With the enduring popularity of home extensions, bi-fold doors have become an integral part of home improvement, creating an atmosphere where natural light floods into the house – bringing the outside in.
Bi-fold doors are a great addition to the glazing choices available which, once installed, will greatly benefit from the addition of blinds for several reasons:-
- to provide privacy, insulation and a feeling of cosiness at night time and in the darker winter months,
- to create shade from the sun’s heat and glare in summer,
- to enhance security when away from the house.
There are a number of options in considering blinds for bi-fold doors. Traditionally many of these have involved fixing blinds onto the wall or soffit above the door area, so that the door cannot open or shut the door while the blinds are lowered.
This is currently the only option available if you want electric blinds for bi-fold doors, as the headrail for these is too large to fit to the bead of the door. Alternatively, electric blinds can be hung from the door frame, although again, this would mean that the bi-fold would be unable to open to its full extent.
Venetian or Roller Blinds
Venetian or roller blind mechanisms which are attached separately to the bead of the door, are not suitable for bi-folds, as the bulky headrails restrict opening the doors to their full extent.
Some glazing companies now sell integrated Venetian blinds within the glazing for bi-fold doors, allowing the doors to slide back fully without the blinds restricting their operation. The manual operation is operated either by a cord or a magnetic slider. However, these mechanisms are fairly clunky and detract from the clean lines of the bi-fold doors.
The electric options are a great alternative as the blinds are integrated into the door frame, but are hugely expensive.
Click & Fit Blinds
The blinds industry has kept abreast of the demands of the glazing industry and new developments offer a solution to shading for bi-fold doors.
E-commerce companies offer a wide choice of cheap and easy ‘Click and Fit’ systems, providing you are prepared to take the responsibility and risk of measuring and fitting the blinds yourself.
These are sold as “made to measure”, which is misleading as the client bears the total responsibility of measuring and fitting the blinds, with manufacturers merely making the blinds to clients’ specifications; if the measurements are wrong, this option offers no comeback.
Another disadvantage is that this system is fairly flimsy, as a result of being produced to a lower specification in order to undercut other suppliers and appeal to a mass market.
In addition, the blinds will knock against the window frame when there is any movement, as there are no guide frames to keep the cords secure. The accompanying hardware only comes in white, and the blinds are not fully adjustable from both the top and bottom.
Another option is PerfectFit, which is a framed system, but designed for UPVC windows, rather than specifically for bi-fold doors. The slimmer bead of a bi-fold door means that the bulky frame of this alternative sits within the window recess, so that the doors are not able to open to their full extent. These frames are also more obtrusive visually.
TruFit blinds operate with a floating rail, so that the blind can be either pulled down from the top, or pulled up from the bottom; this gives total control over the degree and position of the shading created.
However, TruFit blinds are a ‘stick-on’ solution, which involves sticking a rail on either side of the window with an integrated clip from which the blind hangs. As well as not being particularly attractive, the glue can degrade over time, especially in high traffic areas or where blinds have a lot of exposure to the sun.
Another consideration with bi-fold doors is the manufacturers’ warranties. Glazing companies usually state that any drilling into the bead or frame of the bi-fold door (to attach a blind, for example) invalidates the guarantee. This is something of a glazing industry ‘ploy’, as blinds are fitted to windows and conservatories every day, and by making this stipulation, the manufacturer is effectively stating that their product is ‘not fit for purpose’, thereby contravening the Consumer Rights Act of 2015.
Pleated blinds are the best choice for bi-fold doors, as the slim headrail allows you to fix the blinds to the bead of the door itself, and the vast array of fabric and colours provides greater choice.
Spending perhaps just a little more with a reputable blind company will ensure a sound investment in a well-researched product that will be ‘fit for purpose’, expertly measured and fitted, with extended guarantees.
SlimFit Micro Blinds – the Oakhurst Solution (Slim fit, with no drilling into frames)
The Oakhurst solution for bi-fold doors is to fit the blinds to the bead of the window frame, allowing complete freedom and flexibility on operating your doors.
The recently launched SlimFit Micro Blind System is unique, and specifically designed for bi-fold doors. The16mm headrail and micro-pleated fabric fits on a unobtrusive guided frame that is locked into the bead of the window. Guided end caps restrain the bottom bar and prevent unwanted movement. The 16mm micro fabric is offered in a wide range of pleated or cellular fabric alternatives.
SlimFit Micro Blinds can be mounted so that they can either be pulled down from the top, or up from the bottom, allowing maximum privacy and height control.
Benefits of the SlimFit Micro Blind System
- 16mm slim headrail specifically designed for bi-fold doors.
- Headrail colours available in white, brown or anthracite, with co-ordinating components.
- 16mm Micro Pleated and Cellular fabric ranges specifically designed for bi-fold doors.
- Guided frame fitted to the door, rather than stuck on with adhesive. This fixes the blinds in place and prevents them moving or clattering against the window.
- SlimFit Blind System can be fitted to UPVC or aluminium frames.
- Neat and simple control options, eliminating unnecessary and unsightly cord loops and giving you peace of mind and safety for your family.
- Multi-zone blinds, which offer maximum flexibility as they can be positioned at varying heights for privacy and shading as and when required.