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Unlocking Your Backyard: A Comparison of Bifold, Multi-Slide, and Pivot Patio Doors

Bifold Patio Doors vs Multi-Slide Patio Doors vs Pivot Patio Doors

Not everyone is satisfied with a simple sliding glass door to their patio, or French doors. If transforming your home into an open-air haven is on your bucket list of home improvement projects, and you want to fully open up the wall, or install doors that run all the way up to the ceiling, then the type of door you select can be vitally important.

Taking a few minutes to consider the differences, and how that impacts cost, lifespan and daily use of that door can help you choose something you’ll be happy with for decades to come.

Oversized patio doors come in three basic configurations: bifold, multi slide, and pivot doors. Each style has their own unique pros and cons, and physical requirements. Let’s delve in: 

Bifold Doors: Accordion Elegance

Bi-Fold Glass Patio Door Arizona
Bi-Fold Glass Patio Door

Imagine expansive glass panels folding neatly like an accordion, creating a breathtaking panoramic view. That’s the magic of bifold doors. Offering unmatched openness, they’re ideal for bringing the outdoors in, especially for wider openings.

Hung from headers or beams, these doors typically fold tightly against the wall, leaving no obstructions to the view and flow of your home.

Pros of a Bifold Door:

  • Unparalleled View | When fully open, they offer a completely unobstructed view, blurring the lines between your living space and the outdoors.
  • Modern Design | Their sleek, accordion-folding design adds a touch of sophistication and modernity to your home.
  • Increased Value | Their unique functionality and aesthetic appeal can potentially boost your home’s resale value.

Cons of a Bifold Door:

  • Installation Complexity | Bifold panels are very heavy, due to the amount of glass. Most homes aren’t built to anticipate this kind of weight hanging from above, and reinforcement to the ceiling and roof typically involves additional construction costs and expertise.
  • Maintenance Needs | Adjustments or reinstallation is typically necessary as a house settles, adding to long-term costs. Anything more than 1/8 of an inch will interfere with movement of the panels. This can be very expensive.
  • Limited Insulation | The more glass a home has, the less energy efficient the building envelope is, even with today’s advancements in low-E glass coatings. Naturally this style of door is almost 100% glass, so there will be an impact to your utility bills. Of course, when the doors are open, you’ll want to be sure your AC units are turned off.

Multi Slide Doors: Gliding into Luxury

Multi Slide Glass Patio Door Gilbert Arizona
Multi Slide Glass Patio Door

For a smooth and sophisticated opening, consider multi slide doors. These panels slide effortlessly on tracks along the floor, stacking discreetly against the wall, or on top of a stationary panel on one (or both) sides. They’re often ideal for a new home under construction, so a pocket can be built into the wall to hide the stacked panels.

They are bottom-heavy, so the quality of the rollers and choosing a commercial quality is essential.

Pros of a Multi Slide Door:

  • Clean Lines | Since multi slide doors move along a floor track, weight is less of a concern and the panels can be wider than a bifold door. This reduces the amount of metal framing that blocks the view.
  • Flexible Configurations | Choose from multiple panels and stacking configurations to customize your opening size.
  • Pocket Option | For ultimate seamlessness, the panels can disappear into a wall pocket, maximizing both space and view.

Cons of a Multi Slide Door:

  • Limited View | Even when fully open, one or two stationary panels might remain, slightly obstructing the view.
  • Cleanliness of the Track | Tracks can be something to step over, or seamlessly embedded in the floor, but either way, keeping those tracks clean is of paramount importance for smooth operation.
  • Costly Investment | Pocket door option and larger panels can significantly increase the cost compared to bifold doors. It’s essential to choose a commercial product with extremely sturdy rollers. Since the full weight of a panel rests on those rollers, it needs to be strong enough to hold up over time. Commercial product is more expensive than residential, but a homeowner will be much happier in the long run.

Pivot Doors: A Statement in Simplicity

Pivot Door With Sidelites Scottsdale Arizona
Pivot Patio Door With Sidelites

For a touch of drama and architectural intrigue, consider pivot doors. These single panels rotate on a central hinge, creating a wide, elegant opening. Here’s what makes them stand out:

Pros of a Pivot Door:

  • Stunning Design | The single, large panel creates a bold statement and adds a touch of modern luxury to your home.
  • No Construction Required | A pivot door typically requires no construction; however, some openings may be too wide for this style.
  • Weather Resistance | Their robust design can withstand strong winds and heavy rains, making them suitable for exposed areas.
  • Low Maintenance | Their simple mechanism requires minimal maintenance compared to other options. It’s a very simple design with minimal wear, compared to other options.

Cons of a Pivot Door:

  • Limited Opening | While wide, they only open to a 90-degree angle, offering less openness compared to bifold or multi slide doors.
  • Cost Factor | Their unique design and often larger size can be very expensive.
  • Accessibility Considerations | The swinging door might pose challenges for people with mobility limitations.

Making the Perfect Choice

Ultimately, the best patio door depends on your budget, timeline, needs and priorities. Consider these factors:

  • Desired Openness | Do you crave a completely unobstructed view or are you comfortable with some remaining structure?
  • Budget | Does a particular style best fit into your budget?
  • Design Aesthetic | Do you prefer the modern elegance of multi slide doors, the drama of pivot doors, or the unobstructed accordion charm of bifold doors?
  • Maintenance Needs | Are you comfortable with potential adjustments or reinstallation for bifold doors?
  • Construction Type | Are you building a new home or retrofitting an existing one? Pocket multi slide doors require thicker walls.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose the patio door that seamlessly blends form and function, transforming your backyard into an extension of your living space and enriching your home with natural light and fresh air. So, unlock the beauty of your backyard and bask in the joy of seamless indoor-outdoor living!


CONTENT PARTNER | DunRite Windows & Doors

Window and Door Experts: DunRite Windows & Doors
(602) 962-8848

DunRite Windows & Doors is a locally owned and operated family business in Scottsdale, with a solid reputation, incredible customer reviews, and competitive pricing on top brands. In addition to being Rosie on the House Certified, they are certified and authorized dealers for multiple manufacturers, and have several FGIA Installation Master certified installers on the team, ensuring you the best workmanship possible. Schedule a quote here to get a Rosie on the House discount today!



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