While choosing a shower door isn’t a life-changing decision, you want to be sure to choose one that allows easy access to and from the shower. You also want a door that is configured to work efficiently in the amount of space available. If your bathroom space is small, a bi-fold shower door may be the perfect solution. A bi-fold door is actually a combination of a sliding and swinging shower door, but makes more efficient use of space. A bi-fold shower door is available in a variety of materials, sizes and frames.
To understand the benefits of a bi-fold shower door, you first need to know how sliding and swinging shower doors operate.
Slider and Swinging Shower Doors
Sliding shower doors are also known as bypass doors and they come in two or three sections which slide along on roller at the top and bottom of a track in the door’s frame. They take up very little space because they do not open in or out. The biggest drawback is that the multi-channeled track is very difficult to keep clean and debris can cause the doors to stick or jam.
A swinging or pivot door generally has a flat sill below which is easy to keep clean. The door swings outward into the bathroom which is helpful if the shower stall is small but it can be a problem if there is not enough clearance for the door to open into the bathroom without hitting another object. Also, unless you wipe down the bottom of the door and the door itself before getting out of the shower, the excess water drips onto the floor.
The Benefit of Bi-Fold
When space is at a premium, a bi-fold shower door should be considered. Designed with two panels that fold in on each other when the door is opened, a bi-fold door slides along a track at the bottom and the folded doors open to the inside of the shower. This keeps the water inside the shower stall and when the doors are pushed to the side, it is easy to get in and out of the shower. Bi-fold doors work well in small bathrooms because they can be opened and closed without intruding on bathroom space.
Like sliding doors, however, bi-fold doors share the problem of a track channel that can be hard to keep clean. When debris builds up, the doors may stick or jam, which may require replacing the rollers over time. However, regular cleaning of the track with a damp rag can keep them mostly free of debris. Cotton swabs or pipe cleaners can be used to access hard to reach areas.
Bi-fold doors are often the most affordable option in shower doors and their space-saving features make them suitable for virtually every style and size of bathroom. Bi-fold doors come in standard sizes or can be custom made if necessary and you can choose from clear, tinted or frosted glass in frameless or framed styles, with frames available in silver, chrome or white.
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