Learn how the right kind of door can completely change the relationship between a home’s interior and exterior.

Bi-Fold Doors Are Our Favorite Indoor-Outdoor Living Solution
Thomas J. Story

As we’ve all spent more time at home over the last few years, a functional indoor-outdoor space has become more crucial than ever. However, it can be difficult to seamlessly blend the two. Enter: bi-fold doors

Folding door systems are great in residential designs to virtually erase the boundaries between indoors and out, while inviting in fresh air and allowing for unobstructed views,” says Tim Kelting, director of product management at LaCantina.

At our beachfront Malibu Idea House that overlooks the ocean, LaCantina installed bi-fold doors to maximize space and match the modern yet beachy vibe of the home. The result? Taking advantage of a dreamy ocean vista in the backyard without cluttering the living room that overlooks it. But you don’t need to live on the California coast to implement this design-forward solution.

“Folding doors were initially specified in more temperate climates where they could be used virtually year-round,” says Lee Maughan, general manager for LaCantina Doors. “But they are now being designed into homes all over the world, in warm regions [or] cold climates” 

To help you understand the different types of bi-fold door styles and functions, we’ve outlined a few key considerations to best incorporate these features into your home (beachfront or otherwise). 

The Right Doors Maximize Your Space 

While there are a variety of doors to choose from, bi-fold versions can open up your space to its fullest capacity. “Bi-fold doors operate as two folding panels—up to 20 panels, 10 in each direction,” Kelting explains. “Clients tend to opt for folding door systems because they open the entire space without inoperable panels obstructing the space.” 

Bi-fold doors allow for seamless indoor-outdoor entertaining and unobstructed flow for guests. They are installed with a top-hung system that allows for easy opening and closing without the need for closures on the floor. Sliding doors, on the other hand, typically have a fixed panel where the system stacks when the door is in an open position, so you don’t have a maximized opening.

Bi-fold doors “offer a solution that transforms open spaces in any home; from contemporary to traditional, urban to rural, or from the coastline to the mountains,” Maughan tells us. 

Materials Matter

As you brainstorm which type of doors would look best in your home, you’ll also want to consider various materials. The team at LaCantina offers visual customization but the team can also make climate-specific suggestions so your doors stand up to the elements. 

While you might assume large-paneled glass doors are not a suitable fit for cold winters and dry deserts, aluminum as a material base provides optimal use in all settings. Aluminum and thermally-controlled aluminum, which can withstand more extreme temperatures, were designed to stand up to the seasons and more extreme conditions like snow or humidity. 

Wicker and Rattan Outdoor Furniture

Thomas J. Story

LaCantina also makes door systems with aluminum or contemporary clad exterior and wood interior options that can blend into a room with ease. In our Malibu Idea House, the Contemporary Clad black exterior and wood interior in the bi-fold doors open up to tan sands. When the doors are opened accordion style, the wood peeks through and contrasts with the interior and patio flooring. The clad exterior keeps the inside of the house temperate during chilly nights and on hot days.

Customize Your Own

Interested in learning more? While the LaCantina experts let us in on tricks and tips to choosing the right doors for your home or next building project, they’ve also put together interactive videos on their website. The “Material Options” video provides guidance on choosing the best door material for your climate and environment. The “Design Considerations” video walks you through the various operating types, configurations, finishes, and other selections that allow you to make your LaCantina Door system unique.  

Whether you take inspiration from our Malibu Beach Idea House or one more suited to your climate conditions, LaCantina has compiled the resources and highest quality materials to help make indoor-outdoor living a reality in any space.