Connecting the indoors with the outdoors redefines the way you live in your home. Moving glass walls provide grand views to the outdoors, let in fresh air and natural light, and expand living spaces. But which style of moving glass wall – sliding (multi-slide or panoramic) or folding (bi-fold) – is the best choice for your home?

In this short guide, we break out the differences between sliding and folding glass walls and compare the pros and cons. To get an idea of what a sliding or moving glass wall will look like in your home, download the Skye Walls augmented reality app or visit the Design Your Door section on the Skye Walls website.

Configuration

The biggest difference between sliding and folding glass doors is how they’re made. Choosing the perfect type of glass door for your home begins with the amount of space available and your preferred configuration. Folding glass doors offer more configuration options but take up more space when open. Sliding glass doors have fewer options but they can be perfect for spaces without a lot of room.

Sliding (Multi-Slide or Panoramic) Glass Doors     

  • Made up of two or more large glass panels that slide behind each other and stack. 
  • If space permits, panels can be tucked inside a wall pocket to create an unobstructed opening.
  • Panels can move in one direction or part in the center.
  • Screens can be added to protect from bugs and other pests getting inside.

Folding (Bi-Fold) Glass Doors

  • Made up of multiple glass panels that fold to one side and can open toward the inside or outside.
  • Panels are connected to each other with hinges and operate in conjunction.
  • Optional swinging access door for everyday operation without needing to fully open the door.
After interior designer Claire Ownby installed sliding glass patio doors in her Scottsdale, Arizona home, her mornings became all about opening up her sliding glass walls to let in fresh air and listen to the birds. “We like to open our doors all up in one direction,” Ownby says. “Not only does it allow natural light to flow into the space, but the functionality is completely transformed.”

View

It’s important to consider how often you keep glass doors open and how they interrupt, or open, your view to the outside. Sliding glass doors offer wider views when closed while folding glass doors do when open.

Sliding (Multi-Slide or Panoramic) Glass Doors              

  • Replacing an entire wall with glass offers excellent views when closed because of fewer frames.
  • Stacked panels interrupt the view when open if the door does not tuck into a pocket.

Folding (Bi-Fold) Glass Doors

  • Offer completely uninterrupted views when fully open.
  • Thicker frames break up the outside view when the door is shut.

Style

Clean lines, wide panels, and modern details make sliding and folding doors from Skye Walls ideal for contemporary homes. The design and finish options are largely the same for Skye Walls’ aluminum sliding and folding glass doors. Handle options and a wide variety of colors are available, but only the multi-slide door is available in vinyl.  Floor sill options can create a seamless transition between inside and outside or help protect against the elements.

For interior designer Emma Oslac Walsh, folding glass doors between the dining room and patio were the right choice for her home remodel in Westlake Village, California. “The bi-fold doors are wonderful,” she says. “It’s fabulous for a party because they allowed me to have 16 feet that opens up to the outside, which is the perfect way to have that feeling of indoor-outdoor spaces.”

Energy Efficiency

Because more heat is lost through the frame of a door than through glass, glass doors are viable options to increase the energy efficiency of a home. While many choose sliding doors because they are thermally efficient by spanning openings with fewer panes, all our sliding and folding glass doors from Skye Walls utilize low-E dual pane argon-filled glass for energy efficiency. Skye Walls Performance Aluminum and Simulated Steel Folding Doors in particular feature energy-efficient thermally broken aluminum and a low U-value (used to describe the insulating effectiveness of a material) to further reduce energy consumption.

For homeowners Cindy and Ken Clovis, choosing sliding glass doors for their Mesa, Arizona home remodel was the right choice. “We’ve noticed that with the windows in, it doesn’t heat up the house anymore,” Ken says. “That was one of the big worries with all the glass, which really didn’t affect it at all.

Cost

Sliding or folding glass doors can both be cost-effective solutions for your project depending on factors such as size, configuration, and finishes. At Skye Walls, we provide you with a single quote based on manufacturing and installation. You can learn more about how to determine the cost of your project in this article.

Conclusion

When it comes to indoor-outdoor living, both sliding and folding glass doors are excellent solutions. Only you will know which one best suits your project, aesthetic, and budget.

A Skye Walls expert can review your options and help you make a choice. To set up a free consultation, contact us.