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Differences between sliding doors and bi-fold doors

The main differences between a bi-fold door and a sliding door


Choosing between a bi-fold door and a sliding door can seem a difficult decision. Both doors are visually appealing and offer benefits – but in different ways!

Let’s compare the main differences between a sliding door and a bi-fold door:

When opened:

  • Bi-fold doors will protrude to the inner or outside space, however they can open the entire area providing a seamless transition between the inside and outside of the house.
  • Sliding doors have one fixed panel in place, so the space cannot be completely opened. A big benefit of sliding doors is how compact they are, as each panel slides onto each other. They also will not be affected by wind like other door types can.

Screening options:

  • Wideline’s bi-fold doors can now be installed with a fully retractable fly screen.
  • Sliding doors are easy and inexpensive to screen, with the option of additional tracks to allow for screen installation. A range of screen door types, including safety and security screen doors are available for sliding doors too.

Door panel aesthetics:

  • Bi-fold door frames cannot accommodate the large glass panels that sliding doors can. The timber or aluminium frames around each panel of glass are also wider, and results in ‘double frames’ vertically. This highlights the doors, rather than the outside view.
  • Sliding doors can endure larger panels of glass and have slimmer frames. This results in less verticals, so sliding doors offer a more streamlined, uninterrupted view.
  • Sliding door tracks can also be recessed into the wall cavity which means the door panel slides neatly out of sight. This is a great little space saving solution which allows a seamlessly connection between the indoor and outdoor spaces. Read more about our Cavity Doors.

Door configuration:

  • Bi-fold doors are available in a range of configurations. For example, you can configure your bi-fold to have a single door opening, and the other panels sliding to the other direction. This would allow you to have a single opening, double opening (like French doors), and the option to fully open the bi-doors.
  • Sliding doors can open to one side, or open to both sides, depending on the number of panels in the door. Sliding doors can also be configured in a 90-degree option with no post which creates an open feel for your space. See our Horizon technical manual for full details on configuration options.


  • Bi-fold doors require more hardware and moving parts like rollers, hinges, handles and operators. This can result in more maintenance being required and also explains the slight price difference between sliding and bi-fold door options.
  • There’s less hardware and materials required for a sliding door, which assists them in being easier to maintain and find replacement parts for when required.

Still need help deciding which door is right for your home? Read our guide on selecting doors.

Or visit a Showroom and talk to one of our product experts.