Lift & Slide Doors v Bifold Doors: which should you go for?

At Livingwood, we manufacture in-house a great range of aluminium bifold and sliding doors, all made to the highest standards set by our leading European suppliers, Reynaers.

If you’ve landed on this page because you already know what you’re looking for, then give us a call today on 01284 764045, or send us a message through our contact page.

However, if you’re unsure which type of aluminium door will be right for you, keep reading: we’ve put together this handy guide that’ll tell you everything you need to know when choosing between sliding and bifolding doors for your home.

Keep the opening size in mind

If you like to let a lot of air into your living areas, both sliding doors and bifolding doors can help. Lift & slide doors can open up to 66% of your entire opening, compared with bifolding doors that can provide a completely clear opening. Nevertheless, when a lift & slide door is closed it has the benefit of large picture screens as opposed to bifolds that have many vertical mullions from the multiple screens, obstructing external views.

Note: Any opening with more than four leaves is crying out for a sliding door installation regardless, as they’ll provide an abundance of natural daylight with slim sight lines resulting in maximised external views too.

At Livingwood, we find that 80% of customers that come to our headquarters to meet us and discuss their project arrive thinking that they want bifolding doors, but leave having agreed to purchase a set of aluminium sliding doors.


Whilst we still believe bifold doors have a place in homes, there’s no denying that sliding doors offer significantly more natural light and much improved U-values, resulting in fantastic energy efficiency for your living space.

Many of our customers are surprised when we tell them that the sliding door installations with the biggest glass panes deliver better U-values than those of their bifolding counterparts.

For those unsure of what a U-value is, it is a measure of heat transfer across a building material. It is typically used as a measure of heat loss from inside your home to the outside. It can also act as a measure of thermal performance for your sliding or bifolding doors. Put simply, the lower the U-value of the aluminium doors you choose to install, the less heat is lost and the better they will perform at insulating your living space.

By making sight lines thinner it actually improves the U-value of windows, which means sliding doors offer that little bit more than bifolds.


A lot of people like to keep their doors open just a little, in order to maintain ventilation during those stuffier days. If that’s you, then sliding doors are definitely a better option. You can open or close them as much as you wish, allowing you to completely control the air flow into your living areas.

Bifold doors still offer some flexibility in terms of ventilation, but the bare minimum is opening at least one of the panels, which may be a bit too much on a cooler evening!

External views

If you’ve worked hard to cultivate and nurture a beautiful garden and want to be able to enjoy an uninterrupted view of it, then this is another tick in the box for sliding doors. The clear, unobstructed panes of glass fitted within a sliding door system are typically bigger and can offer more of a panoramic view than aluminium bifolding doors, which, by their nature, involve thicker profiles between each pane.

Hi finity sliding doors

Clear space

Both sliding and bifolding doors are excellent options if you don’t want your new living room doors to take up too much space when open. By their very nature, sliding doors slide along a track and can move neatly into one another, while bifold doors can be set up to open either completely to one side – keeping the other side completely clear – or split so that the doors open both ways.

This is particularly useful in that it’ll prevent you having to move plant pots or furniture around each time you want to open the doors.


If you’re looking to have the same floor both sides of the door – leading into a conservatory for instance – both bifolding and sliding aluminium doors tick the boxes. For instance, most bifold doors come with as many as four different options: this is due to the trade-off between the height of the floor on both sides and the level of weather resistance.

Lift and slide doors can also be flush with the floor levels on both sides of the door and still provide extremely high levels of weather resistance.

Discover the possibilities with Livingwood

Remember, this page is a useful guide to help you find out more about the two types of sliding and bifold doors. The best way to find the perfect door for your needs though, is to get in contact with the experts at Livingwood today and let us specify the perfect aluminium door system for your home.