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Bi Folding Doors

Updated on March 7, 2014

What are Bi Folding Doors?

Bi folding doors can often be found in the doorways of patios and closets. These doors are designed so that they can be opened in tight quarters. Instead of a flat, solid single door that either pulls or slides open, a bi folding door has hinges so that it can be folded into itself.

There are many advantages to bi folding doors. They are great to use for room dividers and when you may not have the space needed to open a traditional door. They can also be quite stylish. As you can see in this image, glass doors are a popular way to pick up the style in your home.

We'll talk about the advantages of bi folding doors, as well as when you should use them and why they can be a great addition to your home in this lens.

Room Dividers

These types of doors can be a great way to separate off sections of a room in your household. So good in fact, they can often be the only option worth considering. One of the biggest advantages of these doors is their easy installation requirements. This makes them an ideal choose over other options like building a wall, for example.

Another great advantage is that they can be opened and shut. This is obvious, as they are doors, but it is an advantage that something like a wall cannot offer. Here we have an image of a great use of this type of door as a room divider.

In the Bedroom or for the Closet

This is a very common type and use for these types of doors. Choosing these doors over a traditional door is a great solution if you aren't able to create enough clearance for a normal door to open and close. This is why they are so popular in these situations.

Another good place to use them is in hallways. A hallway may not always be large enough to allow a normal sized door to open and close. Even if the hallway is large enough, another problem that can arise is that the door can block off the hallway when it is open. A bi folding door will prevent this from happening.

How Do They Work?

Bi folding doors use a series of hinges, wheels and tracks to function smoothly. Underneath the door, there will be a track that is mounted to the floor. This track helps hold the doors in place as they open and close. Wheels or ball bearings are attached to the bottom of the doors and are fit to roll along the track. As you open and close the doors, they fold together and the wheels roll along the straight track. This allows the doors to fold in on themselves which saves additional space that would otherwise be requires using a traditional door.

Bi Folding Doors in Action

Here are a few examples of some bi folding doors in action. As we discussed, there are many different designs and styles, a few of which you can see here. These doors are ideal to serve as back patio doors. They can open very wide to let as much fresh air in as possible. They are great to use as an access way to your back yard.

Hinges

Special hinges allow the doors to fold in on itself as you open them. They allow each section of the doors to fold in to the point where they are stacked next to each other as far out towards the edge of the doorway as possible. This creates a maximum opening through the doorway so that you can have full access to whatever it is that lies on the other side.

If you are using these doors to divide a room, maximizing the openings a great way to create a large and open feeling within the room(s) when they are open. If you have these doors on a bedroom closet, they will allow you to see and access all parts of it. Nothing is worse than having a clunky door preventing you from reaching or being able to use the far corners of the storage area. These doors ensure that this will not be an issue.

These hinges also prevent the doors from folding the incorrect way. They are normally placed on the inside of each of the 2 door sets and are designed to fold inward. When you pull the center door towards you, the hinges will allow the center of the door to fold into the room. This keeps the door on its bottom track which holds the door in place.

Top Track

Along with a track along the floor, a bi folding door will also have a track attached along the top of the door. The top track design is very similar to the floor track design. The main difference is that the floor track will have to bear all of the doors weight while the top track does not in some designs and vice versa in others. The door will be attached to the upper track via wheels that are not able to "pull" off. This keeps the doors straight, aligned with the floor track and easy to open and close.

Here we have an image of a type of track that could be used for a bi folding door. There are many different types of tracked and each are specifically designed to match a particular type of door and wheel. These specifications allow the door to operate smoothly and without error.

Which Bears the Weight?

Depending on the type of bi folding door, it will be designed to either support the doors weight on the top track or bottom track. The difference usually lies on the weight of the door itself.

With heavy doors, the weight will usually be supported by the floor track. A heavy door will allow the doors to have a more consistent point of contact as it is opened and closed which allows for a steadier roll. When you open or close the door, you will shift the weight of the door a particular way depending on the direction of the force that you are applying to it. This will tilt the door one way or another.

A significant tilt on a floor supported door may cause it to snag on the track, not allowing it to fully open or close. A tilt like this will be far less significant on a heavy door. Another reason why heavy doors are supported by floor tracks is that the weight of the door may eventually pull off the top track if it was not installed correctly. There are ways to prevent this from happening, but a floor supported door avoids this issue all together. Floor supports doors are usually larger in size or made with glass. They are generally better used for a patio entrance or room divider.

Lighter doors will snag more easily. The door will be less resistant to a force applied to it which in turn would increase the likelihood that the lighter door would snag on the floor track. To defeat this issue, the lighter doors are held up by the top tracks. This means that no matter which way the door is pushed, the doors will always be supporting the full weight of the doors from the top track. This, again, allows the doors to open and close without any snagging.

Some top supporting doors may not even have a floor track and wheels below. For small and light doors, a single top track is enough. The door will tend to swing out a little when it is interacted with, but it saves the trouble of having to cut around the carpet and install a floor track. These types of doors are manly used for closets where a bi folding door is needed for the sake of saving space, but an expensive, heavy door is not needed.

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Wheels

We mentioned the use of wheels several times above. The wheels serve two purposes:

-To hold the doors in place along the top and floor tracks

These doors need a fluid way to open and close while remaining attached to the tracks. Wheels that roll along the tracks are the only way to achieve this.

-To allow the doors to be opened and closed smoothly

High quality wheels are important because the majority of the door's weight will be resting/hanging on only a few points which are supported by the wheels. Low quality wheels, or wheels that are not made for the specific track can result in issues that are not fun to fix.

Above is an example of wheels that are designed to hold the door in place along the track. Here is an example of wheels that are designed to support the hanging weight of the door. As you can see, they are built sturdier and better able to support the weight of the door.

There are many different types of wheels. Each wheel is specifically designed to fit perfectly onto it's specifically designed track and door. They are made to hold the weight of the door that it comes with and will often have to be set at a particular angle to function properly.

Bi folding doors are a great way to add functionality to your home while adding style as well. They come in many shapes, sizes and types and are easy to install. If you have home renovation experience, you should have no problem installing these doors yourself. If you do not, you should be able to find a contractor to complete the installation within the day.

They are great for bedroom and hallway doorways and the glass doors will make wonderful backyard patio entrances. You should particularly consider these types of doors if you live in temperate climates that have nice cool breezy days.

UPC Bi Folding Doors - Specialist Bi Folding Door Manufacturers in the UK

We are expert manufacturers of bi folding doors in Liverpool uk, visit our website for a quote.

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      squidrocks 3 years ago

      This is a fantastic idea! I need to replace the French doors I have between my living room and dining room and would love something different. At the moment the doors take up too much room when open so I'm really quite excited about the idea of getting bi fold doors.