Installing Bi-Fold Closet Doors
Bi-Fold Door Knob Pulls
Dear Natural Handyman,
I want to replace my old bulky 4' bypassing closet doors with bifolding doors. The major problem is that I cannot find any bifolding doors suitable for spanning an 8' opening. I have installed a closet organizer in the eight foot closet and, without the bifolding doors, I will only have access to 1/2 of the closet at any one time. Do you have a viable solution to this problem?
LP from Rialto, CA
Two four-foot doors? You do have a problem, but I have the solution. In fact, three possible solutions!
One option would be to mount four pairs of 2-foot bifolding doors. Terminologically speaking, this means a total of eight one foot doors, hinged in pairs. Because the "hinge" side of bifolding doors consists of a floor-mounted pivot and a top-mounted track, you can install multiple 4 foot tracks side by side with no need for a vertical wood support at either end. The center door pairs would hinge in the middle of the 8 foot frame, giving the appearance of two separate four foot closets when open.
If you really want the total 8 foot opening to be absolutely obstruction free (except for the thickness of the doors on either side of the frame), use bifolding hardware with four standard 2' wide doors. You can purchase a separate bifolding hardware kit, which includes hinges, track, and all associated hardware. Hollow-core doors would be the best choice, since the weight will be more easily manageable by standard bifolding hardware.
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If you have a thing for heavy solid doors, mirrored doors or doors with glass panels you might find that the weight will overload the bifolding track/pivot mechanism. No way to know until you try it, though. Then, you would need to use butt hinges... either standard door hinges or special low-clearance hinges that require no mortising... to install the doors to the frame instead of using the bifolding track/pivot method. Obviously, this is a more labor and skill-intensive job, so trying the bifolding method first might be the way to go. The hardware is not that expensive. You could still continue to use the top track to guide the "leading" door of each pair so it does not swing out from the frame, keeping the bifolding function by with additional strength.
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