Introduction

Bi-fold Door Tout
Photo: Kolin Smith
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It seems every house built since the 1950s has closets with sliding doors. Space-saving, sure, but not the best-looking—and certainly not very revealing when you're trying to see (or reach) the goods in the middle of the closet where the doors overlap each other.

Heavy bifold doors with a sturdy track, on the other hand, move effortlessly away from the center of the closet to give you a full picture of the contents inside. And because bifolds come in a wide array of profiles, they bring character to a plain opening. Replacing those hollow-core builder's specials with a pair of weighty solid folders isn't a huge deal; the whole assembly and installation will take you a mere Saturday afternoon. Then you'll be rewarded with a wide-angle view when it's time to pick out the day's duds.
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    Tools List

    • combination square
      Combination square
    • drill
      Drill
    • self-centering bit
      Centering bit,
      for drilling pilot holes for hinge screws
    • hack saw
      Hacksaw,
      for trimming track to fit opening
    • plumb bob
      Plumb bob,
      for aligning hardware above and below door
    • extender flexible bit
      Bit extender,
      for reaching into tight spaces with drill
    • hand saw
      Handsaw,
      for cutting finish trim that hides the track

    Shopping List

    1. DOORS

    Bifold doors are available for sale, but custom-ordered doors can also be assembled into folding doors, as long as they're resized to fit your needs. [BR]When measuring the closet opening, account for a small gap around and between the doors. [BR]Measure the horizontal opening of your doors, subtract 13/16 inch, and divide by 4 to get the individual door width. Measure vertically and subtract 2 and 7/8 inches to get its height.



    2. TRACK HARDWARE

    The hardware that comes with bifold-door set can be flimsy. We've found its often best to order separate hardware[EMDASH]a kit that includes the track, the hinges, and all the pins and pivot plates[EMDASH]for a smoother, longer-lasting operation. A couple of companies, like Johnson, offer heavy-duty tracks that make the doors glide smoothly.



    3. DOOR PULLS

    Smaller cabinet knobs will get lost on a larger door, so look for "wardrobe knobs" or any knob that is 1 and 3/4 inches or bigger in diameter.



    4. 1x2 FINISH-GRADE FLAT STOCK

    You'll need just one piece to create a valance under the header to hide the track.



    5. 21/2-INCH TRIM SCREWS

    For attaching the 1x2 stock.