We’ve been designing and building bifold doors for about 30 years now and have built units for uses that we never could have imagined back in the 80’s. We’ve listened to architects, contractors and potential buyers, about what they expect when looking at bifolds. And we’ve learned. Below are a few issues if you consider going bifold.
· Always think big. That means being visionary. Anticipate ‘door traffic’ 10 years into the future.
· Talk with your architect….early. Often doors are a late consideration in construction projects. The very fact that bifolds are frequently used on a daily basis suggests planning of your door/doors should be a top priority of your total construction package.
· Don’t be bashful. A properly designed bifold can be the architectural highlight of the entire building. You can ‘dress up’ bifolds with artistically designed windows; outer skins to match, or provide contrast; even unique walk-through doors fashioned into the big door.
· Be creative. Bifolds are now often used as ‘window walls’ providing quick access to the outdoor world, yet total security when closed. A Harley Davidson dealer in Hawaii uses bifolds for three of his walls. Special windows in his bifolds provide ‘night time’ viewing into his illuminated show floor. Bifolds are ‘wide open’ during daytime hours allowing easy shop access for potential bike buyers. The Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, uses a bifold window to provide a dramatic view of the Mississippi River.
· Consider additional details. Bifolds are easily insulated. Power-driven Auto Latches provide total security and make the door ‘weather tight.’ Remote Control units permit doors to be automatically opened and closed (particularly attractive to pilots since they can open their hangar door as they taxi up to the hangar).
· Be aware of stress points. Bifold doors have multiple lift points throughout the width of the doorframe. This means less stress on the hinges and doorframe. Also in the open position, a bifold protrudes out only half the distance of a single-piece hinged door. This means less ‘stress force’ to your building, and less potential for wind/snow damage when open.
· Remember your weather. Blowing snow or freezing rain is not a problem with bifolds. Because of slant angle, rain and snow doesn’t pile up when bifolds are open. Also you don’t have a ‘weather tight’ door if it does not have top, bottom and side gaskets.
· Lift Straps, a unique patented feature of Schweiss bifolds, provide fast, quiet, and trouble-free opening and closing.
· Structural Warranty is important. Check the warranty language for complete understanding. Buy from a supplier who provides ‘on site’ guidance to your contractor for proper installation of your door.
· Measure exactly. Every door should be a custom door designed to fit precisely the measurements provided to your door supplier.
Architects and builders are doing amazing things with doors. Make certain your potential door supplier has the history, and the design skills to provide a finished product that meets and exceeds every requirement.