Patio Season: Bi-Fold vs. Multislide Door Systems
As North Texas says goodbye to the frigid winter temperatures and hello to the warmth of spring and summer, many homeowners begin thinking about how they can maximize their space and enjoy the pleasant temperatures. Patio season is beloved here in North Texas and across the country as a time when we can finally escape our stuffy winter routines and start enjoying life outside once again.
Many homeowners with the right patio door system are able to take patio season to a whole new level. Many systems offer gorgeous outdoor views from inside your home, with the ability to uniquely open your home up and almost seamlessly connect the interior of your home to your patio area.
While there are many options to choose from when looking at patio door systems, two of the most popular in 2023 include the Bi-Fold Doors and Multislide Door Systems.
Bifold doors operate along a single track and ‘accordion’ to the sides of the opening. Since they accordion, you get a full clear opening as the panels fold up against the wall. This gives great access to the adjoining spaces.
These doors are made up of multiple panels that are designed to fold and stack together when opened. They are very customizable in terms of panel width, height, and the number of panels to accommodate just about any opening width and height and are available in just about any type of frame material.
Although not required, bi-folding door systems typically have one panel that operates as a ‘daily use’ swinging door with a lever handle and keyed entryset. Without a daily use panel, it would be very cumbersome to use the door system for routine activity, and entry from the exterior might be impossible if the door is locked.
As mentioned earlier, bi-folding doors operate on a single track/plane. So, whether we have two panels or 20 panels, the thickness/depth of the frame does not change like it will on some of the sliding door systems we will discuss next.
Multislide door systems are a very popular way to maximize a clear opening and bring the interior to the exterior. If you just look at the square footage of the clear opening created, the multi-slide door system will generally be the least expensive price point compared to a bifold or lift & slide-type door. On multi-panel sliding doors, each door panel is on a dedicated track/rail, and when opened, all of the panels will stack behind one another at the side of the opening, or they can slide into a wall pocket so they are concealed when the door system is in the open position.
Most multi-slide door designs are very vulnerable to water and air infiltration at the bottom. Since we are trying to create this seamless interior-to exterior transition, these doors are designed with very flat or minimalistic track systems. The rollers on the doors are fixed in place, and there is an inherent void under these doors for water and air to exploit.
Some manufacturers have different track options and better water ratings on these products, but the general recommendation we make is that the door needs to have an overhang at least 1.5x the height of the door (8’ door should have a 12’ minimum overhang).
Keep in mind that most door systems that claim a level of water protection rely on letting water in, then weeping it out – which does work, but you need to know if you have weep holes to maintain. They are not overly difficult to maintain, but most people are not told about them.
Both the Bi-Fold and Muilitislide systems and/or door platforms can also be utilized as ‘windows’ for bar and/or countertop applications for service window use or to provide flexibility for outdoor spaces to become indoor spaces based on the weather or user preferences.
The most important variable to consider when looking to upgrade your patio door system is the current floor plan of your home. At WindowCraft, we commit ourselves to helping you find the perfect patio door system for your home without the pressure-inducing sales tactics that have become standardized in our industry.
When you work with WindowCraft, we do everything we can to make your dream come true. Whether you need style ideas or a custom fit, frame material, or color, the WindowCraft team can make it happen! Contact us today!