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The Pros & Cons of Bifold Patio Doors

March 25th, 2024 | 6 min. read

The Pros & Cons of Bifold Patio Doors

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Would you like to make your home more spacious and bright?

Bring the outdoors inside on warm, sunny days?

Stop getting frustrated at family get-togethers when everyone is forced through one cramped door onto the back patio?

Wow your neighbors and guests with a trendy, modern entry?

At Southwest Exteriors, we’ve been helping homeowners like you make their homes more beautiful, comfortable, and livable since 1989, and have solved this specific problem thousands of times.

One such solution is the bi-fold patio door.

Also known as an accordion door or a concertina door, the bi-fold patio door has become a coveted feature of modern home design - opening up enclosed spaces and seamlessly integrating them with the outdoors.

In this article, we’ll help you decide if a bi-fold patio door is right for you. You'll learn what’s great about them, what’s less-than-great, and the things you need to know before you spend thousands of dollars on this chic solution.

Table of Contents

What Are Bi-Fold Patio Doors?

Pros of Bi-Fold Patio Doors

Cons of Bi-Fold Patio Doors

The Bottom Line

What Are Bi-Fold Patio Doors?


Bi-fold patio doors, also known as folding or accordion doors, consist of multiple panels that fold back like an accordion, creating a wide opening that brings indoors and outdoors together. These panels are connected by hinges and run on a track. They can be designed to fold inward or outward, depending on which option maximizes your space.

This mechanism is fundamentally different from traditional sliding doors, in which one panel is stationary, allowing only half of the door space to open; or French doors, which require interior clearance space for the doors to swing open.

Bi-fold doors are typically made from one of three materials: warm and traditional-looking wood; strong, long-lasting aluminum; or uPVC, which is usually the cheapest option and is a better thermal and sound insulator than aluminum.

Pros of Bi-Fold Patio Doors

Natural Light, Open Space, and Beautiful Views


Whether they’re open or closed, bi-fold patio doors improve the visual flow of your home.

Their ability to fold and neatly stack aside means that when open, there is almost no barrier between inside and outside, giving you (or your guests) a sense of spacious continuity between your living space and your patio. 

When closed, they still allow in an abundance of natural light, thanks to their large glass panels, which bring the view (but not the elements!) into your home, no matter the weather.

Space-Saving Design & Easy Access

Unlike traditional doors that swing open and need clearance space, or sliding doors, which have stationary panels that obstruct half the door frame, bi-fold doors fold back on themselves and use very little space when open.

This not only gives you that modern, spacious ambience, but also makes your home more functional during parties or family get-togethers. Your guests will have plenty of space to move about, preventing traffic jams and even minimizing the risk of spilled drinks and food.

Higher Property Value

If you ever plan to sell your property, upgrading your doors is a plus, whether you’re installing sliding doors, french doors, or bi-fold. But bi-fold doors have a modern cachet and “wow factor” that can really transform a living space and impress potential buyers. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill patio doors!

Cons of Bi-Fold Patio Doors


While the cost of your bi-fold doors depends on multiple factors, it’s important to remember that bi-fold patio doors are a high-end, trendy product, not a budget solution.

Bi-fold doors typically cost between $30,000 and $70,000 fully installed. 

Why such a wide range? 

Well, there are four factors that influence the price of a bi-fold door.

  1. Size. This is a major factor. A small 8 ft wide door is going to be much cheaper than a 16 ft wide one.
  2. Construction. If your contractor has to open up a wall, then you have to factor in construction costs, which may include moving electrical switchplates and adding a door header. This could add $1,000 - $10,000 to your costs.
  3. Color. A white finish is the least expensive, while black and bronze will run you more.
  4. Brand. Some brands are more premium than others. Anlin, for example, is usually more affordable, while Marvin is more expensive.

For comparison, your typical sliding door typically runs between $6,000 and $15,000 - orders of magnitude cheaper.

Security Concerns

Some people perceive bi-fold doors as less secure than traditional doors because of their large expanses of glass and multiple points of folding. However, modern bi-fold doors often have advanced locking systems that secure the doors at multiple points along the track.

That being said, iron doors and sliding doors do have a slight edge when it comes to security.

Weather Resistance and Thermal Efficiency

Some customers like a non-weathered threshold on bifold doors. This kind of threshold is roughly flush with the floor, which adds to the borderless feeling that many homeowners are trying to achieve, but doesn’t protect against water intrusion. For this reason, we only recommend a borderless threshold for outdoor spaces that are sheltered. For an unsheltered space, a bordered threshold is ideal.

Thermal efficiency may also be a concern. In some cases, the multiple folding frames can provide more opportunities for heat to escape. Higher-quality bi-fold doors, however, should not be especially affected by this issue, which is another reason a quality product and a professional installation team are so important.

The Bottom Line


If you’re looking for that borderless, modern aesthetic, lots of natural light, and that trendy wow factor, bi-fold patio doors are a great solution - but you should be prepared to pay a higher price and deal with a more disruptive and complex installation process.

Now that you’ve learned about the upsides and downsides of this popular door, you may want to check out our article, 8 Things to Consider Before Adding a New Opening to An Existing Wall. Adding a bi-fold patio door often requires you to open up your existing wall space, and it's important to know what goes into that process before making a decision. In this comprehensive article, we cover everything you'll need to know.