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Repairing a Bifold Door

How to adjust and repair bifold doors that are sagging, hitting, or rubbing against the floor.

Bifold doors are an excellent option for closets where there are space restrictions or access in needed to the entire area within the closet, as is the case with pantries or laundry rooms. However after a few years of use, bifold doors can sag, scrape against the floor or continuously pop out of their mounting brackets. There are a few simple repairs or adjustments that you can perform that will get the bifold doors back into working condition.

It is important to note that most bifold doors are hollow, metal, or solid wood. Some bifold doors can be made of oak or mahogany, glass, mirrored, or used in exterior door applications. The heavier the door, the more likely it is to go out of adjustment and the heavy gauge the hinge and bracket components will be.

Tools and Materials

Tape measure

Circular saw

Screwdriver

Straightedge

Sanding block

Utility knife

Box Wrench or small pliers

Bifold door parts kit

Simple Adjustments

For bifold doors that are hitting or rubbing at the top or bottom, minor adjustments can be made to the top mounting bracket to realign the door panels.

Top Bracket

For doors that are hitting at the top, the most common cause is that the top bracket has slipped or has become loose. The top bracket usually is inserted into the track where it can slide to set the vertical gap between the doors and jamb. If the doors are out by a little as ¼” the doors will probably bind.

Loosen the screw on the top bracket and slide the bracket slightly along the track to adjust the space between the top of the doors. Then retighten the screw, close the doors and check the fit. If the misalignment is due to settling, you may need to adjust both doors slightly instead of trying to adjust one door. Check the vertical gap along the door jamb to verify that it is as straight as possible.

Bottom bracket

Move the pin in each bottom floor bracket to adjust the vertical gap and the space between the bottom of the doors and the floor. There are two types of bottom brackets. One requires you to loosen a set screw and slide the bracket in or out. The style shown in the photo requires you to lift the door and drop the pin into a different notch in the bracket.

Adjusting Height

You can adjust the height of the doors by turning the nut on the bottom pivot pin to raise or lower the bifold doors. Some pivot pins are adjusted using a wrench or pliers while some require that the door be removed to turn the pin to raise or lower the door. In most cases you can adjust the bifold door without taking the door out of its track by using shims or a block of wood and a shim to take the weight of the door. As the door is raised, push the shim in more to take the weight off until the desired height is reached.

It is best to adjust the doors while they are closed to ensure that the head (top) of the door does not hit the molding that conceals the bifold door track.

Replacing Rollers

After many years the rollers on the top of the door can break, become worn down, or stop turning. Most hardware stores and home centers carry several styles that will fit most bifold doors.

 

Remove the door from the opening and pull out the top roller by hand or with a pair of pliers. Reinsert the new top roller and push it in until the collar hits the top of the door.

 

Wobbly Doors

On older wood or hollow bifold doors the pivot pins can open the hole in the top of the door. To correct this you will need to remove the pin, fill the hole with a small piece of wooden dowel, and then drill a new hole in the same location.

1. Lift the door up and out at the bottom to remove it.

2. Pull the loose pivot pin out of its hole.

3. Enlarge the hole with a drill or hole saw so that it’s perfectly round and will receive the dowel.

4. Spread glue onto the dowel plug, and tap it into the hole. Wipe away any excess glue. Allow the glue to dry completely.

5. Cut off the dowel with a saw making sure it is flush with the door. Use a sanding block or power sander to make it smooth and easier to drill into.

6. Drill a new hole the same diameter as the new pivot pin if the existing pin is damaged.

Cutting Down a Bifold Door

If you have installed new flooring, or replaced your carpeting in a room with a bifold door, you will most likely need to cut down your doors to account for the new floor height or higher carpet pile.

Usually cutting off 1/2” from the bottom of the door will prevent the bifold doors from rubbing on the carpet and still allow the pivot to work.

1. Measure up 1/2 in. from the highest point on the new carpeting and mark the door.

2. Open the door completely and lift it off the bottom pivot bracket. Swing the door bottom out from the bottom bracket so you can pull the door down and out of the top pivot bracket.

3. Transfer the distance from the mark from Step 1 to the back of the door and draw a line with a straightedge. Score the line with a utility knife to reduce splintering. Note: By placing the back of the door face up you will prevent splintering on the front side as the circular saw’s teeth will go into the front of the door and out the back. Any splintering will be minor and will not be seen from the room.

4. Clamp a cutting fence or level to the door and install a panel-cutting blade in your circular saw to reduce splintering. Cut slightly to the outside of the line.

5. To remove any rough edges from the bottom of the door that can snag the carpet pile, use sandpaper or a sanding block to smooth the bottom of the door. To reduce swelling from changing humidity levels, add a coat of sealer to the bottom of the door. Allow it to dry and set the door back on the pivots. Note: A new blade will make a straighter cut.

 

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Comments (5)

This seems to be a very popular subject these days Daniel. I've read several articles on how to repair bi-fold doors online and offline, but your article is by far the best one that I read so far.

Bifold doors can be a headache, much like air conditioning, so it doesn't surprise me. Thanks for the support.

Great repair help for those needing to fix bifold doors.You presented this well.

I had to adjust the top pin of a pair of metal bi-fold doors. After years of maligned dragging, the doors are virtually like new and open/close effortlessly and without dragging. Your article quite explicitly showed the steps that I figured out 'cold turkey.'

A great detailed guide for anyone in this predicament, nice work!

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