Bifold doors are just big windows with hinges, right? Yes, kind of. But there’s a lot more to them, from their clever, hidden features to the way they’re built, and even their surprising thermal properties and sustainability benefits. In this blog we’re going to explore the unsung features of the bifold door, and how they’ve helped these marvels of the modern day home become such a popular investment for so many people.

Astragal bars

An astragal bar is simply a divider that sits between two panes of glass or within the double glazing. These break up what would otherwise be a full pane of glass within a window or door frame. Astragal bars are historically associated with Georgian era windows, but they’ve seen somewhat of a resurgence in recent years. They can be found in large, statement bifold doors but also within smaller uPVC window frames too.

The bars can be horizontal or vertical, and generally run in the shorter direction of the pain. For instance, if your door or window is taller than it is wider, then you can expect to see horizontal bars. This trend has also made its way into interior design, and here it’s typically referred to as ‘crittall’.

A particular trend during lockdown was to introduce crittall internal doors to the home, or even crittall style mirror or shower screens. One TikTok user even shared a ‘hack’ to make any window or door into the crittall style by using nothing more than a roll of black electrical tape. Whilst we applaud their creativity, you’ll see no such hacks at Home Hub – our astragal bars are either made from aluminium or high quality uPVC, painted to match the colour of the door frame.

Flush, seamless tracks

Remember carelessly running through your nan’s house and towards the patio doors, only to trip over the frame and graze your knee? If it hasn’t happened to you (yet), it’s surely happened to someone you know at some point. Traditional patio doors and sliding doors of yesteryear were bulky units often protruding from the floor, walls and ceiling. Metal or uPVC frames often house the sliding tracks and associated locking hardware to ensure the door would open and close smoothly and securely.

Thankfully, times have changed and modern day bifold and sliding doors have become a lot more slimline. The tracks and locking system have been reduced in size so much so that it’s now possible to fit them flush into the surrounding masonry. It’s now possible to have a seamless transition between your indoor and outdoor spaces with nothing more than a flush frame on show.

Of course, this means there’s a little more work involved in fitting the unit. But on the whole, this can easily be accounted for during your renovation or building work and will pay dividends in terms of safety and the overall look of the finished product.

Integral drainage

This leads us quite nicely into our next feature. Flush tracks are all well and good, but what about water ingress? Whilst all of our doors and windows are fully sealed, you still don’t want water creeping in when you inevitably have to dash outside to grab the washing during a downpour.

Thankfully, our drainage solutions are easy to fit whilst retaining the overall modern and low profile look and feel of your windows or doors.

Once again, the product is seamless and flush, sitting at ground level. Our drainage systems divert water away from your entryways and to your relevant run off solution, whether that’s a gutter system, a soakaway, or storm drain.

An integrated drainage system doesn’t just prevent water from entering an open door or window. It’s also a great solution to prevent pooling on flat areas such as patios or decks. This ensures that social areas dry off quickly and don’t end up retaining standing water long after the rain has stopped.

Integral venetian blinds

Last and by no means least, integral venetian blinds are a superb party trick, not to mention a brilliant way to keep sun, heat and prying eyes out of your new social space.

Whilst our doors, windows and glazing do boast excellent thermal properties, they’ll still let in blazing sunlight, which isn’t always desirable. Perhaps you’re working from home and are having trouble seeing your laptop screen. Or maybe you stayed out on the sun lounger for a little too long and just need a break from the great ball of light in the sky.

Integral venetian blinds pretty much do what they say on the tin (caveat: they don’t come in a tin). They are venetian blinds that are integrated to the design or the window or door frame. This means that when they’re open and not in use, they’re barely noticeable and don’t infringe on your view of the outside, and they don’t add any unsightliness to your windows when looking inside.

Once extended, the blinds fill the entirety of the glazed frame, and because they’re customised to the size of the window, they’re a perfectly snug fit. Extension can be achieved manually, or they can be electrically operated using a remote control. Now that’s a party trick.

So, we hope you learned something you didn’t already know about bifold doors and windows. Of course, we are very biassed, but we believe bifold doors offer so much more than a visual upgrade. They’re an opportunity to completely change the way you see and use a space on a practical level. If you’d like to know anything else about our products (yes, there’s more!) then please do get in touch.