Bifold doors are low maintenance
  •  Bifold doors are compact and take up only 10% of space compared to traditionally hung doors
  •  Bifold doors have an enhanced level of security
  •  Bifold doors are energy efficient
  •  Bifold doors are aesthetically pleasing

Sliding Doors?

Timber sliding doors offer a more traditional look and are perfect for almost every home wanting luxury and durability, all wrapped up in a neat package. Standard timber sliding doors and windows have found their way back into the market, particularly in high-end properties that are eco-friendly and built to last.

When choosing to install timber sliding doors, you are spoiled for choice; why would you prefer a heavy and bulky door where you’re limited colour-wise, when you can choose the timber it is made from and any colour of your choice.

Sliding doors are perfect for areas that are limited in space, such as your outdoor patio area, outdoor undercover area or even internally. Timber sliding doors within your home can add class and sophistication. 

What are Sliding Doors?

Sliding doors are large glass panels that slide back behind each other on a track. You will have at least one fixed door panel that remains in place for the others to slide past when open, although larger openings could have a fixed panel at each end.

Traditionally sliding doors allowed the space of one to two door widths to open, but modern configurations enable you to open up an entire wall using a sliding door system. These are commonly known as sliding doors, stacking doors (when several panels line up), or cavity sliding doors (when panels disappear into a wall cavity to completely open the space up). 

Corner sliding doors also allow two panels to meet at a right angle in the room and join with no post in the way. A corner sliding system can offer the best of both worlds, with the ease and convenience of sliding doors and the spectacular view via a large opening.

Sliding doors are the more common option, generally easier and cheaper to install. They traditionally had less of a boutique look about them; however, the latest sliding and stacking door systems feature bold designs, recessed tracks with drainage options and sleek hardware. They will take up more space across the room due to the fixed panels but are narrow in depth even when opened, and all panels are sliding behind each other. Because they slide sideways only instead of opening out, you don’t need to leave much of a clear area around them for folding.

Sliding doors are easier to screen with flyscreens, giving you more options of having doors partly opened – you can allow breeze in and keep bugs out, which is very useful in the Australian climate.

While the panels are heavier than bi-fold door panels, they are easier to install and use less hardware, tracks, handles etc., so they are generally cheaper. Your cost will depend on the dimensions of the space you want to open up.

Sliding Doors vs. Bifold Doors

The type of doors you choose will depend mostly on the dimensions of the space, the view from the room and the purpose for which you intend to use this space. For example, more expansive spaces lend themselves more favourably to sliding systems, as do areas where you want to have views and access regardless of whether the doors are open or closed.

If you have a space which is likely to be open more often than closed, then bifold doors can be the way to go. They also look fantastic in smaller openings like side decks and bedroom balconies.

While sliding doors are cheaper, the biggest reason for your choice of doors should be whichever complements your home and style of entertaining more. Choose the best system for how you want to use the space.

  1. Location, location, location. Where your timber windows are, and how exposed to the elements they are will determine how much maintenance they require. For example, the inside of windows and windows in under cover areas will age far less quickly than external timber windows with no shade (especially if they’re in the harsh afternoon sun).

  2. Be gentle. A mop or sponge in a bucket of soapy water is going to be far more gentle on your timber and joins than a pressure washer. Whilst the ease and swiftness of your trusty pressure washer may be tempting, it’s definitely not the cleaner of choice if you wish to maintain longevity of your Bayview timber windows and joins. See our guide to top tips for keeping your windows clean here – https://www.bayviewtimberwindows.com.au/our-top-tips-for-keeping-your-windows-clean/

  3. Smooth guides will ensure your timber windows and doors remain easy to use. Vacuum your tracks as regularly as you vacuum your floor (eg at least weekly) and wipe over tracks and guides with a damp cloth. Add a silicone-based lubricant if you think your guides and tracks need it, but use sparingly and only when required.

  4. A quick touch up done regularly can save you a major facelift down the track, saving you both time and money. Whether your Bayview timber windows are stained, varnished or painted, keeping on top of your maintenance will keep your timber resistant to our harsh Australian weather. 


More information on maintaining your beautiful Bayview Timber windows and doors can be found here https://www.bayviewtimberwindows.com.au/keeping-your-timber-windows-healthy/ .

Whether you already have timber doors you’re wishing to restore to their former glory, or you’re looking to install top quality new Bayview Timber bifold or sliding doors, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information – https://www.bayviewtimberwindows.com.au/contact/ 

Bayview Timber Windows and Doors are happy to answer any questions you may have about choosing the right sliding or bi-fold door and can offer various types of Sliding doors from Bottom Rollers to Top Hung systems, including Stacker Doors and External Cavities.

Related posts

Why Choose Timber Windows Blog Hero Image
Timber Windows

Why Choose Timber Windows?

Timber Windows are an excellent choice for any home. They provide a sustainable and long lasting option that will suit any style.

Read More »