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In my opinion bifold doors are way better looking and more practical than the cheap sliding doors many builders install on closets in new homes nowadays. They do that to force your hand into paying more than it is worth for upgrades. But in this case installing bifold doors by yourself is an easy job and it is way cheaper as DIY.
Here is an example of a closet originally equiped with sliding doors. This job actually required a change in size of the closet raugh opening to keep the cost of the bifolds down. The bifolds are chap as long as you don’t need a custom size. Then they go up in price like crazy up to 5-6 times the price which I consider well… crazy.
Measure the opening
So your first job is to measure the rough opening very precisely. Then go to the store and see if you can find standard doors to fit your needs. If you are lucky everything becomes really simple.
Decide on the size of the doors
If you cannot find standard sized doors for your needs then you will have to ask for a quote on custom size doors. From my experience the price goes up a lot steeper if your problem is the height of the door. Get the quote and if you don’t see any problem with the price place the order. Be sure you are certain you got accurate measurements because custom doors are not returnable.
If the quoted price had thrown you off the chair go back at the standard doors and look at the biggest door that could fit for your closet if you’d reduce the size of the rough opening by building some wall extensions.
Adjust the opening if needed
If you decided you want to do some wall job this is really easy. You will need these materials (the quantities depend on your situation)
- wood screws
- a sheet or two of drywall
- some drywall compound
- drywall tape
- drywall screws
Building the wall extensions is easy but the drywall job is a bit messier so be sure you keep the room well ventilated while working there. This is not a post about walling and drywalling but here is a picture to give you an idea.
Just be sure you extend the walls as close as possible to the dimensions required by the doors you have picked (hint – they are written on the door packaging).
Some materials you (might) need
- Door trimming
- Wood strips (1×2 ?) to conceal the tracks and the side gaps of your bifold doors
Cut and install the wood strips to conceal the hardware and the side gaps
With your rough opening ready you can start the work. First cut the wood strips and install them like in the picture with screws. Some people prefer to do this step last, I do it first because these strips allow me to place the doors very precisely.
Tap in the pivots in the pre-drilled holes in the doors (end, roller, bottom pins)
Now you are ready to prepare the doors. First tap in the three pivots for each door in the pre-drilled holes.
Be careful to put each of them in the right hole to avoid taking them out and weakening the strength of the door.
Install the tracks
Now install the tracks at the top. You might need to cut a bit from the tracks to fit them in the rough opening. Just use a metal saw. Keep in mind that the bifold doors only use the tracks to guide the wheel not for support.
This is the time to decide on what side of the door you want to install the pivots. If you install two bifold doors for a bigger opening then you will install them on both sides anyway.
Install the jamb bracket
Installing the jamb bracket on the floor might require some hard drilling if you happen to have tiles on the floor. If not just screw it down in position.
Be very careful to position it in the same vertical plane as the top track. Measure everything and carefully and when you are sure install it. If you have tiles you don’t want to put a lot of holes in it.
Install the doors
With all the hardware in place you just need to install the doors. Slide the top pin in the fixed hole on the track, make sure the wheel is in the track and then place the lower pin in the jamb bracket. It is of course easier to do this with help from a buddy.
Adjust the door height
To adjust the door height you need to lift the door and rotate the bottom pivot (clockwise to raise the door, counter-clockwise to lower it).
Adjust the door position
This can be done both at the bottom and the top. At the bottom just lift the door and place the lower pivot in another position on the jamb bracket.
At the top use a screwdriver to loosen the mechanism holding the top pivot, slide it to the new position and tighten the screw again.
Install door handles
This should be pretty straightforward. Just be careful when you choose the position. If you install tow bifolds make sure they are symmetrical.
Unless you are really lucky you need aligners to keep the doors in the same vertical plane when they are closed. But since things are never perfect here is how they look and should be installed.
Install the snuggers (end spring)
Last step should be to install snuggers. They make the door snappier when you close and open the doors and also keep the doors closed. For only one door you install it at the end of the track so the wheel presses the spring when the door is closed.
For two doors you have to install them in the middle and have to be a bit creative to keep the springs in place. Here is an example.
Now we are ready… well almost ready. Ready for the paint job!