Extending the kitchen? Here’s why you should think about bifold doors
A kitchen extension is one of those home improvements every homeowner dreams of. Having had to live with a kitchen configured to the tastes and requirements of the previous owner (or the property developer), an extension and refit is the perfect opportunity to transform the space so it fits with you and your lifestyle.
When considering your kitchen makeover there are, it goes without saying, tonnes of options. From the flooring and lighting to the layout and appliances. But there’s one amenity that is easy to overlook that can dramatically improve the space — bifold doors. Here’s why you should consider adding them to your home improvement wish list.
A portal to the outside
When you install bifold doors along a wall, you don’t just create a larger doorway to the garden, you welcome the outside into your home. In the summer months, you can open out the entire doorway, essentially making an entire wall disappear, thereby blending outside and inside space into one. You can seamlessly move from preparing food and drinks in the kitchen to enjoying them on the patio in the sun. In the winter, you can eat breakfast while the room is bathed in natural light, or watch the kids playing in the garden from the comfort and warmth of your home.
While bifold doors are aesthetically impressive, the real selling point of technology is how much ‘more’ you get from them. Compared with conventional sliding doors or pocket sliding doors, the clever mechanism bifold doors use means they collapse into each other forming a concertina, taking up a fraction of their original size. This means you can create a far larger opening than you would be able to achieve with other types of sliding doors.
While the cheapest option for bifold doors (along with any other door or window) is white uPVC, this isn’t to everyone’s taste. However, there are other options. For lovers of the chic and modern, aluminium doors provide a cool aesthetic, and thanks to the material’s strength and flexibility the frames can be made razor-thin, thus maximising the amount of glass. Owners of period properties, or those who prefer warmer, earthier styling should opt for a timber frame. While timber doors come with a heavier price tag, the longevity and durability they offer will pay off in the long run.
For those on tighter budgets, uPVC frames don’t have to come in white (though this is invariably the cheapest option). For slightly more money you will find uPVC frames in a variety of colours, as well as ones that are coated in a thin layer of wood to resemble timber frames. The real drawback of the material is not variety, but it’s lack of strength compared to aluminium or timber. This means the frames have to be made thicker, limiting slightly your view of the outside world.
Things to think about
The blurring of the lines between inside and outside space is one of the most prominent themes of contemporary architecture, which is perhaps why over the last decade bifold doors have become such a popular component of kitchen extensions. However, they are not the right choice for every home or every homeowner.
They are best suited to those who have a kitchen that looks out onto a back garden with a high enough fence or hedge, to afford you some privacy. Although, if you live nearby any high-rise developments you may still find yourself feeling like you are living in a goldfish bowl. Many homeowners install blinds or curtains with their bifold doors, and leave them permanently closed – and find themselves asking why they went through the expense of installing them in the first place.