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Bi-Fold Doors

Bi-fold doors are a wonderful alternative to conventional swinging doors and bypass doors. They are extremely popular when space is at a premium. Bi-fold doors are specially designed to be used in closets, pantries, and in some cases as folding doors between rooms. Many people prefer them over bypass doors because they offer full access to a closet.

Bi-fold doors are always done in pairs, with two narrow sections or panels folding to one side, or with four panels, split in the center of the opening, with two panels folding back to each side. The narrow sections or panels are hinged together to form a larger door. When opened, the sections on bi-fold doors close together in pairs and offer full access to the interior of the closet.

Aside from enhanced convenience, bi-fold doors can also offer decorating flair. They are available in practically any material and come in a variety of sizes and patterns. Pine and fir are two of the most common materials used. Fir provides better integrity and lasting quality. Also, fir can be stained or painted while pine doors can only be stained.

The bi-fold doors are typically found in a full-louver style. Full-louver provides open louvers throughout the entire surface of the door. There is, however, a rail (horizontal strip) located in the center of the door to add strength and prevent warping. This style is attractive and offers ventilation, but doesn’t provide the best privacy.

If privacy is concern, a full false-louver bi-fold door is available. This type of bi-fold door is similar to full-louver doors, but the louvers are closed which provide better privacy. Other popular bi-fold door styles include combinations of louvers and panels or simply a series of panels. Keep in mind, however, that bi-fold doors in general do not offer the level of privacy that conventional swinging and bypass doors do.

When it comes to quality, bi-fold doors are available in several levels. Basically, the thinner and lighter doors are the least expensive and offer the lowest level of quality. The thicker doors are more expensive and offer the best quality. You should also pay attention to the doors components such as hinges and rollers. Poor quality hardware components will frequently fail and require constant repairs.

Once installed, bi-fold doors will sometimes require an adjustment. Metal pins at the top and bottom of the panel's are used to help keep bi-fold doors aligned. They take the place of hinges on swinging doors, but they are much more easily adjusted. It’s common for bi-fold doors to develop a gap between the lower portions where the two door sections meet. The metal pins at the base of the door can be adjusted with a screwdriver to draw the doors toward one another.

Another common problem associated with bi-fold doors includes broken guide rollers. There is a track above the doors that is concealed with wood trim (on quality doors) and it acts as a guide for a plastic or metal roller. If these rollers break, they can be replaced. All you have to do is compress the roller-guide spring, swing the door into the closet or opening, and then remove the old guide with a chisel or small pry bar. The new guide can be inserted into this opening.

In addition, one of the advantages of a bi-fold, as opposed to a bypass, is the lack of a base track. Metal clips are used instead and they are installed on the inside face of the door. These clips aid in aligning the doors at the bottom. They can be easily bent with a pair of pliers whenever the doors are out of alignment. Many homeowners find this process of alignment very simple.

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