If we didn’t already know it, the era of the bi-fold door is well and truly upon us. Although they’ve been around for decades, bi-folds have come into their own over the last ten years and have become more popular than traditional patio doors and French doors. In fact, it is now estimated that more than half of homeowners who replace rear doors are opting for bi-folds.
For fabricators and systems houses, offering bi-folding doors as a standard product makes excellent commercial sense. There is a proven demand for them among installers and their customers and as word spreads, there is an expectation that this market will continue to grow even more.
As we know, when a previously niche product hits the ‘on-trend’ button, there’s the inevitable rush to market to those wishing to catch the wave. And if we recall the double-glazing boom of the 1980s, there are efficient, well-fitted and high-performing products….and then there are the rest.
Today, with not as much spare money floating about, buyers are more discerning and will speak their minds if they feel they’re not getting the quality they were promised. So how do we ensure that the bi-folds we’re making and selling are of the type that will delight the customer and keep the orders coming?
At Debar, we’ve been involved in the design, manufacture and distribution of bi-fold solutions for almost 15 years. Over that time we have gained an unbeatable amount of knowledge in this sector and we’re always keen to share this with fabricators and systems houses considering moving into the bi-fold market. We provide help and advice, including first-class training and support, for all our customers. As a company, we’re constantly innovating to find newer, better ways of doing things and we encourage the systems houses and fabricators we’re involved with to do the same.
In short, we’re committed to quality and we believe that outstanding quality is what sets the good bi-fold fabricator from all the rest. So how do we get ahead of the pack? Below are a few expert tips for designing a door that will have everyone talking:
Fantastic looks and incredible performance of modern bi-folding doors
Bi-folds seem to be getting slimmer with every year that passes, and sleekness is a major selling point. Fabricators should bear in mind that good looks should be matched by equally good ease of performance, so it’s well worth investing in top-quality materials and hardware to emphasise operational smoothness and in-built minimalism.
Performance is also a factor in terms of thermal efficiency. As we know, the UK government has recently introduced legislation requiring window and door manufacturers to lower U-values in a bid to meet net zero targets. Offering bi-folds with exceptional thermal performance has to be a ‘must’ now, as customers are demanding this as it helps to make savings on energy bills – a vital issue for all of us. So getting this right from the beginning, and advertising the fact, will give you a message you can shout about.
Outstanding bi-fold hardware
Very often, it’s the little details that give away the quality (or otherwise) of a product. Beautiful bi-fold doors are one thing, but if hinges and catches are loose or the lock doesn’t work properly, they’re next to useless. Don’t be tempted to skimp on hardware and instead, invest in the best. We supply a range of highly-engineering and extensively tested bi-fold hardware, designed to a top specification, including door handles, locks, catches, rollers, guides, gaskets and cleats. Check out our full range of products here.
Testing the effectiveness of a brand-new bi-fold
We can’t emphasise enough how important we think testing is. Being able to guarantee the durability, security and safety of a bi-fold door as a result of extensive testing is a real positive, and we think it is an essential part of the bi-fold design and manufacturing process.
Testing for various weather conditions ensures that the door will withstand whatever is thrown at it. For example, water infiltration testing involves exposing the bi-fold doors to a controlled amount of water, typically using a spray rack or shower apparatus. After this, the doors are inspected for any signs of water leakage.
Wind load resistance testing sees the doors subjected to a series of wind gusts and pressures that simulate various wind speeds and directions. The doors are then evaluated for their ability to resist deformation, deflection, and damage from wind loads, including up to hurricane levels.
Bi-fold doors should also be thermally tested by measuring their thermal performance – their ability to resist heat transfer. This is a vital test because it will eventually tell the customer how well their door is performing in terms of energy efficiency.
Last, but certainly not least, is the subject of security testing. This is essential, not only for compliance with safety and security regulations but also for insurance purposes. This stage of testing will help to identify any weak points in the door’s construction or locking mechanism that can be remedied before the door goes on sale.
Industry training for fabricators
As a company, we believe that ongoing training is an important part of the production of a great bi-fold. We are proud to be able to pass on our expertise and technical knowledge, not least because great training ensures that our industry is one that people trust and have respect for. Any ambitious company wanting to break into this market would be wise to invest in our bespoke training, not least because this will give them an excellent head start over competitors who are simply learning through trial and error.
Why should you invest in the bi-fold market?
We’re in an exciting period for bi-fold doors, with many people choosing them for their contemporary looks, ease of use and thermal efficiency. Let’s not disappoint anyone with poor fabrication and installation practice; instead, let’s impress, time and time again.
If you would like some more support with your bi-fold door project, get in touch with our team of experts today.