Overview

Bifold Doors Overview
Illustration: Gregory Nemec
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Bifold doors are much like any doors, only connected into pairs with hinges and hung on a track. What makes them look good and work well are a solid, heavy construction and sturdy and carefully adjusted hardware.

The heft of the doors is what keeps them from shuddering when you open them. So it's best to look for solid–core or solid–wood doors, which will feel more substantial than hollow–core doors. (Solid doors are also easier to trim if any part of your door opening is out of square.) Then, in order to handle the weight of these heavier doors, you'll need a track that includes a wheeled mechanism, which allows the doors to glide smoothly rather than shimmy along the track.

The most difficult—and sometimes most frustrating—part of the installation is attaching and adjusting all the hardware. The track, the pivots, the hinges all have to be assembled just so, and it's worth taking the time to double–check every measurement and position to be sure each piece is in the right place and facing the right way.
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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.