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Timber vs. Aluminium vs. uPVC: Which Material is Best for Bifold Doors

Bifold doors are an excellent choice for external use. Large glass panels are the main focus of a bifold door and encourage natural light to flow into your home. They are sturdy, durable and cost-effective. Double, and even triple, glazing glass options are provided to maximise insulation, making them the perfect choice if you’re wanting to decrease your energy use.

The material that you choose for your external bifold door is not to be overlooked. While you want your door to match your homes aesthetic, you shouldn’t compromise on price and quality. Having the wrong material for your bifold door can cause more harm than good.

Our external bifolds come in a range of materials; timber, aluminium, and uPVC. Each has their pros and cons. In this article, we’ll weigh out those pro’s and con’s, and compare the materials against each other. Bifold doors are an investment, so we want you to have all the facts before you take the plunge and make your purchase.

Wooden Bifold Doors

Firstly, let’s talk about timber bifold doors. There are many benefits of wood bifold doors and the fact that they are aesthetically pleasing makes them a popular choice.

Their sturdiness make us feel safe and protected, all while providing a country-feel to the outside of our homes. Let’s begin by looking at the advantages and disadvantages of wooden bifolds.

Advantages of Wooden Bifold Doors

  • Timber bifold doors require very little maintenance. If treated correctly, you’ll only need to provide upkeep twice a year.

  • Timber is an extremely durable, making them a very safe option for external use.

  • Environmentally friendly and a great way to improve your carbon footprint. Older trees are used for the construction of bifold doors meaning there’ll be more room to plant new trees. New trees provide a lot more oxygen than older trees!

  • Wood adds an elegant look to your home.

  • For bringing the outside in, there’s nothing like pairing a wooden door with large glass inserts!

Disadvantages of Wooden Bifold Doors 

  • If the wood is left untreated, the wood will fade in colour and cracks will appear that will need to be filled in order to prevent draughts.

  • Over time, wood warps. Our wooden bifold doors are extremely durable and will last for many years to come.

  • Like uPVC, wood also expands in high temperatures and direct sunlight. If your door hasn’t been installed correctly or has been incorrectly measured, your door will start to stick in the frame - or you may even struggle to open and close the door. At Vibrant Doors, we measure and fit all our doors to the highest standard. For a better insight into measuring your bifold door, take a read through our bifold door sizing guide.

Wood vs. Aluminium Bifold Doors

The main thing that you’re probably wondering is the cost difference. Aluminium, when compared to timber and uPVC is the most expensive material of the three. Its sleek design, powder-coating options and it being lightweight, all increase the costs of this material to substantial heights. While the price of timber sits pretty in the middle of the three, timber doors come in a diverse range of prices to suit all budgets.

Another reason to pick wood over aluminium is that aluminium doesn’t insulate as well as wood. While you’re able to achieve an extremely slim frame, aluminium lacks insulation resulting in very little change to your energy bills - in fact, it may even raise them!

With aluminium being a poor insulator, the insulation is often heavily relied upon the glass - or the manufacturers will use another material by incorporating thermal breaks in the aluminium - which all increase the final cost.

Wood vs uPVC Bifold Doors

uPVC is the cheapest option for bifold doors. If you’re on a budget, they’re a great way to incorporate natural light into the home. However, the price tag comes at a cost.

uPVC is the weakest of all three materials making your doors susceptible to damage. Its low structural strength means that uPVC has a much lower lifespan than wood and over time, may end up costing you more in maintenance and replacements.

In high temperatures or direct sunlight, uPVC expands the same as wood does. The only difference is that uPVC can be pretty noisy as it expands. In the early morning summer sun, the cracking of uPVC is not a pleasant sound to wake up to.

uPVC Bifold Doors

Moving on to the benefits and disadvantages to uPVC bifold doors. Are uPVC bifold doors any good?

Pros

  • uPVC is extremely cheap to purchase. If you’re on a budget, uPVC bifold doors are the best choice.

  • Maintenance is incredibly low. It requires no future treatment after purchase.

  • The upkeep is low, too. uPVC can be wiped clean within minutes.

  • It’s a very versatile material that lends well to spaces that aren’t your usual size or shape.

  • Large air chambers are created within uPVC to improve insulation.

Cons

  • uPVC has a low budget appearance. While uPVC is highly versatile, its overall appearance is one left to be desired.

  • Expands and contracts with weather changes, and is extremely noisy when doing so.

  • If stability and sturdiness are on your list of what you want out of your bifold door then uPVC isn’t for you; uPVC is very low strength.

Aluminium Bifold Doors

Finally, the benefits and disadvantages of aluminium bifolds. Again, we ask ourselves, are aluminium bifold doors any good?

Pros

  • Aluminium has a very slim frame design making them a great option for blending your indoor and outdoor space together.

  • Aluminum is a lightweight material making installation very easy. It also decreases the strength needed to open and close the bifolding doors.

  • Create a very modern and stylish look in a contemporary home.

  • Easy to maintain and very little upkeep is required.

Cons

  • In winter, aluminium bifold doors can be cold to the touch.

  • They’re a poor insulator.

  • Aluminium bifold doors are the most expensive option. Aluminum also doesn’t have any cheaper versions available, ruling them out for people on a budget.

Conclusion

uPVC, timber and aluminium all have their pros and cons. The differences between them may seem small on paper but once installed and running, those differences could be the reason you end up purchasing a different material.

If you’re new to bifold doors, your safest option is to go with timber. But, as with anything, the material that you choose comes down to personal preference. But, there’ll always be a pro or con that outweighs the rest.

If you’ve decided on the material, but want to learn more about how to use a bifold door to its best ability, our article on how to choose the right external bifold doors should be of interest to you.